Health bureaucrats: Guns are a ''health issue''

Although not directly related to our battle to restore Ohioan's right to self-defense with a firearm, we believe the fight against "assault"-weapons bans is an important one. The erosion of our rights, with bans that do not work, is a serious matter.

Youngstown citizens have been fighting proposals to ban certain types of firearms in that city for some time now. Their list of adversaries has grown.

According to the Youngstown Vindicator, "a board headed by Matthew Stefanak, Mahoning County health commissioner, and his city counterpart, Neil Altman, is asking city council to do something about assault-type firearms." The group is attempting to exploit the death of a child to support their claims that a ban would somehow make a difference.

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Those firearms "serve no useful purpose other than in the hands of combatants engaged in deadly warfare," the board told Youngstown city council in a letter. "The lethality of these weapons increases the likelihood that unintended victims like Jiyen will be killed when the weapons are fired indiscriminately in neighborhoods as an act of intimidation."

Switching the focus from banning guns to banishing the criminals who use them is a good start, said Rick Kaleda of Youngstown (OFCC's Mahoning County Coordinator).

Kaleda is among the gun advocates who first spoke against the proposed local law.

Using existing laws to fully prosecute criminals who use assault-type guns is the most effective way to get those guns off the street, Kaleda said. Too often, those who use high-powered firearms are criminals who already should be in jail, he said.

New gun laws only add restrictions to law-abiding firearm owners, Kaleda said. Criminals by their nature pay no attention to gun laws, he said.

Cities such as Washington, D.C., that have local gun bans aren't seeing a decrease in gun violence, he said. Cities such as Richmond, Va., which focuses on prosecuting criminals who use guns, are succeeding, he said.

"It's the only pursuit shown to be successful," Kaleda said.

OFCC PAC Commentary:
Kaleda is, of course, absolutely correct. Bans and safety zones don't work, but Virginia's Project Exile, which took the novel approach of prosecuting criminals who used firearms to the fullest extent of the law, has gone over so well that it's being adopted all over the country - even in Dayton!

This new angle of attack comes largely from the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Medical Association. We've been hearing their misinformation in the debate over HB12 as well.

In the past few years, the AMA began telling doctors to survey patients about their firearms ownership, and to advise them about the risks, using baseless, faulty statistics such as one claiming a person with a firearm in the home is 43 times more likely to be killed than one without.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, will speak in Jackson Township at 2:30 p.m. May 29.

The speech is open to the public. It will be given at Kent State University Stark Campus Professional Education & Conference Center at 6000 Frank Ave. NW.

A Kent State spokesman said the event is free, and no tickets are required.

Gerberding graduated from Case Western Reserve University Medical School in Cleveland.

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