COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – With a picture of 4-year-old Rowan Sweeney in a monitor behind him, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine started Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing with a call for gun reform.
“I want to start today talking about Rowan Sweeney and his future full of infinite possibilities,” DeWine began. “Yesterday, he was shot to death, gunned down after someone walked into a home in Struthers and opened fire.”
DeWine called the shooting a “horrible, senseless tragedy.”
Over the past two weeks, 88 people have been shot in Ohio, DeWine said. Of those, at least 34 were killed, including another child, 6-year-old King Pleasant.
Pleasant was shot by another 11-year-old child. Authorities are investigating how the boy got ahold of a gun.
“All of this is absolutely heartbreaking,” Dewine said.
Citing another shooting in Cleveland where a 10-year-old boy was critically injured during a drive-by shooting, DeWine called on the General Assembly to pick up his gun reform bill and pass it.
“Most gun violence that we are seeing is committed by people who legally cannot have a gun,” Dewine said. “Current law, clearly, is not tough enough since these individuals continue to carry and use weapons anyway. Our bill, that I am asking the General Assembly to pass, will toughen penalties for this group of people who are breaking the law by having a weapon.”
DeWine said the “Strong Ohio Bill” would add penalties and give judges more discretion in sentencing.
The governor went on to say that by this time next week, more people will have died due to senseless gun violence. He said it’s why he keeps talking about the legislation in front of the General Assembly, so stories like Sweeney’s here in Struthers don’t just become another headline.
“This is an easy one. This is not hard. We need to get it done,” DeWine said.