I've pointed out many times that while Democrats, generally speaking, seem interested in the earnest pursuit of gun safety and preventing the sort of violence that a bad guy with a gun has once again thrust into the national spotlight, Republicans seem only interested in more guns in more hands in more places for any reason. This core idea - that more guns make us safe - flies in the face of the reality of a nation awash in weapons.
All that is required to change this is to change the way our elected officials think about the issue, and while that seems like an impossible task, one thing I hope to accomplish with LEAP Forward is to prove that it can be done, and a change is closer than we think.
The Ohio House 16th District is a place where that goal is in reach. It's a suburban Cleveland district that actually swung Democratic between the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, voting for Hillary Clinton after narrowly supporting Mitt Romney, and is one of seven state house districts Clinton carried that is currently represented by a Republican. That Republican, Dave Greenspan, has a gun safety record that is out of step, grading out as one of the most regressive in the body in my 2017 Report Card.
Democrats have a chance this fall to replace Mr. Greenspan with a candidate who is much more thoughtful and responsible: Rocky River resident Cassimir Svigelj. Svigelj understands the more guns are not the answer, and that you don't have to oppose gun ownership to believe in common sense gun education, safety, and licensing reform. His thoughtfulness on the issue was demonstrated when I asked him about HB 79, a bill sponsored by Greenspan that arms medical professionals and first responders:
HB 79 doesn't address a need, medical professionals such as first responders are always with police first responders and arming doctors and nurses increases the likelihood of a firearm accidentally discharging. If this law is going to continue, we need more training as well as more diversity training within police departments and medical professionals so we don't have incidents of young African-American boys being driven up on by cop and executed within 2 seconds. Giving more guns to people is not reform.
It's that sort of thinking that is desperately needed in our national debate, and Mr. Svigelj is the latest in a line of new voices that LEAP Forward wants to be heard. I am excited to endorse his campaign, excited about his prospects, and look forward to following his career.
You can follow this race and find information on how to help Mr. Svigelj's campaign HERE.