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'Lock it up or get locked up': Cincinnati City Council passes ordinance including safe storage of guns

Posted at 6:37 PM, Feb 08, 2023

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to pass two gun laws addressing the safe storage and possession of firearms.

Council members passed an ordinance requiring the safe storage of guns, specifically around children. Guns should be in a safe, lock box or another device that prevents them from being used or accessed. Any parents or guardians who do not properly store their guns and "create a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child" can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.

"Our message is lock it up or get locked up," Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Kearney said. "And just so you know, our Cincinnati Police Department has free gun locks ... we have free locks, there is no excuse to have a gun that is not locked up."

The ordinance specifically mentions the October 2022 death of a 3-year-old who was shot and killed by his 6-year-old brother. Police said the children's father left a loaded gun in an "easily accessible" location for his children. The father was charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering children.

"As a gun owner myself, this has nothing to do with attempting to take away anybody's rights," council member Scotty Johnson said. "It has everything to do with asking you if you have ... the privilege to own a firearm in the country and in this city, own it responsibly."

The ordinance also makes possessing a firearm illegal for someone convicted of domestic violence or subject to a court order restraining them from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner. Anyone who violates the law will face a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Liz Keating, the only Republican on city council, said Wednesday she is "really proud" to support both measures.

"This legislation is very, very simple. If you are going to do something so horrific that you can get convicted of domestic violence, you do not deserve to have a gun," Keating said. "And if you do not care enough to keep a loaded weapon away from a child, you are going to be held responsible."

The Buckeye Firearms Association released a statement after the city's initial announcement vowing to fight the proposals.

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