Public input asked on gun control

FOSTORIA The St. Wendelin Peace and Justice Team and Fostoria Area Citizens for Peace are teaming to host a community forum on sensible regulation of guns 1-4 p.m. today.

St. Wendelin Parish Life Center, 323 N. Wood St., Fostoria, is to host a variety of speakers and a time for public input.

“All of this came about because Ronnie Kromer – who owns four guns and is the St. Wendelin Peace and Justice person – the day after Newtown, she sent out an email that we had to do something in this region,” said Jim Bailey, a FACP member and one of the forum organizers.

Bailey has compiled a fact sheet with a number of gun-related statistics.

In a typical day in America, more than 80 people are killed by guns.

Each year, more than 9,000 murders involving guns take place. and a higher number of suicides.

Each year the total of gun deaths exceeds 30,000, which includes more accidental shootings, suicides and more than 9,000 murders.

Each year, more than 9,000 murders involving guns take place. and a higher number of suicides.

Each year, total gun deaths exceed 30,000, which includes more accidental shootings, suicides and more than 9,000 murders.

Births, marriages, divorces and deaths are registered in the U.S., as well as cars, trucks, boats, trailers, bicycles, houses, land and dogs – everything but guns. Ohio is one of 33 states that places no restrictions on private sales (the so-called “gun show loophole”).

Kromer is to serve as timer at today’s forum. Bailey said the gathering has three goals: to educate the public, to allow citizens to be heard and to listen, and to establish a grassroots effort to work for sensible gun regulation.

Bailey said such a group could become a chapter of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, or it could be a four-county organization with Wood, Hancock, Seneca and Sandusky counties.

“We’ve got good speakers, I think,” Bailey said.

A Fostoria resident, Bailey is a retired educator with a master’s degree in political science. He is a retired teacher, coach, athletic director and former Fostoria mayor.

Other speakers at the forum include:

Toby Hoover of Perrysburg. The keynote speaker, Hoover is executive director and a founding member of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. Formed in 1995 with broad representation from the civic, law enforcement, medical and peace communities, OCAGV works for the reduction of gun violence through education, advocacy and public awareness.

Jo Hollingsworth of Fostoria. The forum’s moderator, Hollingsworth has a doctorate in French and a master’s in business administration. She is co-owner of a Fostoria business and a co-founder of Fostoria Area Citizens for Peace. A member of Tiffin Area Pax Christi, she also is on the advisory council of Project Peace in Tiffin.

Marjorie Burton of Sandusky. Burton is a retired police officer and serves now as director of safety and security at Oberlin College, where she has served in many campus and museum security roles for 26 years. Burton holds multiple certifications in safety services.

Phyllis Putnam of Tiffin. Putnam is retired as executive director of the Hancock County ADAMHS Board and executive director of the Hancock County Mental Health Clinic in Findlay. Before that, she was a psychiatric social worker.

Josie Setzler of Fremont. Setzler leads two community peace groups, Tiffin Area Pax Christi and People for Peace and Justice Sandusky County. She also has been active in local mental health and environmental efforts, and she participates in national actions with the community, Witness Against Torture.

At the forum, copies of James Atwood’s book, “America and Its Guns,” are to be available for sale at $15.

“It’s the best book I know about guns in America. He’s a Presbyterian pastor, a gun owner, a hunter and he’s been working for gun safety for 35 years,” Bailey said.

He added concerned citizens are welcome to attend FACP meetings the third Sunday of the month at the Presbyterian Church in Fostoria.

“We’ve had a number of people who said ‘I want to do something,’ but we don’t know where this (gun regulation group) is going to go,” Bailey said. “It’s the time right now. The president just came out and said if we’re going to do anything, we need to do it now.”