Ohio House Democratic lawmakers want gun buyers to know about potential injuries

by MARC KOVAC CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published:

Columbus -- Two Democratic lawmakers want gun buyers to be informed in advance of the possible injuries that could occur from firearm use.

Reps. Bob Hagan, from Youngstown, and Mike Foley, from Cleveland, initially offered House Bill 222 as a political statement against abortion restrictions passed by Republicans this session.

But the legislation turned instead into a "viable and educational public policy" proposal, Hagan said.

"Every year in Ohio, over 1,000 people lose their lives from firearm-related injuries, and thousands more suffer from nonfatal firearm injuries," Foley told members of the House's State and Local Government Committee Nov. 12 during a first hearing on the bill. "Despite these staggering statistics, not enough is being done to ensure that individuals purchasing firearms are educated on the deadly nature of the weapon they intend to buy."

HB 222 would require the state health department to conduct a study describing injuries that could be caused by firearms. Printed copies then would be provided to gun purchasers.

Hagan compared the proposed information distribution to laws now on the books that require doctors to disclose increased information to patients prior to abortions.

"If there are such extensive requirements for women, regardless of the myriad of reasons a woman has chosen to have this medical procedure, we thought there should be some factual information required to be shared when firearms, inherently violent instruments, are purchased," he said.

Foley added, "Our hope is that with greater understanding of the devastating bodily harm that can be wrought by a firearm, more thought will be put into storage, responsible use and other decisions after purchasing a firearm."

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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