Columbus city officials blame the coronavirus pandemic, economic hardship, and illegal guns for the city’s rash of shootings and violent crimes. In a press conference, Police Chief Quinlan, Mayor Ginther, and other local leaders expressed their concerns about the violence in Columbus.
Mayor Ginther was emotional as he reminded people that these individuals are not numbers, but that they are family members who will never come home again. Chief Quinlan pointed out that there has been a decrease in people coming forward to report what they know. Without people telling the police what they know about shootings and other crimes, the officers cannot make arrests to prevent the same people from committing other violent crimes.
Community leaders argue that the pandemic has reduced the ability of non-profits to work with kids. Mayor Ginther confirmed that the city is working on the problem. He referred to a jobs program for teens and young adults, as well as using money from the CARES Act to fund programs and day camps for teens.
A Very Dangerous and Deadly Weekend in Columbus
In just one weekend, there were 10 people shot in eight different incidents throughout the city. Three of the victims died from gunshot wounds.
On Saturday night, police officers responded to a drive-by shooting at a home on Gerbert Road.
The home was the target of another drive-by shooting just the week before. A 15-year-old boy died from gunshot wounds. Gunshots and fights broke out while officers were still at the home investigating the shooting.
Just two hours after the drive-by shooting, police officers responded to another call on McCarley Drive East. There were reports of gunshots in the area.
Upon arriving, police officers discovered a 25-year-old man in a parking lot with a gunshot wound. The man died from his injuries at the hospital.
On Friday night, there was a shooting at Spruce Street and School Street. In that incident, three people were shot, including a 23-year-old woman. The woman died from her injuries.
Law enforcement officers continue to investigate the other five shootings that did not result in fatalities. All the shootings occurred between Friday evening and Sunday morning.
The non-fatal shootings occurred at:
- Gibbard Avenue
- Eakin Road
- North Warren
- Alum Creek Drive
- Unknown location (a victim showed up at Riverside Hospital with a gunshot wound)
It is not believed at this time that any of the shootings were related. Homicides have increased from the same time last year. In June, assaults involving a firearm increased by 244% over last June.
Possessing a Firearm in Columbus, Ohio
You have a Second Amendment right in the United States to possess firearms. However, your Constitutional rights come with some restrictions. The states have the authority to regulate the possession of and sale of firearms within the state.
Some people lose their right to possess firearms under Ohio gun laws. Other individuals are not qualified to purchase a firearm. Reasons why a person may be prohibited by law from possessing or buying a firearm include:
- Individuals who are fugitives from the law
- People who have been adjudged to be incompetent or mentally ill
- Someone who is a chronic drug addict or alcoholic
- Individuals convicted of committing certain violent crimes
- People convicted of a felony drug offense
- Teenagers under the age of 18 cannot legally purchase a rifle or shotgun
- Young adults under the age of 21 cannot purchase a handgun
Ohio gun laws permit people to openly carry a firearm in the state if they are legally eligible to purchase and possess the firearm. However, people must obtain an Ohio Concealed Handgun License if they want to conceal the handgun.
Criminal Offenses Involving Firearms
Examples of other weapon charges include:
- Using a gun while intoxicated
- Illegally carrying a concealed firearm
- Illegal possession of a firearm
- Brandishing a firearm
- Improper transport of a firearm
- Improperly handling a gun in a vehicle
- Possession of a stolen weapon
- Improperly discharging a firearm
The above gun offenses can be charged as standalone crimes or in association with another crime. Aggravating factors can increase the severity of the criminal charge. Using a weapon in the commission of a crime enhances the charge and the punishments.
The penalties for gun charges can be severe. You could lose your legal right to own a firearm, spend a considerable amount of time in prison, pay a hefty fine, and face a lengthy probation period upon your release. Talking to a weapons defense lawyer before talking to the police or agreeing to a plea deal is highly recommended.