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Councilman Basheer Jones Calls For Women To Undergo Firearms Training

Cleveland City Councilman Basheer Jones is calling for women to undergo firearms training to fight violence against them, including domestic violence.

Recent incidents including a video of a woman being beaten outside a gas station are evidence that violence remains a concern, Jones said.

“All across the City of Cleveland right now, you’re finding videos of women being attacked,” Jones said. “I believe that unfortunately women have to take it in their own hands.”

Jones has planned a press conference with firearms instructors 5 p.m. Thursday at the gas station where the incident occurred, on the corner of St. Clair Avenue and East 123rd Street.

“Women deserve to be able to protect themselves,” Jones said ahead of the event. “The American Constitution gives us the opportunity to do that.”

The U.S. Department of Justice has issued warnings during the coronavirus pandemic about spikes in domestic violence, including increased gun sales. Cuyahoga County has launched some initiatives aimed at protecting from abuse and domestic violence through remote services as the pandemic continues.

“Cleveland has been ranked one of the most dangerous cities for women, and if now is not the time [to raise awareness], I don’t know what other time it could be,” Jones said.

Organizations aiming to protect victims of crime also are facing difficulties due to funding cuts for the Victims of Crime Act. Women’s shelters, rape crisis centers and other aid groups have lost millions of dollars they used to provide services.

Jones said he regularly hears from women in his ward who do not feel safe, he said. He and other advocates are working to promote firearms training as one form of protection from violence, Jones said.

“Those who are criticizing urban America for embracing the Second Amendment, I think that’s a political conversation,” Jones said. “I just want women and children to be safe.”

Controversies around gun rights focus unfairly on urban areas, Jones said. Firearms training is a way to promote safety for women in urban centers, he said, not violence.

“It’s not a problem for rural America to have firearms, I’ve never seen anyone having a problem with that,” Jones said. “When it comes to men and women in the urban community, it seems to be an issue.”

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