Keep Guns Out Of Wrong Hands

Steubenville resident Tyrelle Gilbert wasn’t supposed to have any guns. His 1998 conviction on a felonious assault charge carried with it a ban on possession of firearms.

But Gilbert, 36, had three guns last May. He used one of them to kill another man in a bar shootout.

On May 24, 2018, Gilbert and Dylan Bittinger, 19, shot it out at the Club 106 in Steubenville. Bittinger was killed. Gilbert was wounded, but recovered. Another man suffered a leg wound.

After an investigation, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Jane Hanlin decided a charge of reckless homicide was appropriate for Gilbert. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to that count, as well as to others involving possession of cocaine and having a weapon as a convicted felon. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Police who searched Gilbert’s home after the shooting found three guns.

Had he obeyed the conditions of his prior parole, Gilbert would never have obtained the gun with which he killed Bittinger.

Not infrequently, we hear reports of shootings carried out by people who, under state and federal laws, should not have been able to obtain guns in the first place.

Ohio parole officers have their hands full in monitoring those for whom they are responsible. Don’t blame them for Gilbert being in possession of guns.

But perhaps state officials should reconsider how those banned from owning guns are monitored. Is there a more effective way to keep firearms out of their hands?

Bittinger might be alive today, had better safeguards been in place a year ago.

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