The unfortunate incident where my neighbor was shot over a minor dispute should never have occurred | Guest perspective

Gun violence is rampant in the United States today.

Gun violence claimed the lives of more than 43,000 individuals last year, as reported by the Gun Violence Archive. However, the impact of these chilling statistics becomes incredibly poignant when the tragedy strikes close to our own lives.

A few days ago, my neighbor, the first author, experienced a tragic incident that shook the entire community. He is a hardworking individual who runs his own business in Northeast Ohio, often working long hours from early morning until late at night. However, his life took a devastating turn when a disgruntled customer shot him and his two sons multiple times, leaving them with grave injuries. The future is uncertain for this peaceful and tightly-knit family, all because a gun was easily accessible.

The prevalence of armed robbery, road rage, and carjackings is unfortunately all too common in our society. What is even more alarming is the increasing trend of resorting to firearms to resolve conflicts that could easily be resolved through communication. This disturbing pattern is becoming endemic, as highlighted by the recent shooting at the Kansas City Super Bowl celebration. It is evident that no place is safe anymore, whether it be schools, malls, grocery stores, places of worship, or even our own streets.

The Ohio legislature, despite public demand for reasonable gun safety measures, has consistently failed to prioritize the well-being and security of its citizens. Instead, they have enacted policies that make it alarmingly simple for individuals with questionable intentions to acquire firearms. This raises a pressing question: why do our Ohio legislators prioritize the rights of gun owners over the fundamental need for everyone to feel safe within their own communities?

Gun violence is predominantly carried out by boys and men, accounting for over 90% of cases. However, it is important to note that the vast majority of males, also over 90%, do not engage in such acts. The key distinction among the small fraction who do commit gun violence appears to be their perception of a threat to their masculinity.

In a recent case, Remington Arms, the manufacturer of the military assault weapon used in the tragic Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012, reached a settlement of $73 million with the parents and survivors of the incident. The plaintiffs were successful in their lawsuit because they were able to demonstrate that Remington had targeted men who felt their masculinity was under threat with their marketing of the AR-15 rifle. The advertisements featured an image of the weapon alongside the company logo, a serpent, accompanied by the caption “Your Man Card Reissued.” It is concerning that the promotion and exploitation of a violent gun culture for financial gain is allowed by our government.

We are deeply troubled by the ongoing acts of senseless violence, and we urge our fellow Northeast Ohio residents to join us in advocating for sensible gun safety measures. It is crucial that we reach out to our legislative representatives in Columbus and implore them to take action. By enacting these measures, we can work towards creating a safer and more secure community for all.

The Rand Organization has proposed three measures to improve gun safety. These measures focus on:

Gun storage: Limiting how people store handguns and ammunition in their residences.

Restricting who can carry a concealed weapon is an important aspect of gun carry regulations.

Restricting the circumstances in which individuals can use deadly force in self-defense outside their own homes is a crucial step in regulating gun use.

Effective background checks are a crucial measure that needs to be implemented. Our peace of mind and freedom to travel without fear have been compromised by the gun lobby and its influence over our representatives.

Rick Strong, a retired trial attorney, and Ronald Levant, a former president of the American Psychological Association, both hold esteemed positions at the University of Akron School of Law and the University of Akron, respectively.

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