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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

City Attorney Klein, Columbus leaders outline need, steps for police reform

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Elder Larry Price speaks at the police reform press conference on Wednesday, June 3.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein and a few Columbus community leaders gathered at the Michael B. Coleman Government Center for a press conference addressing plans to “reform the culture of justice in Columbus.”

Klein, who has been urged to improve the systematic problems with policing, acknowledged during the press conference that “there’s systematic racism in every step of government.”

Asking the rhetorical question, What are we going to do about it?, Klein followed with, “The time for action is now.”

Those who spoke at the press conference also included:

  • Elder Larry Price, chairman of the Criminal and Justice Committee and Columbus chapter of the NAACP
  • Stephanie Hightower, president of CEO of the Columbus Urban League
  • Pastor Frederick LaMarr, president of the Baptist Pastor’s Conference of Columbus

LaMarr led off the discussion, delivering a message to “set aside differences to bring about real reform.”

Klein then made a few brief comments before giving Hightower and Price a chance to speak.

“Racism should’ve never been a part of the American epic,” Hightower said.

Price, who will also be speaking on behalf of the NAACP on Friday at 12 p.m., asking for a citizen review board in Columbus.

“The oldest, boldest, baddest organization on the earth now says, It is time. Enough is enough,” Price said.

Klein outlined the immediate actions that the Columbus government is going to take to reform systematic racism in the police department. 

They are outlined as follows:

  • Appoint special counsel from outside of the city to investigate the ongoing protests in Columbus, something that was also done in Charlottesville
  • Conduct a review of the Columbus Police Department’s procedures of clearing the streets of peaceful protests
  • Change the Columbus Division of Police’s use of chemical agents against nonviolent protesters
  • Submitted evidence to the Columbus Division of Police  Internal Affairs Bureau of uses of chemical agents and encourage Columbus citizens 
  • Create a citizen review board
  • Move charging decisions for alleged misdemeanor criminal offenses to inside the Columbus city attorney’s office for review before they are filed
  • Conduct a review of the Columbus City Code
  • Achieve police-community reform

Klein then took time after outlining the city's plan to answer questions from the media. A topic addressed in those questions included mention of the treatment of reporters in Columbus, specifically from The Lantern. 

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NY Times lauds Dr. Amy Acton with video tribute

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If you live in Ohio, you'd have to have been living under rock these last 6 weeks to not know who Dr. Amy Acton is. Now the NY Times is making sure the rest of the country knows too with this nearly 7-minute tribute video titled, "The leader we all wish we had".

As the state's lead spokesperson on the healthcare side of the pandemic, Acton has received wide praise from both near and far. Despite recent protests that occurred outside of her Bexley home, most Ohioans believe she has been a shining star in these dark times.

She has a tribute t-shirt, "Not all Heroes Wear capes" created by Homage

Her own (Ok, Gov. Dewine too) tribute parody video

Her very own bobblehead from the Bobblehead Hall of Fame

A Facebook Fan Page with over 133,000 members

Here's our profile piece from the April issue of (614) Magazine - the cover of which is featured in the NY Times video. Very cool, Sarah!

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Govt & Politics

Views from the state house protest

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For the third consecutive day, hundreds of protestors were out in force around the state house grounds. The demands of the loosely organized crowd are as diverse as the people in it. Signs run the gamut from - lifting the stay-at-home order, anti-vaccine issues, damage caused by non-essential business closures, constitutionality, and even a plea to release Joe Exotic.

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