COLUMBUS – House Minority Whip Tracy Maxwell Heard (D-Columbus) co-hosted the second meeting of the Gun Summit with State Representative Margaret Ann Ruhl (R-Mount Vernon). This meeting continued the focus from the first meeting of addressing school safety, the eleven of twenty-three agreed upon presidential recommendations, and issues surrounding mental health.
In the first meeting of the Gun Summit, representatives of the National Rife Association and Buckeye Firearms Foundation, the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio and the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, the Ohio Parent-Teacher Association, the City of Columbus and the City of Cincinnati, State Rep. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood), State Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland), State Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebannon), and State Rep. Robert Cole Sprague (R-Findlay) met in the Ohio Statehouse. This meeting expanded that list to include the U.S. Marshals Service; the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Ohio); the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“The purpose of the Gun Summit is to find common ground between all interested parties involved,” said Rep. Heard. “I understand that each group that comes to the table have varying perspectives on school safety, addressing mental health, and gun control measures but that doesn’t mean that we cannot work together on the things where we have agreement. I also feel that this process gives each of these interest groups a sense for what governing is – a balance between disparate and numerous issues that are not as black and white as a single-issue group may lead the public to believe.”
The focus of the first meeting was on school safety and access to mental health treatment, and this meeting continued in a similar vein. The group received briefings from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, the Ohio School Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, and NAMI Ohio.
“It is extremely important for all these groups to meet,” said Rep. Ruhl. “In order to lessen violence in our community, we will undoubtedly need a more coordinated effort between our law enforcement, schools, mental health centers, and the legislature.”
The third meeting of the Gun Summit will be held on Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. on Capitol Square in Columbus.