By Helena Battipaglia
City of Cincinnati
Alongside Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Councilmember Scotty Johnson, Councilmember Liz Keating, Councilmember Meeka D. Owens, and community leaders, Mayor Aftab Pureval announced two new gun safety policies.
The first prohibits people convicted of domestic violence from legally possessing a firearm. The second requires safe gun storage around children. If you own a deadly weapon, you will have a legal requirement to take precautions. Both policies are punishable by up to one year in jail.
“This is just common sense. And it’s something that research has shown, time and time again, to have a significant impact on preventing tragedies,” Pureval said. “We have to be able to implement the measures that keep our communities safe and save lives.”
Currently, the State of Ohio has broad and restrictive preemption laws that have prevented cities from passing more extensive safety measures. The City of Cincinnati has filed a lawsuit against the state seeking that the “preemption law” be declared unconstitutional.
“The City is committed to explore and pursue all potential solutions and strategies to combatting violence in our neighborhoods,” Assistant City Manager Virginia Tallent said. “These policies championed by our mayor are critical additional tools for the City in our fight against gun violence – the leading cause of death nationally for children in the United States.”
“The Cincinnati Police Department recognizes that domestic violence in our community acts as a precursor to additional crimes,” Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge said. “Making it illegal for someone with a prior domestic violence conviction to possess a firearm can be lifesaving. I want to send a clear message: responsible gun ownership is a must in our City. All firearms must be kept in a safe and secure environment to prevent access by our youth. This new legislation works in tandem with our department’s top priority, curbing gun violence.”
“We have to serve and protect the citizens of Cincinnati,” Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney said. “The policy that you’re seeing put forth today is aimed at protecting our citizens.”
“It is incumbent upon us as legislators to make sure that we are doing everything we possibly can to make Cincinnati one of the safest cities on the planet,” Councilmember Scotty Johnson said. “This is a step in the right direction.”
“It is essential that as City Council, we do our part to support the Cincinnati Police Department in this effort. It is our duty as legislators to fulfill our oath to serve the residents of this great city,” Councilmember Liz Keating said. “This legislation allows our City to take further action in keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals, while supporting Cincinnati gun owners who respect the law, and works towards minimizing youth violence in our community. I am dedicated to creating a better Cincinnati for us all.”
“A year ago, City Council declared gun violence a public health crisis in Cincinnati. Gun-related violence is the leading cause of death among children. As a community, we have a responsibility to protect the lives and well-being of our young people.” Councilmember Meeka D. Owens said. “These are common-sense reforms that address some of the direct causes of firearm injuries. I will continue to work closely with Mayor Pureval and my Council colleagues to address the structural inequities in order to enhance the well-being, health, and quality of life for every Cincinnatian.”
“Families and communities in Cincinnati are all too familiar with the pain of gun violence,” volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action, Anna Albi, said. “We thank Mayor Aftab for prioritizing comprehensive and life-saving gun violence prevention measures.”
“Gun violence has claimed the lives of far too many people in our community. This is our city, ‘See Something, Say Something’,” Cincinnati Police Department Health Programs Manager Witness Advocacy, Karen Rumsey, said.
The two ordinances were presented at the Public Safety & Governance Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 7.