Today, state Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) issued the following statement on the school shooting in Parkland, Florida and his plan of action to reduce gun violence in Ohio:
"After the tragic events of last week resulting in the deaths of 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, our hearts share in the suffering of parents and family members of the victims. We as a nation must once again face the issue of gun accessibility in our communities.
"Students are rallying all U.S. communities to join in this debate and demand stricter gun control laws. I wholeheartedly support their activism and their convictions.
"I call upon President Trump to immediately sign an Executive Order to ban bump stocks. He has stated that he wants these devices banned, and an Executive Order could be done without a delay. He could then follow up by working with Senator Dianne Feinstein and her Congressional colleagues on her legislation to ban bump stocks.
"Understandably, people are frustrated with the lack of action from Congress. However, Ohio has permissive gun laws which may not get the attention of the public. Now more than ever, I implore all Ohioans to engage themselves in state government so that we can change the tide of gun control legislation in this state.
"I introduced legislation (SB 219) on October 17, 2017 to ban the sale and possession of bump-fire stocks in Ohio. The legislation would make the sale or possession of such devices for personal use a fourth-degree felony in the state. My bill still has not received a hearing in the Senate.
"I am also a co-sponsor on legislation to ban assault weapons and require a registration database to track the purchase of firearms and ammunition (SB 260); prohibit a person convicted of domestic violence or assault of a family member, or a person subject to certain protection orders, from having a firearm (SB 150). This last bill received only one hearing and is languishing in committee, similar to the fate of SB 219.
"I plan on introducing and supporting legislation that addresses these issues:
"Ohio legislators need to address this issue now. I urge all citizens to contact their state Senators and ask that these bills get multiple hearings so an actual discussion can occur.
"The citizens of Ohio have a right to be heard."