Senate District 9
Cecil Thomas
Thomas, Senate Democrats to Introduce Gun Safety Plan
The Defend Our Children Act would reduce violent crimes and keep schools safe
May 31, 2022

Today, state Senators Cecil Thomas (D-Avondale) and Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester) announced they will soon introduce the Defend Our Children Act, a gun safety plan to reduce violent crime and keep children safe.

“Nineteen children were killed in Texas last week. Mass shootings like this have occurred before in Ohio and we have failed to act,” said Thomas. “Our proposals are commonsense, supported by an overwhelming majority of Ohioans and will keep children safe. Lawmakers should not leave Columbus and enjoy their summer break without strengthening our laws to ensure schools are safe when they reopen in August.”

 The bill, which is currently being drafted, combines several commonsense gun reform bills introduced by Democrats and will:

  • require background checks for all firearm transfers (currently Senate Bill 73 – Thomas);

  • raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21 (currently S. B. 74 – Thomas);

  • enact a Red Flag Law to allow the courts to temporarily confiscate firearms from people considered at risk for themselves or others (currently S. B. 138 – Williams);

  • add a mandatory three-day waiting period for all gun purchases;

  • increase funding for Ohio Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports grants and expand the program to include all grades.

 “Together, these provisions will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and ensure that schools are better prepared to prevent gun violence,” said Maharath. “As a mother, I cannot understand how the safety of our children isn’t the priority of every lawmaker in Columbus today. We should stay in session until we act.”

According to the CDC, 1,764 Ohioans died from firearms in 2021. Eighty-eight percent of Americans support background checks on all gun sales, according to a Morning Consult/Politico poll, and 74% of Ohio voters support a red flag law, including 69% of Republicans, according to a survey by Giffords.

Three of the commonsense proposals to end gun violence were introduced as standalone bills by Senate Democrats between February and March 2021. As of today, they haven’t even received a hearing. In contrast, House Bill 99, is a dangerous bill that would allow every adult to enter a school while carrying a gun, and that is set to get a committee vote today.

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