COLUMBUS – Today, State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) announced he will introduce legislation to allow municipalities to restrict open or concealed carry of firearms during events of regional or national significance. This local control bill comes after Cleveland's largest police union expressed concerns over the ability of citizens to openly carry firearms during the Republican National Convention.
“We have received feedback from public safety experts who are concerned that certain events – such as political conventions – could incite unnecessary violence and hinder the ability of law enforcement to perform their duties,” said Senator Thomas. “We want every person in our state to be safe when they are attending an important event. We also want law enforcement to have the ability to deploy the most effective methods to assure that safety.”
Senator Thomas’ bill would restore an element of local control to Ohio’s gun laws. It allows for common sense restrictions to be put in place in an efficient manner. The bill will also allow citizens and law enforcement to provide feedback to their local governments when there is an important event scheduled in their community.
“Ohioans recognize the importance of local control in many areas of the law. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to many issues, including open and concealed carry of firearms,” said Senator Thomas. “It makes sense to listen to the input of community members and law enforcement at the local level when we’re deciding whether or not we want loaded firearms carried at an event with 50,000 people in a confined area.”
“As a former law enforcement officer, I know firsthand the added stress and anxiety placed on officers who only have protecting public safety on their minds,” said Senator Thomas. “Anxiety and stress levels rise considerably when individuals or groups decide to carry their firearms into an emotionally charged event, especially given the current climate in our nation. This bill is just a common sense approach, designed to protect our citizens and first responders.”