Advocates for gun regulations lobby Ohio lawmakers, who haven't been supportive of their cause
In the last two years, Republican-backed laws that allow permitless concealed carry and for teachers to be armed in schools passed and signed in Ohio.
But activists and volunteers with the gun regulations group Moms Demand Action who came to the Statehouse Wednesday said they’re not giving up their fight.
The advocates from around Ohio gathered in a church across the street from the Statehouse before going to meet legislators. They included Shela Blanchard of Columbus, who lost her niece Monica Storey Brickhouse in the Dayton mass shooting in 2019.
“There’s always hope, regardless. So we’ll just keep fighting and just keep trying to help them to understand that we all want the same thing," Blanchard said. "We want to keep our family members safe. We want our children to grow up in a healthy public safety environment. And so we'll just keep talking with them and making sure that they understand that we have more in common than we do not in common."
Christina Combs of Lewis Center said she got involved with Moms Demand Action after the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2012, when the oldest of her four sons was the same age as the 20 first-graders who were killed.
“And I remember sending him back to school right after that happened. And every day since I’ve prayed that all my boys come home safe," Combs said. "And that’s nothing that any parent should ever have to worry about - seeing their kids come home from school."
Monica Wilson is the first Black member of Parma City Council, and joined Moms Demand Action in 2016. She said she knows it’s an uphill battle opposing Republicans in the legislature who strongly support gun rights.
“We have to let them know that people don’t agree with you. It’s not that easy to continue to go against the will of the people," Wilson said. "And what we want is right, it’s fair, it’s just and we will prevail.”
The Ohio Department of Health reports nearly 5,500 Ohioans have died from gun violence in the last three years – or five people a day.
For years, public opinion polls have shown widespread support for stricter gun regulations, even among those who own firearms.