Guns are a hot topic and people all across the board are looking for solutions to stop gun violence. Solutions from the Democratic Party call for a ban on “assault style” machine guns and high capacity magazines while more central view points call for more background checks and psychological testing.
Recently, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed and made effective a city-wide ban on particular guns, ammunition, magazines, weapon accessories and even specific weapon mechanisms.
A town in Northwestern Ohio however seems to be getting a little more creative in their ideas to stop overall violence as well as gun violence. Rather than tackling the weapon, officials in the city of Lima, Ohio gathered to stop a common pattern that seems to be a root of shootings in the city
A Lima City Council Safety Services meeting on Monday deliberated on the questions and offered answers for the seemingly high level of gun violence in its city. Unlike most other places, Lima wants to tackle gun violence by giving more resources to law enforcement to break up gatherings in the city which pose high risks to gun violence.
In the last ten years, Councilor Derry Glenn estimates that 15 shooting deaths; eight in his extended family alone stemmed directly from such large gatherings. As Glenn states, young people will often host large parties late into the night at certain places of interest to skirt enforcement of drinking age restrictions, and many of them come armed due to safety worries. The combination of youth, liquor and guns without security or supervision however can often result in violence.
One of the more pressing examples of such activity was the shooting death of 23-year-old Carrington Lott. In 2018, a large Independence Day gathering at the United Auto Workers hall in 2018 saw the death of Lott and the injury of six others in the shooting.
To curb such behavior, Lima is considering the regulation of these practices by establishing a permit program that would give law enforcement information on such gatherings, defined primarily as parties at commercial rental halls with over 50 participants. Those who fail to follow the proper procedures could find themselves with a $250 fine.
But as the committee examined the first draft of legislation Tuesday night, they found the proposed ordinance needed a refinement and a little more shared responsibility. Councilor Sam McLean noted that the first draft of the legislation went in a majority after event organizers, but he would like to extend the legislation to also hold business owners accountable for approving what kind of gatherings are held at their venues.
“(Property owners) are responsible. When that kid walks into your building, they should know it’s a safe zone,” Glenn said.
Additionally, councilors agreed that a $250 fine isn’t sufficient, especially if event organizers are charging admittance fees.
Glenn said he recalls four locations in his ward where such parties are commonplace, and that one such venue shattered the calmness of an entire neighborhood. Ward residents will often phone Glenn late at night to ask the councilor to get partiers to move their cars from blocking other residents’ driveways.
“I’m glad we’re stepping up to the place to see what we can do,” Glenn said. “This is something that we’ve talked about for years.”
The committee pled to ask the city’s law department for a second opinion of the ordinance’s language to add tweaks where necessary and provide a clean copy to council.