Another Ohio police chief who opposed passage of concealed carry in 2004 admits his concerns were "without basis"

by Chad D. Baus

During the fight to pass concealed carry reform in Ohio, raging a decade ago, the list of people offering warning that the sky would fall if we passed a CCW law was long and varied. While I and other pro-gun advocates often pointed out that the successful experience in other states should be an easy answer to all of the "what ifs" and Chicken Little warnings being tossed about, it often seemed as though opponents thought Ohioans were somehow less responsible than residents of bordering states.

In those days, reporters had no problems finding law enforcement officers (usually unelected bureaucrats, rather than rank and file officers or elected sheriffs) who opposed the law, and often made wild claims about the "Wild Wild West" culture that would result if citizens were allowed to carry concealed firearms. In response, pro-gun activists like myself would respond with quotes from law enforcement officers in other states, many of whom had also opposed attempts to pass similar laws in their states, but who had since admitted that the laws were working well. We also made a prediction: the same thing will happen in Ohio once we pass the law here.

Unlike the predictions made by opponents, our predictions came true. There have not been problems with the law, and even formerly skeptical (to put it mildly) law enforcement officers are now admitting that it has worked.

From a Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum article entitled "Concealed carry a success in county":

The concealed carry law in Ohio passed in 2004. Eight years later, more than 250,000 Ohioans have permits to carry a loaded weapon in public.

"I can see both sides of the issue," Bucyrus Police Chief Ken Teets said. "We have had very few complaints regarding those with permits. For the most part I would call it a success."

When the law first passed, Teets and Crawford County Sheriff Ron Shawber were outspoken, one against the law, and one for it.

"I was concerned people with no valid reason for having the permit would carry guns with them all the time," Teets said. "As it turns out, that concern was without basis. We have had almost no trouble in law enforcement. Really, I didn't see that we could say no to people that were just business owners trying to protect their stores."

Shawber, who will retire this year, supported the measure.

"It was a better way to make sure the legislation had in it what we wanted," Shawber said. "How can we be opposed to John Q. Citizen who wants to have a gun to protect his home?

"If he or she can meet all the requirements, how can we say we don't trust them?"

Later in the article, the Chief Teets reveals that he has learned something advocates of the concealed carry law argued day in and day out before the law was passed.

"I still contend that the criminal element that has guns and carries them are going to do it whether a permit makes it legal or not," Teets said.

The article goes on to provide quotes from a local instructor who says he is seeing a rise in the amount of people taking the concealed carry course.

As 2012 plays out, there will be more hearings and debate on pro-gun legislation, including HB495 (Reciprocity & Concealed Carry Modernization). Opponents will once again be quoted by the media, making the same old warnings about what will happen if the latest modifications become law. But legislators have absolutely NO excuse for giving those concerns any merit. They were wrong on concealed carry. They were wrong on statewide preemption. They were wrong on Castle Doctrine. They were wrong on restaurant carry.

They were wrong, they are wrong, and they will be proven wrong again and again in the future. Thankfully, some of them, including Chief Teets, are willing to admit it.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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