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Hamilton County Commissioners Weigh In On Firearm Debate

Seal of Hamilton County
Hamilton County

Updated 5:10, Mar 1.

The Hamilton County prosecutor has 30 days to tell commissioners what they can and cannot do to address gun violence. Commissioners approved a resolution Wednesday asking for a report on ways to prevent access to firearms that can kill lots of people.

Board President Todd Portune said he also wants county government to encourage innovative ways to protect soft targets.

"Hamilton County wants to be that place where a Manhattan Project-style approach occurs; where the best minds in the country, the best innovators and inventors are going to set up shop and work and design and make improvements on current technology from a detection standpoint," Portune said.

The Manhattan Project led to the development of the atomic bomb.

The resolution also calls on the county administrator to look for state and federal grants that could help.

The lone Republican on the Hamilton County Commission, Chris Monzel voted against two of the four proposals presented in the wake of the Parkland school shooting which left 17 people dead. He said children and teachers should be safe, but he's also opposed to taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.

"I do believe there is room for tightening regulations that keep guns out of the hands of those who are not law abiding or who are mentally impaired," Monzel said. "We as a nation must find a way to help those who are struggling with mental illness. We must put more emphasis on background checks and tighten laws within the system in order to keep our children safe."

Monzel said the state of Ohio has already done a lot to try to prevent attacks, including starting a tip line.

"Also, the Ohio General Assembly authorized the Ohio Schools Facility Commission to establish the schools security grant program. And between 2013 and 2017, $15.7 million was appropriated for security communications and new entrance security systems in 3,386 school buildings," Monzel said.

Monzel agrees with fellow commissioners' visions to make Hamilton County an epicenter of research into soft target safety and finding state and federal grants to pay for it.

He voted against other measures in the resolution that he called too vague. Those items asked for more local, state and federal laws, and called for a report from the county prosecutor's office on what commissioners can do to prevent access to certain weapons.

Board President Todd Portune said he doesn't believe what the resolutions were asking for was anti-Second Amendment.

This story was edited to clarify comments by Commissioner Monzel.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio in markets including Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.