Gun Safety Laws: Ohio Gets ‘D’ Grade From Giffords Law Center

OHIO — Ohio’s gun safety laws are among the weakest and most permissive in the nation, according to a new report from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Ohio received a “D” grade for its gun safety laws in the Center’s annual Gun Law Scorecard. In 2021, 1,762 Ohioans died from gun violence, a near-record year, according to preliminary data from the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Capital Journal. From 2019 to 2020, the rate of firearm-related homicides increased by 46%, the Giffords Law Center said.

In August 2021, Ohio implemented its version of a “Stand Your Ground” law. The legislation effectively eliminated the requirement for anyone to remove themselves from a dangerous situation before using a firearm. Governor Mike DeWine signed the law despite advocating for tougher gun laws in 2019, following a mass shooting in Dayton that killed 9 people and injured dozens. ‘others.

The Ohio Senate and Ohio House did not accept any of DeWine’s proposals. He said he was “disappointed” by the General Assembly’s reaction to his proposals, but signed the Stand Your Ground Law anyway.

“2021 has been another year of crisis for our country. Too many communities have had to deal with the trauma and pain of rising gun violence, gun hatred and racial discrimination, all in the midst of the ongoing pandemic,” said Robyn Thomas, executive. director of the Giffords Law Center to prevent gun violence.

Giffords Law Center suggested Ohio take the following gun control measures:

  • Universal background checks
  • Firearm owner’s license
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders
  • Most Domestic Violence Gun Laws
  • Assault Weapon Restrictions
  • A large capacity magazine ban
  • Waiting times for the purchase of firearms
  • A “strong” hidden carry law
  • Concealed Carry Permit Legislation
  • Open Transport Regulation
  • Child Access Prevention Laws
  • Funding for Community Responses to Violence

“What our dashboard shows, year after year, is that action is possible to end this senseless violence. States with strong gun safety laws have fewer deaths per firearm – but illegal trafficking makes residents of these states vulnerable. We hope the Gun Law Scorecard will continue to serve as a resource for our elected officials who understand that earning a passing grade can be a matter of life or of death,” added Thomas.

Rob Sexton, the Legislative Director of the Buckeye Firearms Association – who describes himself as a “pro-gun” organization on its website – sent the following statement on Gifford’s notes: “We reject their assessment of Ohio in terms of gun laws. Ohio is increasingly moving toward final acknowledgment of what the law says. Ohio’s constitution with respect to our gun rights. Our hope, of course, is that the legislature will take a big step in that direction by passing constitutional/unlicensed carry legislation this session.”

Sexton argued a study of the American College of Surgeons concluded that there was “no statistically significant association between the liberalization of gun laws at the state level over the past 30 years and rates of homicide or other violent crime”.

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