“I’m calling on everybody to call their legislators in Congress but particularly in the Statehouse,” Ginther said. “There’s a proliferation of guns in our neighborhoods and in our city and in cities across this country.”
Representative Ron Ferguson (R-Wintersville) said while everyone can agree any shooting is a tragedy, part of his, and other state lawmakers’ job, is to protect the constitution, which includes the right to keep and bear arms.
“To be direct, the mayor probably needs to pick up a constitution first and foremost and know that as state legislators we swear an oath to that constitution,” Representative Ron Ferguson (R-Wintersville) said. “For a local government or a state government to pass something contrary to the constitution is unconstitutional.”
Columbus Division of Police Chief Elaine Bryant said state laws are increasing access to guns time and time again.
“When you have permitless carry and people can carry a firearm and they don’t have to have any training, conflict resolution, this is what we’re seeing right now,” Bryant said.
When Ferguson was asked whether passing laws like this, as gun violence increases, is a problem, he said, “not at all.”
“Something like permitless carry has no effect on how many gun crimes are committed, criminals commit crimes, not law-abiding citizens,” Ferguson said. “And permitless carry was passed for law-abiding citizens.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Governor Mike DeWine said:
“The Ohio Department of Public Safety has been helping local governments who request assistance in dealing with local gun violence issues and will continue to do so. Regarding legislation, Governor DeWine supports legislation targeting repeat violent offenders and those who commit violence while not being able to legally possess a firearm. Statistics show that those individuals are responsible for the largest portion of violent crime in Ohio. Thus, targeting those groups with increased prison sentences would make the biggest impact possible on gun violence in Ohio.”
Ginther said if the state legislature does not want to act, he has one message for lawmakers.
“Get out of our way,” Ginther said. “Let us do our jobs, what we know we need to do to keep our cities safe.”
State Republican lawmakers said it is up to the mayor to control gun violence in his city. A spokesperson for Senate Republicans sent NBC4 this statement:
“When crime is out of control in Columbus, look no further than the mayor’s office. Criminals, juvenile offenders and thugs don’t check the revised code before committing car jackings, armed robberies and shootouts at malls. They are already breaking the law. The mayor, city council and the city prosecutor should back the police, keep criminals in jail and find some political backbone instead of political excuses, and simply do their jobs.”
Ferguson and other Republican lawmakers said allowing all cities across the state to enact their own gun laws is a bad idea.
“We can’t have 100 different gun laws different in every city across the state,” Ferguson said. “Gun violence occurs from criminals breaking the law, and passing more laws doesn’t get criminals to start acting correctly.”
The most recent Republican-led gun legislation that has been introduced would exempt sales tax from certain firearms and ammunition.