Senator Eklund (right) and Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz discuss how the Violent Career Criminal Act will improve the safety of Geauga County residents if enacted.

State Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township) and Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz held a press conference today to announce how passage of Ohio's Violent Career Criminal Act could improve the safety of Geauga County residents. 

"This bill will go a long way toward protecting our community from the worst of the worst threats to public safety," said Eklund. "This legislation helps county prosecutors to lock up these dangerous criminals."

Senate Bill 97, better known as the Violent Career Criminal Act, would classify any adult convicted of at least two violent felonies in the past eight years as a "Violent Career Criminal." If any offender with this designation commits another felony, the bill would require an additional 2 to 11 years of mandatory prison time. For additional crimes involving firearms, it would increase prison time by 50 percent.

"Senate Bill 97 provides prosecutors with the necessary tools to ensure that these offenders are put behind bars," said Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz. "This legislation will go a long way in getting the small minority of criminals that produce a large share of violent crimes off our streets and making Geauga County safer."

The legislation incorporates findings from the Violent Crimes with Guns Advisory Group, convened by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in 2011 to study the problem of gun violence and recommend more effective prevention strategies. A report commissioned by the group found that people with two or more violent felony offenses make up 0.91 percent of Ohio adult population yet commit 57 percent of Ohio's violent felonies. 

The legislation is currently being considered by the House of Representatives.

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