The Representative's Corner
Back in 2018, when I was serving as President of Parma City Council, a tragedy struck the community. Police Chief Joseph Bobak informed me that a little boy who obtained his father’s handgun accidentally killed himself. Needless to say, like many, I was very saddened by the incident and the councilman, school teacher, and father in me wanted to prevent this type of calamity from happening again on my watch.
As a result, I worked with Parma Law Director Timothy Dobeck and Ward 5 Councilman Allan Divis to design a free gun lock program. Since that time, we have worked with the National Sports Shooting Foundation’s (NSSF) Project Child Safe program and the Parma Police Department to give away nearly 2,000 gun locks to residents.
Ever since joining the Ohio General Assembly in January, I have worked hard to seek ways to bring folks on both sides of various issues together. I am very happy to say that I have experienced much success, as most of the bills that I am working on are bipartisan in nature. I am especially proud of House Bill 186 (HB 186), which I introduced with Representative Darnell Brewer of Cleveland. HB 186 would exempt firearm safety devices, such as gun locks and safes, from sales tax. Many tell me that the bill is historic in the sense that it has brought folks on both sides of the gun debate together. In fact, gun control groups such as Moms Demand Action, Sandy Hook Promise, and Every Town for Gun Safety and gun advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association, the NSSF, and the Buckeye Firearms Association support our bill.
Our proposal addresses a critical aspect of public safety, responsible gun ownership, and the well-being of our communities. By making gun safety devices more affordable, we remove financial barriers for gun owners to secure their firearms properly. We know it will not solve every tragedy and we are not discussing the merits of gun ownership or gun policies. Instead, we are focusing on a common-sense approach to incentivize firearms owners to do so responsibly and safely, like I have since I obtained my first gun when I was a young man growing up on my grandma’s farm.
Studies have consistently shown that gun safety devices, such as gun safes, trigger locks, and biometric access systems, play a crucial role in preventing accidental discharge, unauthorized access to firearms, and gun thefts. They provide a layer of security that can help keep firearms out of the wrong hands, particularly when it comes to protecting children and vulnerable individuals. Further, safer storage can prevent firearms from being stolen and ending up in the hands of criminals, contributing to crime rates and endangering our communities. Firearm safety devices are essential tools for responsible gun owners who prioritize the safety of their families and communities.
In closing, we can all do our part to prioritize the safety of our community, regardless of one’s stance on the firearms debate. If you own them, please take steps to secure your weapons. If you would like a free gun lock, please call my office at 614-466-3485 or email me at Rep14@OhioHouse.gov. Together we can make a safer community. Best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving.
Sean Patrick Brennan
Sean Patrick Brennan