Two Northeast Ohio lawmakers introduced legislation aimed at protecting domestic abuse victims from gun violence Tuesday.
OH Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and OH Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) said their proposal will require offenders to surrender their firearms when they are convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or served with a civil protection order.
The "Safe At Home" bill would also ban individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from purchasing or possessing firearms. Federal law already disables those offenders from owning weapons, but Ohio law does not currently have a similar statute on the books.
Their announcement comes just weeks after an exclusive 5 On Your Side Investigation uncovered how deadly loopholes in Ohio laws place abused women in serious danger.
Our investigation was the launch of our year-long examination of Ohio's gun laws and domestic violence.
"The ultimate goal of this bill is to save lives," said Antonio after today's announcement.
"Women and children should not live in fear that an intimate partner . . . can track her down and kill her," she said.
NewsChannel 5 investigators found 88 women were killed by intimate partners in Ohio in 2014. According to records we obtained, approximately two-thirds of those homicides involved firearms.
We also found domestic violence victims are five times more likely to be murdered if their abuser owns a gun.
Antonio said her proposal does not cover every loophole in the state's laws, but begins the process of closing enforcement gaps.
"It's a tool in the toolbox of reducing violence, taking away weapons in a situation," she said.
Antonio also said NewsChannel 5's investigation helped raise awareness about the dangers of domestic violence.
"Every time we have reports like this, it helps people understand that those loopholes get in the way of law abiding citizens actually being safe," she said.