Ohio House Democrats unveiled the next steps in their “Ohio Promise” campaign during a Wednesday press conference and said they plan to make gun control a top policy initiative in the fall session.
“Six months ago we stood before you in this very room to unveil the Ohio Promise, our legislative framework to strengthen our state and restore the promise of better lives and brighter futures for all Ohioans,” House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) said in kicking off the press conference. “That opportunity for a better life begins with the fundamental promise that you can live, work, and retire here in Ohio with safety and security.”
Skyes said Ohioans are “worried that the promise of safety and security is gone” because of “unthinkable gun violence to economic instability that makes it harder for working people to get ahead and to save for retirement.”
“We’re here today to reaffirm our commitment to Ohio’s working people and families struggling with violence in their homes or in their communities as well as those faced with economic insecurity and uncertainty,” she continued.
She said Democrats will continue to call for hearings in the House “on commonsense gun safety.” She then invited Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) and Phil Robinson (D-Solon) to the podium to discuss specific gun control bills.
Robinson stressed the importance of House Bill 317, which would established universal background checks in Ohio.
“This legislation would end legal loopholes that allow sales without background checks at gun shows, online sales, and private sales,” said Robinson. “The Democratic Caucus and I are calling on House leadership to hold hearings on our gun-safety reform measures. As far as I know, there are no scheduled meetings that are taking place as of now. They need to take place so that we can hear this gun-safety legislation and find a bipartisan compromise.”
After the press conference, the House Democratic Caucus issued a press release calling for “action on gun safety.”
“Ohioans continue to speak up, urging their lawmakers to do something about gun violence,” said Sweeney. “We can’t continue to wait and push legislation that fails to address the root of the problem. Democrats are proposing commonsense legislation backed by the majority of Ohioans, legislation that will do something to save lives and keep our kids and communities safe.”
As they note in their press release, Ohio Democrats recently launched a website to serve as a hub for their efforts to pass gun-control bills.
“We need to take action on gun safety to keep our kids and communities safe while also respecting our fundamental rights as Americans,” Robinson added. “More than 90 percent of Ohioans support these commonsense measures. That’s why we’re calling on House leaders to begin hearings immediately.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Ohio House of Representatives Floor” by Joshua Rothaas. CC BY 2.0.