It has been said that it matters not so much where we stand, but more importantly, what direction we are moving in.
I say that regarding Ohio House Bill 228, better known as the “Stand your Ground Bill.” This is the first pro gun legislation, nationwide, coming up for a vote since the violence at Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas. It is that bill that leads me to question if we are we really moving in the right direction? I think looking at states that currently have enacted legislation similar to H.B.228, would reveal that this flawed law may not be as successful as it may appear.
In Florida, where that law was enacted in 2005, homicide was near a historic low, five deaths for every 100,000 people. Gunshots killed 521, less than three per 100,000. The first year after the enactment of the Stand your Ground Bill in Florida, that number jumped to 740 killed by gun violence, a staggering 35 percent increase.
A study in the Journal of Preventative Medicine blames the Stand your Ground Law on an increase in gun violence in suburban white counties where factors that feed into higher crime rates don’t exist. The Stand your Ground Bill gives untrained, undisciplined, prejudicial individuals more freedom to shoot than military personnel in war zones. Perhaps what is most troubling to me is that young African Americans are perceived to always be a greater threat and having that perception makes them a greater risk to become a victim of such a flawed law.
As a black male, we have all experienced someone crossing the street simply because we walked on the same sidewalk, at times, just walking the dog. If the military has restrictions in war zone, doesn’t it make sense to have restrictions on the streets of Ohio or are we determined to teach kids that only a gun can solve our problems.
Call your state representative and tell them to vote this bill down.
Charles Thomas, Lima