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Ohio has taken a lethal wrong turn on access to guns




Photo by Jay Rembert on Unsplash

As of June 13, Ohio no longer requires a permit for gun owners to carry  concealed weapons. The clear link between public safety and restricting access to guns has long been known. That’s why Ohio first put restrictions on acquiring  firearms way back in 1859, the year before the start of the Civil War. Unfortunately, all these years later, we have taken a giant step backward.

When it comes to the connection between guns and incidents of domestic violence, the numbers tell a gruesome tale.

According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and Firearms, 65% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner. In an average month, 50 American women are shot to death by intimate partners. More than half of the women murdered by guns in America are killed by family members or intimate partners. And states with the highest rates of gun ownership have 65% more murders by intimate partners than states with lower rates of gun ownership.

The linkage is clear: Gun ownership is a red flag for intimate partner homicide.

The coronavirus pandemic has greatly intensified the problem. In just the first  year of the pandemic, at least 131 people died of domestic violence incidents in Ohio, and 86% involved a gun. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that during the pandemic, gun-related homicides are at their highest peak in nearly 30 years.

Further complicating the situation is the fact that minorities and low-wealth communities are disproportionately the victims of all types of gun violence, including incidents of domestic violence. Black women, for instance, are twice as likely as their white counterparts to be murdered by a partner using a gun.

At Journey Center, we work closely with police to train them in better assessing and recognizing domestic violence situations that could become lethal and connecting those at highest risk to additional support.

After four decades of decline, intimate partner homicides are rising again in America, and experts agree that higher rates of gun ownership is the main culprit.

Thankfully, in response to the latest round of mass shootings, Congress has finally acted to begin stemming the tide of gun violence and deadly domestic incidents. Both houses of Congress recently passed and President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which narrows the so-called “boyfriend loophole” by allowing authorities to remove firearms from abusive dating partners, among other provisions.

Unfortunately, Ohio recently chose to head in the opposite direction. We must do better to improve safety for survivors of domestic violence and child abuse.

This story was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.

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