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OP-ED: ‘Red flag’ is far cry from where Ohio gun law should be

Joanne Strasser

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Last weekend, a man entered a synagogue in Poway, California armed with a rifle. The Washington Post reports that prior to him entering the place of worship, the accused shooter wrote a 7-page letter about his hatred for Jewish people. He believed killing them would “glorify God.” Below is an op-ed from one Columbus mother who believes Ohio should be taking a stronger stance against guns following of the Poway tragedy.

Even in light of this past weekend’s synagogue shooting, DeWine is still unwilling to change Ohio’s gun laws. He is, however, advocating for Ohio to pass a red flag law, which would allow law enforcement to seize guns from individuals deemed a societal risk.

This isn’t the first time the red flag law was floated in the Ohio Legislature.  In the wake of last year’s Parkland High School shooting in Florida, former Gov. Kasich backed the proposed law, which ultimately failed to gain support.

Opposition to the legislation stems from Republican lawmakers’ belief that it infringes on the constitution rights to bear arms and proper due process of law. However, 14 other states have already implemented the red flag law.

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Moms Demand Action, a national gun control organization, notes that 42% of attackers exhibit warning signs before shootings occur. And although this legislation would only be a small step in the right direction, it could help save lives.

But ultimately, statistics don’t matter to politicians, who are dependent on dollars from the gun lobby.  And until our elected officials decide that Ohioans‘ safety comes first, any measure, regardless of how small and sensible, will fail. 

Ohio Republicans need to take a long hard look at their agenda and ask themselves if it truly serves our needs. Which is more important: our children feeling safe at school or campaign contributions? 

The red flag law is a common-sense measure, and while it’s a far cry from where Ohio gun restriction needs to be, it’s certainly a start.

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Govt & Politics

Poll: Who won last night’s Democratic Debate in Westerville?

Regina Fox

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Last night, Westerville's Otterbein University hosted the Democratic Debate. Twelve presidential hopefuls took the stage to win the votes of spectators in the auditorium and viewers who watched from their living rooms across the nation.

According to co-host CNN, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar, and Bernie Sanders championed the night. Co-host The New York Times mostly agrees, with the opinion writers saying Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg were among the top performers last night, but Elizabeth Warren was the clear leader.

What do you think? Take our poll below to see who Columbus thinks won the Democratic Debate.

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Govt & Politics

DeWine urges background checks, mental health programs following Dayton shooting

614now Staff

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Following the heartbreaking mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend, Gov. Mike DeWine stepped up to the statehouse podium to lay out at least 17 proposals for gun law reform.

Among the initiatives were the Red Flag Law, expanded background checks, and mental health programs.

Watch the full address below

According to NBC4i, DeWine spent a great deal of time proposing increased penalties for felons who possess a gun illegal, or use a gun in the commission of a crime, or for when a gun is used in the commission of a felony in general, or for when someone makes a straw man purchase for someone else, or for when an adult sells a gun to a minor, to name a few. 

He also urged lawmaker to get better help for people suffering from a mental illness. DeWine also believes people inside psychiatric hospitals who are waiting to be deemed competent to stand trial for a crime would benefit from going through that process elsewhere.

WOSU reports DeWine recommended that the legislature pass laws requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales. Additionally, he thinks courts should restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats, also referred to as the Red Flag Law.

Ohio’s GOP-led state legislature has given little consideration to gun-safety measures introduced by Democrats this session, according to WOSU.

Visit WOSU.com for more information.

https://www.facebook.com/WBNS10TV/videos/646398229176244/
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Govt & Politics

Op-Ed: We won battle with Heartbeat Bill block, war continues

Caitlin Horwatt

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Ohio’s controversial “Heartbeat Bill” has been ​blocked by a federal court​, just days before it was slated to go into enforcement on July 11. The ruling is a temporary win for pro-reproductive rights activists and Planned Parenthood, ensuring that abortion clinics in the state of Ohio can stay open. But, the war over a woman’s right to her bodily autonomy is only ramping up.

The law would have banned abortions in the state of Ohio after six weeks, the earliest time in a pregnancy when a fetal heartbeat may be detected and well before many women know they are pregnant. There were to be no exceptions for rape or incest, although there would be exceptions when the life of the mother was in danger. The law would have classified violations as fifth-degree felonies, carrying up to one year in jail time and up to $2,500 in fines as a sentence.

The ​halt was ordered ​by Judge Michael Barrett of the Southern District of Ohio U.S. District Court. Barrett pointed out that the bill placed an “undue burden” on a woman seeking to terminate a pre-viability pregnancy. The law was on its face unconstitutional, a blatant attempt to overturn the federal government’s long standing decision to give women the right to the decisions regarding their bodies. Conservatives have tried to limit bodily autonomy well before women had the right to abortions; however, they fail to attack problems like infant poverty and child hunger with the same veracity.

The bill was part of a larger strategy that’s occurred nationwide at the hands of Republican lawmakers. The right to an abortion will stand nationally as long as Supreme Court rulings, including ​Roe v. Wade,​ remain in effect. By hammering out heartbeat bills nationwide, conservatives increase their chances of getting a ruling appealed up to the Supreme Court and from there the conservative-leaning court overturning ​Roe​.

Abortions are not only justified in the case of rape or incest, which has been a clickbait-inducing theme around this controversy. Abortion is a part of reproductive healthcare, a procedure nearly one in four women​ have before the age of 45. If lawmakers are so concerned about decreasing abortion rates, presumably because of a concern for the lives of the fetuses, they should fund comprehensize sex education ​and support for impoverished children already in this country.

The right to an abortion goes further than an outright ban. Strict regulations are a backdoor way to limit abortions, claiming to regulate the abortion providers for safety purposes. The state of Missouri​ famously has just one embattled abortion clinic ​still open and providing procedures, with the fight to keep the clinic licensed and running regularly boiling down to the wire in the past several months.

It is easy to move on from this debate when a new shocking headline runs about the state of politics or the crisis at the border. Wins like this, though important, cannot be accepted as permanent. As long as conservative lawmakers are proposing bills and regulations that limit abortion care, there is a battle to be fought, because we won’t go back.

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