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Ohio Minds Meet to Examine Scope of Gun Violence


Wednesday, September 12, 2018   

CLEVELAND, Ohio – While folks in Cincinnati still are reeling in the wake of last week's mass shooting, experts will gather today in Cleveland for a forum on "How to Reduce Gun Violence."

Voices from the Statehouse, law enforcement and research institutions will examine the scope of the problem, some of the causes, and possible solutions to reduce incidents of gun violence.

Reporter Peter Krause with Cleveland.com will moderate, and said the goal is to have a civil discourse on a polarizing issue.

"Hopefully, there'll be a meeting of the minds between those who are calling for some rather extensive changes in gun laws, to those who cite the Second Amendment right to bear arms as a reason for not making gun ownership more difficult," said Krause.

State Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton, and Sen. Michael Skindell, D-Lakewood, are among the panelists for the event, which begins at 7:00 p.m. at Case Western Reserve University. It is free and open to the public.

Director of Case Western's Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, Daniel Flannery, will also be part of the discussion. According to Flannery, gun violence is a major public health issue that is not only related to mass shootings.

"There are way more people that die from gun violence – in interpersonal disputes or accidental deaths, or suicides with firearms – than die from being a victim of a mass shooting at a school or a workplace, or another public setting," Flannery explained.

Beyond addressing loopholes in gun-sales laws and the need for stronger background checks, Flannery contends more investment is needed into researching gun violence.

"There's been a restriction on federal funding to do any research related to firearm violence for over 20 years now," he added. "That's really hampered our ability to have an informed decision around, 'What is the evidence here? What impact do policies and laws have in various states?' Those kinds of things we just don't know."

According to state data, more than 14,000 Ohioans were victims of firearm-related crime in 2016.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.

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