Gun violence is the number one cause of death for children in the United States. In fact, the Pew Research Center found that Gun deaths among U.S. children and teens rose 50% in the last two years. Ohio has seen a marked increase in shooting deaths for children and teens. Despite these alarming facts, Ohio’s Republican lawmakers refuse to put forward gun safety laws and won’t let cities enact their own, either.
Alarming Increase in Gun Violence and Deaths Among Children
According to reporting by CNN, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wonder database recorded that firearms accounted for nearly 19% of childhood deaths (ages 1-18) in 2021. That resulted in five children lost to gun violence for every 100,000 children in the United States. They also note that no other comparable country lists firearms within the top four causes of mortality among children, according to a KFF analysis.
The Pew Research Center found that between 2019 and 2021, the number of children and teens killed by gunfire in the United States increased 50%. In 2019, there were 1,732 gun deaths among U.S. children and teens under the age of 18. By 2021, that figure had increased to 2,590. Both the number and rate of children and teens killed by gunfire in 2021 were higher than at any point since at least 1999, the earliest year for which information about those younger than 18 is available in the CDC’s mortality database.
The total number of gun deaths among children and teens in 2021 includes homicides, suicides, accidents and all other categories where firearms are listed on death certificates as the underlying cause of death. It does not include deaths where firearms are listed as a contributing, but not underlying, cause of death.
Dr. Chethan Sathya, a pediatric trauma surgeon at Northwell Health in New York told NBC News,
“This is undoubtedly one of our chief public health crises in this country…The most likely reason that your child will die in this country is at the hands of a firearm. That’s not acceptable.”
Ohio Advocates Call for Action
In Ohio, The amount of children and teenagers being shot and killed has steadily increased over the past decade, according to a report by News 5 Cleveland. A recent rash of violence has ignited calls for lawmakers to take action.
Parents, children, teachers, and victims have all pleaded with lawmakers to enact gun safety laws. Ohio City Mayors have tried to take actions, however, Ohio Republican Lawmakers are actively blocking these laws from being enacted.
According to News 5 Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati mayors have tried to put forward city-wide regulations to require gun owners to lock up their weapons to keep them away from children. Despite Ohio being a “home rule” state, these laws are being challenged in court because the Revised Code has a preemption law that prevents municipalities from creating their own gun regulations.
Republican Lawmakers Focused on Expanding Access to Firearms
In fact, Ohio Republican lawmakers have not only been blocking gun safety laws, they are actively proposing and passing laws that make access to guns easier. A newly introduced bill in the Ohio House would exempt guns and ammunition from sales tax in the state.
Current and Recently Passed Ohio gun laws include:
- No background checks for handgun purchases at point of sale
- No concealed carry permits needed (permitless carry)
- No extreme risk law to allow law enforcement or family members to petition for a court order to temporarily prevent someone from accessing a gun
- No secure storage requirement to prevent children or others from accessing guns or ammo
- No high-capacity magazines prohibited
- Allows approved adults to carry guns in schools
- Prohibition for municipalities to create their own gun safety laws