Online poll shows strong support in Ohio for concealed carry in places of worship
Recent news that a Michigan jihadist who was arrested for his allegiance to ISIS had told an undercover FBI agent he had decided to target a church specifically because "people are not allowed to carry guns in church" is drawing more attention to an Ohio law which bans concealed handgun license (CHL) -holders from carrying in places of worship unless they have permission.
Recently, WXIX (Fox Cincinnati) reported on the subject in a report entitled "Who in your pew is packing heat?"
From the article:
Pastor Bacon is the pastor of Mount Carmel Christian Church in Union Township.
He said they've had church members with concealed carry permits who've asked for permission and they've allowed it on a case-by-case basis. He says many church leaders are wrestling with this issue.
Pastor Bacon says the reality of the world we live in is that church is no longer immune from violence - there are security threats.
"Whether it be vandalism, theft or heaven forbid, a terrorist event," said Pastor Bacon. "You cannot be naive today."
To that end, Mount Carmel has a trained security team and contracts with Union Township Police for a uniformed, armed officer during services.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati says congregants with concealed weapons are not allowed to carry guns in their churches. The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati reportedly didn't reveal whether they allow concealed carry, but said they work closely with federal, state and local law enforcement, and the Islamic Association of Cincinnati said the concealed carry issue has never come up, but they do have policies to address potential threats.
One man who assesses Ohio church properties for safety vulnerabilities and builds security plans told WXIX "whether we're talking about San Bernardino or church shootings, they're over within three to seven minutes, so police are a non-factor."
Despite the fact that an online poll being conducted by WXIX is currently running 97% - 3% in FAVOR of allowing parishioners to carry concealed in church, Republicans - who love to campaign on their pro-gun rights virtues and who have been in charge of the entire Ohio General Assembly for ten of the past twelve years since concealed carry became law in Ohio - have defeated all attempts to remove places of worship from the list of "no-guns" victim zones.
Early last year, Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) introduced HB 48, which sought to remove places of worship from the list of "no-guns" victim zones. Before it was allowed a floor vote, however, the Republican-led House State Government committee adopted substitute language which stripped the fix for places of worship from the bill.
How did it get this bad in the Buckeye State, where, once upon a time, state law encouraged citizens to bear arms at church services?
Will it take a church massacre in Ohio before the Republicans controlling the General Assembly do anything about it?
Tell your legislators that places of worship shouldn't be listed among the places where persons with murderous intent can take a gun, having full assurance that their intended victims have been disarmed by Ohio law. One option would be for the Senate to reinsert language correcting Ohio law for concealed carry in places of worship back in to HB 48 in the Senate. Another option would be for the House to pass HB 452, which was recently introduced by Rep. Nino Vitale (R) introduced.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.