Dayton, El Paso, Virginia Beach, Pittsburgh, Parkland, Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Orlando, Charleston, Newtown, Aurora, Blacksburg. The list of communities which have suffered mass shootings in which people died is long and seems to grow every couple of weeks. It may be true that “guns don’t kill, people kill;” but guns make it a whole lot easier for people to kill quickly and efficiently. According to police, the recent shooter in Dayton was able to kill nine people and injure many others in approximately one minute.
We all know that guns are a sensitive issue in Clermont County. Who among us has not been accosted at some point with “you Democrats want to take all our guns” or some variant on that theme? At the same time, there is no denying that we have a serious problem not only nationally but also here. Remember that, in 2018, a young man with a history of drug-related offenses and mental illness used a gun to kill one Sheriff’s Deputy and injure another. Our leaders in Washington and Columbus appear too beholden to the gun lobby to do anything which might reduce the problem.
For that reason, a group called “Ohioans for Gun Safety” is circulating petitions, with the support of the Ohio Democratic Party, to put a citizens’ initiative on the November, 2020 ballot which would require background checks of buyers in all gun sales in Ohio. At present, background checks are not required in “private” sales.
I recently heard a gentleman from Cleveland explain how a “private” sale can work. Through a simple Google search, he found over two dozen people in the Cleveland area advertising assault rifles for sale. He was able to buy an AR 15 assault rifle for cash in the parking lot of a shopping center without ever giving the seller even his name.
Will universal background checks end all gun violence? Of course not. However, requiring background checks for all gun sales will not affect the guns that our neighbors already own and want to keep. Polling data suggests that most gun owners support universal background checks. If background checks keep guns out of the hands of even one person who intends to shoot other people to death, it will be worth the effort. And there is no real downside.
CCDP has the OFGS petitions. Please contact us if you want to circulate one of these petitions. We can also put you in touch with Ohioans for Gun Safety if you want to learn more.