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Bill would require guns be locked up away from children

 
Bill would require guns be locked up away from children
Posted Tuesday, March 11th 2014 @ 4pm  by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Anti-gun groups are pushing state lawmakers to approve a bill that would mandate guns be locked up away from children.

"The guns that children use against other children and other adults come from adults," said Rep. Bill Patmon, a Cleveland Democrat.

Patmon says his bill doesn't infringe on anyone's Second Amendment rights, but just make sure they are being exercised safely. He compares it to the First Amendment rights that cover free speech, but don't allow you to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater.

Patmon also thinks it's a common sense solution to a problem that could be avoided.

"If you don't trust them with boiling water, knives, lawn mowers, or running cars why would you trust them with a .45 or any other caliber hand gun. It just does not make sense in one of the most civilized countries in the world," he said.

Among those hoping lawmakers act on the bill, which has sat in a House committee for more than a year, is the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

"We know that American children are much more likely to die from a gunshot wound than cancer, heart disease, or infection," said Jeremy Burnside, vice president of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

He says 20 children and teens are hospitalized each day across the nation due to gun-related injuries.

"The safe storage law will help set a legal standard for responsible, law abiding, gun ownership," Burnside said.

Patmon says having such a law on the books might make a difference in school shootings. He says T.J. Lane, who shot five students, including three fatally, at Chardon High School in 2012, got the weapon he used from a workbench in the garage at his home.

"If the gun in the garage was safely stored he may have beaten up a few people, he may have even found a bat, but he sure wouldn't have shot them up," he said.

Patmon says his bill would not prohibit someone from carrying a firearm or placing it in a location that is under their immediate control. It also won't penalize a gun owner if a child gets a hold of the gun as a result of another crime.

Depending on the circumstances, the penalty for violating the law would be a jail term between 60 days and 11 years.

The bill has received a couple of hearings, but has not come up for a vote that would send it to the full House.

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