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Sunday, June 22, 2003

Proposed bill insults law-abiding Ohioans



By Chuck Klein
Guest columnist

The current Ohio bill (H.B. 12) to establish a concealed firearms permit system is the epitome of insult. The draconian measures tendered by our elected officials and police hierarchy conclusively show the distrust they have for decent, law-abiding Ohioans who need to protect themselves and their families. Carrying defensive arms is necessitated for some because these same officials are unable to provide a safe environment.

The absurdity of H.B. 12 is best summed up in this real-life scenario: If I had a license to carry under this new bill and responded to pick up my grandson after school (as I did all year), I would have to place a jacket or shirt over my holstered handgun in order to walk to my car parked on a public street (it must be "concealed" so as not to panic any observers - a crime).

Before entering my vehicle, I would have to remove the coat because the law mandates that holstered guns must be unconcealed while the carrier is in a motor vehicle. Before driving onto the school's property, I would, somehow, have to exit my car in order to unload the gun and place it in a locked trunk. Because my grandson is under 18 years of age, the gun must remain in the trunk of the vehicle - where it would be of no use should I need it to protect him or myself.

If our destination was the county court house, I could, upon parking my vehicle, reload the firearm and place it back into the holster under my jacket/shirt. At the court house, and upon disclosure that I am armed, a deputy would secure the gun while I conduct my business.

Back on the street and again armed with a concealed gun, another dilemma occurs if I need to visit the county administration building or any other government building. All such buildings, under H.B. 12, are designated as "self-defense free" zones. Unlike a court house, where the sheriff is required to hold my gun while I'm there, there is no such provision for other buildings. In other words, it is an impossibility to protect myself and my grandson while visiting the property my taxes support.

Questions:

1) What danger do I, a law-abiding, firearms-trained citizen, present to the public, much less my grandson, when I carry a concealed, legal firearm in a car, school parking lot, public building, restaurant or anyplace else?

2) Why do some people feel more comfortable in public and private places where criminals might be armed, but law-abiding, firearm trained, decent citizens are unarmed?

3) Why are members of the Ohio police hierarchy so set against anyone but themselves being armed?

Answers:

1) None.

2) I've asked this question of many anti-gunners. The general consensus was they have a perception that any and all guns are a danger to them. However, none were able to articulate how firearms in the hands of trained, law-abiding people create this danger. Mystifying is that all stated they don't feel uncomfortable when they visit Kentucky or Indiana, where citizens are permitted to carry concealed arms.

3) In the recent and successful constitutional challenge to Ohio's concealed weapons laws (Klein vs. Leis), the defendant police did not present any evidence to show that armed, law-abiding citizens are any danger to them or anyone else. Maybe, it's because carrying a gun (by Ohio police) is the last bastion of the "old boys' club."

The right to carry a concealed firearm is not an absolute, but H.B. 12 goes far beyond what is reasonable, legal and constitutional.

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Chuck Klein is a former Enquirer Local Voices columnist, licensed private investigator, certified firearms instructor, plaintiff in Klein vs. Leis and the author of several books (www.chuckklein.com) .




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