In response to a rash of shootings in Cincinnati’s Avondale neighborhood, a state lawmaker has proposed tougher penalties for anyone who discharges a firearm while committing a criminal offense that results in the injury or death of a child.
State Sen. Eric Kearney (D-North Avondale) has introduced a bill that, if passed, would add an additional 10-year prison term to an existing sentence for any person who discharges a firearm while committing an offense.
Kearny submitted the bill after a 4-year-old boy who was a bystander was shot March 20 on Blair Avenue in Avondale.
Later the same night, a man was shot in the 800 block of Rockdale Avenue during an aggravated robbery.
In 2006, Kearney introduced a similar bill when two children were hit by stray bullets at the corner of Reading Road and Forest Avenue in Avondale. That measure didn’t pass.
“I encourage lawmakers to pass this legislation and protect our children,” Kearney said. “I also look forward to working with community leaders to make our neighborhoods safer for our citizens, particularly our children.”
Meanwhile, Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig has increased police foot patrols and bicycle units along Reading Road.
City Councilman Christopher Smitherman, who also is president of the NAACP’s local chapter, issued a statement decrying the shootings.
Smitherman called the shootings “outrageous,” adding, “the decision of our youth to use guns to solve basic conflict are signs of family structures failing.”