Ohio should not adopt far-right policies that will only escalate gun violence in the United States.
Uvalde, Texas shootings last month were a national tragedy, among a long list of similar stories. A gunman was able to legally buy an assault weapon and unleash death and destruction on school children. The frequency of these events is worrying. Equally disturbing was our reaction. With these events occurring on a regular basis, Republican lawmakers seem at best oblivious to the issue and, at worst, focused on policies that will only make the problem worse.
Thinking back to being 15 and getting my temporary driver’s license, I had to take 24 hour lessons, drive for at least 50 hours (10 hours at night), hold my temporary license for 6 months and pass my driving test with the Ohio BMV. These restrictions are almost universally accepted as necessary to protect the public from inexperienced drivers; and even after meeting all the requirements, it took me two more times to get my full driver’s license.
Now let’s look at 2022. Governor Mike DeWine just signed a bill that will allow teachers to carry guns into schools with just 24 hours of training. That’s much less time than I had to spend to get my driver’s license. Let’s be clear, this law is dangerous. This will result in more weapons in the hands of people with minimal training, put our children’s lives at risk and deteriorate the learning environment. Plus, many experts say it won’t stop the mass shooting problem. Ohioans know this; and during the bill’s public hearing, more than 360 people spoke out against the bill. About 20 voted in favor. The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police and the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association opposed the bill and called for its veto. Yet Governor DeWine signed it. It’s no surprise that pro-gun groups have donated $580,000 over the past 10 years to pro-gun politicians in Ohio.
Let’s compare what happened with the voice of the people. A 2020 poll found that 60% of Ohioans want to maintain a licensing system for covert carry, and the Ohio GOP did the opposite this year. Additionally, 74% of Ohioans support allowing the courts to temporarily remove guns from people who pose a problem. “extreme risk” to the society. Proposals such as universal background checks and closing the gun show loophole are hugely popular with all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.
The Ohio GOP should listen to people and adopt highly supported common sense and safety measures that will make our children safer in school.