Happy New Year from State Rep Kent Smith

Happy New Year Euclid Observer readers.  I wish you all a safe and healthy new year.  For my first column in 2020, I wanted to raise an issue that could become a major debate during the final 12 months of the 133rd Ohio General Assembly – Guns.

In the early morning hours of August 4, 2019, a gunman, using an AR-15 style weapon, opened fire on a Dayton street and 26 people were shot in 32 seconds.  Nine of those twenty-six would die that night.

That tragedy jarred a weary nation (again) and sparked renewed debate in Columbus if firearms should be less regulated or new gun safety measures should be enacted.  As of this date (12-10-2019), no fewer than 36 pieces of legislation on gun rights / gun safety have been introduced in both chambers.

An explanation of all 36 bills would stretch far beyond 36 Euclid Observer pages, so let me focus on what I believe should be the best, first step – background checks.

While 90 percent of Americans support background checks for all gun sales, a dangerous loophole in federal law still exempts unlicensed sellers from having to perform a background check before selling a firearm.  We should close this loophole in Ohio.

Research suggests that closing the background check loophole can save lives.  The state that best illustrates this fact (tragically) is Missouri.  For decades, Missouri required a background check for every gun sale until the state dismantled this requirement in 2007. What followed was sadly predictable and entirely preventable — Missouri saw a 25% increase in firearm homicides and a 14% increase in murders over the subsequent five years.

That is why I am a cosponsor of HB 317 which would require background checks for all gun sales in Ohio and of HB 320, which would prohibit selling a firearm while a background check is pending up to 30 days.

Please contact my office at 614-466-5441 or at Rep08@OhioHouse.Gov  if you would like to follow the progress of HB 317 & HB 320 or any of the other 34 gun bills over the next 12 months.  Thank you and Happy New Year.  Stay Safe!

State Representative Kent Smith represents Ohio’s 8th House District which includes Beachwood, Euclid, South Euclid, Richmond Heights, East Cleveland, Woodmere Village and a little bit of the City of Cleveland.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 5:12 PM, 01.12.2020