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OCAAUP Board endorses background checks ballot issue

At our September 7, 2019 meeting, the Ohio Conference AAUP Board unanimously endorsed the firearm background check ballot initiative spearheaded by Ohioans for Gun Safety.

The initiative would close the background check loopholes on gun sales, which is supported by 90% of Ohioans.

Experts agree background checks are among the most effective steps available to impact gun violence. In the 20 states that have acted to strengthen background checks, gun violence is significantly reduced.

Why is a faculty association getting involved in a gun safety issue? A few reasons:

  1. During the 131st Ohio General Assembly, legislators passed House Bill 48, allowing for “campus carry;” in other words, allowing conceal/carry permit holders to carry their guns on campus. If firearms are going to be permitted on our campuses, we want to ensure that the weapons are carried by people who passed a background check. Gun-related incidents on campuses nationwide have been on the rise. We should do our part to make sure the trend doesn’t hit Ohio colleges and universities.
  2. The National AAUP has long held a position that the presence of firearms on campus is a threat to academic freedom and the general welfare of campus communities. The Ohio Conference passed a resolution to that effect, too, as well as voicing opposition to the aforementioned HB 48, at our 2015 Annual Meeting.
  3. The recent mass shooting in Dayton, a city home to both Wright State University and the University of Dayton. Campus shootings and mass shootings are not distinct phenomena; our campus communities are all linked inextricably to the broader communities in which we are located and which we serve–a connection to community that is centrally emphasized in the mission statements of a number of our institutions.

We know that not all of our members may agree with the decision to endorse this ballot initiative, but hope that everyone can respect that this was a thoughtful process, one based on AAUP precedent and genuine concern for our places of work, and the teaching, learning, and research that occur there.

Currently, Ohioans for Gun Safety has a volunteer effort to collect signatures to: first, put the proposal in front of the legislature to choose to act on; and if they fail to act, second, put it in front of Ohio voters either on the 2020 or 2021 statewide ballot.

To learn more about the ballot initiative, help collect signatures, donate to the effort, and more, visit

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