State Reps. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) today introduced House Bill (HB) 335 that would protect victims of domestic abuse and first responders by requiring anyone subject to a temporary civil or criminal protection order to surrender their firearms to a law enforcement agency or sell them to a federally licensed gun dealer.
“This legislation is important because it will address the dangerous and emotionally volatile time period after a domestic violence incident by requiring a ‘cooling off’ period where guns are removed from the home while a protective order is active. It is well-documented that victims of abuse are in the most danger immediately after they seek a civil protection order,” Rep. Boyd said. “What many people don’t realize is that children between the ages of two and 14 living in homes in which domestic violence occurs are four times more likely to be victims of homicide. Seeking a protection order should keep domestic abuse victims and their family members safe, not make them targets for abusers who easy access to guns. This legislation will accomplish that goal."
Rep. Lepore-Hagan noted that the bill would also protect first responders who are often called on to wade into the middle of domestic disputes.
“Police officers and paramedics who answer calls for help should not fear for their lives because a person who has a history of prior domestic abuse and is clearly still dangerous has a firearm,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “Anyone who believes dangerous people should not have access to deadly weapons should support this common sense bill. We must keep victims and first responders safe when domestic violence escalates.”
Both Reps. Lepore-Hagan and Boyd noted that domestic violence is prevalent in Ohio. According to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, there were 66,528 reported offenders in 2017. Of the 76,416 calls related to domestic disputes, 37,725 resulted in charges. Of the 91 fatalities in 69 cases including victims and perpetrators (according to media reports compiled by the Ohio Domestic Violence Network), 100 percent of homicide/suicide cases involved a gun. These figures remain despite domestic violence still being heavily unreported.