Captain Mark Kelly & Ohio Leaders Call On Lawmakers to Reduce Gun Violence, Release New Report Highlighting The Economic Cost of Gun Violence On Ohio

May 31, 2017 – Today, retired Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), joined with Ohio leaders in Columbus to announce a new bipartisan coalition, the “Ohio Coalition for Common Sense.”  At the event, Captain Kelly released and discussed the findings of a new report, “The Economic Cost of Gun Violence,” which examines the cost of gun violence in Ohio.

“Our nation is in the grips of a gun violence epidemic that claims over 33,000 lives every year and Ohio is sadly not immune from this deadly crisis,” said Captain Kelly, a Navy combat veteran and former NASA astronaut. “Gun violence is tearing our communities apart and devastating our families. We have to do better. We can – and we must. Our leaders need to do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners like Gabby and me. It’s the responsible thing to do.”

ABOUT THE REPORT:

The new report, “The Economic Cost of Gun Violence,” is being released as Ohio continues to grapple with a gun violence crisis that costs the state $2.7 billion each year in directly measurable costs. This figure includes:

  • Healthcare costs — $123 million;

  • Police and criminal justice expenses — $227 million;

  • Costs to employers — $16 million; and

  • Lost income —$2.4 billion per year

The report also found that gun violence costs Ohio taxpayers over $540 million annually. Research confirms that reducing shootings improves local economies.

Read the full report here.

ABOUT THE NEW COALITION:

The coalition’s members – which include gun owners, veterans, law enforcement officials, domestic violence prevention advocates, educators, and business leaders – will urge their elected officials to advance policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands and prevent gun tragedies while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans to own firearms.

The Ohio Coalition for Common Sense will fight for solutions that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, like:

  • Supporting Stronger Gun Laws That Are Proven To Reduce Gun Violence. Congress and the Ohio Legislature must strengthen existing laws by cracking down on gun trafficking and closing the loopholes in our background check system that let felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns with no questions asked – a policy that over 83 percent of Ohioans support.

  • Stopping The Proliferation Of Silencers. Silencers mask the sound of a gun being fired. Responsible regulation has made silencers extremely difficult for criminals to obtain, but when they have, the results are devastating. Past criminal use of silencers has resulted in assassination-style murders where first responders cannot quickly identify the source of gunfire. Putting more silencers on the street would also diminish the effectiveness of gunshot detection technology, making it harder for police officers to safely respond to and investigate gun crimes, whether they have been called or not.

  • Stopping Federally Mandated Concealed Carry. Currently, each state decides whether it will recognize concealed carry weapons permits issued by other states. If the gun lobby has its way, Congress will override existing state laws and force every state to recognize concealed carry permits issued by every other state. This would create a race to the bottom, giving the weakest state laws in the country the furthest reach and allowing individuals to carry guns in states where they cannot legally purchase firearms. It also directly undermines the ability of law enforcement officers to effectively do their jobs and ensure public safety. If this law were to pass, there would be no way for police officers to verify that individuals are carrying lawfully, which creates confusing – and dangerous – situations for the public and police alike.

Members of the Ohio Coalition for Common Sense include:

  • Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions

  • Captain Mark Kelly, USN (Ret.), Co-Founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions

  • Melissa Arnold, Chief Executive Officer, Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

  • Gary L. Baker, II, President, Columbus City School Board

  • Debbie Brooks, Executive Vice President, YWCA Greater Cincinnati

  • Brad J. Bushman, Ph.D., Professor of Communication and Psychology, The Ohio State University

  • Jack D’Auroa, President, Kiwanis Club of Columbus

  • Lois Hall, Executive Director, Ohio Public Health Association

  • George Hughes, County School Board Member and Former Ohio Police Chief

  • Erica L. McCain, Esq., Owner, McCain Law Office

  • Margaret Mitchell, President and CEO, YWCA Greater Cleveland

  • Nancy Neylon, Executive Director, Ohio Domestic Violence Network

  • Dr. Anahi Ortiz, Franklin County Coroner

  • Kathleen Roberts, Past President, Kiwanis Club of Columbus

  • Kristin Shrimplin, President and CEO, Women Helping Women

  • Ron Soeder, President, Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland

  • Donna Weinberger, MSW, LISW, Board Member, Greater Cleveland Congregations

“As a proud gun owner and Marine Corps veteran, I swore an oath to protect the Constitution and our great country. But my experience also gives me unique insight into the veteran suicide epidemic; a national tragedy that claims the lives of 6,000 veterans every year,” said Erica L. McCain, Esq., Owner, McCain Law Office.“I’m proud to join with Gabby and Mark in this battle to save lives because I know our state and country can do more to address the deadly and devastating combination of firearms and lethal intent that can sometimes accompany mental illness.”

“Guns and domestic violence are a deadly, tragic mix. We have decades of proof that guns are used to intimidate, threaten, injure, and end the lives of victims of domestic violence,” said Kristin Shrimplin, President and CEO, Women Helping Women. “Our leaders must do more to protect women and children by preventing domestic abusers and stalkers from getting their hands on guns.”

“Right now, the gun lobby is working to end gun-free school zones and make it easier for people to carry firearms inside K-12 schools and on college campuses. Guns have absolutely no place in our nation’s schools,” said Gary L. Baker, II, President, Columbus City School Board. “These irresponsible proposals ignore the truth about gun violence and pose a clear, demonstrable danger to our students, teachers, and communities. That’s why I’m proud to join Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly in this important fight for some badly needed commonsense.”

“Keeping guns locked up and out of reach from children is common sense. It is clear that funding to support research efforts is an important step in determining best approaches to curtail unintentional and intentional gun injuries to children in the United States. As a community, we need to support efforts like the Store It Safe Campaign, which uses barriers – such as a gun box – to reduce a child’s access to a firearm,” said Melissa Arnold, CEO, Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “I’m proud to join with Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly in this important fight because I believe our elected leaders can do more to keep guns out of the hands of children and save innocent lives.”

“As a leader in the Ohio community, I want to know our lawmakers are taking responsible steps to keep our families safe and our neighborhoods and communities safer,” said Ron Soeder, President, Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland. “I know our leaders can do more to keep guns out of dangerous hands and make Ohio safer, that’s why so many of my fellow Ohioians support responsible proposals that will reduce gun violence.”

“Gun violence is a public safety problem that needs our immediate attention,” said Jack D’Auroa, President, Kiwanis Club of Columbus. “I look forward to working with the Ohio Coalition for Common Sense to raise awareness about the steps our state can take to keep guns out of dangerous hands and improve the safety of our communities.”

ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE IN OHIO

ABOUT OHIO’S GUN LAWS

Ohio has some of the poorest gun laws in the nation, regularly scoring a D in the Law Center’s annual Gun Law State Scorecard. It fails to require background checks for private sales, does not require gun dealers to obtain a state license and provide local governments with the discretion to deny concealed weapons permits. Learn more about gun laws in Ohio, here.