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A group of Ohio mayors push back against state's lax gun control laws

Weapons for sale at Mad River Armory and Range in Springfield.
Jason Reynolds

A coalition of Ohio Democratic mayors spoke out Monday, and said lawmakers and Gov. Mike DeWine are taking the state in the wrong direction when it comes to guns.

"We're putting more guns onto the streets, into our schools, requiring less training and putting a proliferation of assault weapons out in our communities. Why are we surprised at the violence we're seeing?" said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.

Ginther joined the mayors of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron, and Toledo, pleading with lawmakers to be allowed to keep their cities safe with "common sense" gun laws.

The mayors held their joint press conference on the same day that DeWine signed into law a bill arming teachers and school staff and the day Ohio's new permitless carry law took effect.

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said that law in particular puts police officers and the general public at greater risk.

"As police chief, it is my job to keep these residents safe and to make sure our police officers make it home to their families at the end of every shift. Today's law makes that even more difficult," Bryant said.

Bryant points out that 91% of the record-setting 204 Columbus homicides last year were caused by firearms.

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.