Neighbors Want Voters To Decide On Gun Sales

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An east side community is taking its fight against the sale of guns in their neighborhood to the next level.

The Shepard community, near East Fifth Avenue and North Nelson Road in Columbus, want to change laws to keep their neighborhood's sense of security intact.

"It gave me such a different perspective on what can happen in the blink of an eye,"  said Shepard Community Association member Toni Smith.

A gunshot can change everything.  Smith knows.  She was the victim of a random shooting by a complete stranger.

"There are too many opportunities for negative things to happen with guns,"  said Smith.

That's why Smith doesn't want guns sold at a pawn shop in her neighborhood.  The shop is a half a block from a library, two doors down from a daycare and near Ohio Dominican University.

"How is it they can't sell beer and alcohol, which has always been wonderful, but they can sell firearms?"  asked one resident.

The community said no to alcohol but has no say in whether or not a gun license can be granted.  So instead of just trying to stop this license, the community is trying to change laws so this can't happen elsewhere.

"We need to make it uncomfortable for everybody involved that has anything to do with helping us get the solution that we want,"  said Smith.

The movement is gaining support.  70 people showed up to a weekly meeting Tuesday night.  They're organizing and mobilizing, contacting leaders on the city, state and federal level.

"We ought to be able to make the decision for ourselves what we think is appropriate in our community,"  said Smith.

State Rep. Kevin Boyce came to Tuesday's meeting and says he wants to draft a bill to allow communities to have a say in the granting of gun licenses.  One woman did talk to the pawn shop owner, who may be willing to compromise in this case.

"He said all we needed to do was come to him and ask him what we wanted him to do,"  said Rebecca Boyd.

The group was adamant, even if they find a solution in their neighborhood, they want to try to change the laws so other communities can have a say in the sale of guns.

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