Bad law forces honorable citizens to disobey in name of self-defense

I am a licensed independent social worker in the domestic violence field in Cleveland. I have worked with domestic violence perpetrators for six years. Many of them possessed guns when they were under court order not to do so. Many violated the protection orders that commanded them to have no contact with their victim. Other clients came from the Ohio Adult Parole Authority; paroled murderers, rapists, and those convicted of other violent crimes.

Our building in a Cleveland neighborhood, and there is a day-care on the first floor of our building. Our domestic violence agency is on the second floor. To enter the day-care a person must identify themselves and be buzzed in. On the other hand, anyone can walk right into our domestic violence agency and, within seconds, be right in our office. We have no security despite the fact that we work with violent offenders.

Sometimes these men become angry with us because of the letters we send to their parole officers when they don't comply with treatment. Some have been returned to prison after our recommendations to the parole officer. One returned to threaten us when he was released. He walked right up to my colleague and got in her face. This caused some panic in our office. Calling the Cleveland Police would have been of no use to save us, by that time.

I didn't panic because I always carry a loaded handgun in my briefcase. It never leaves my sight. I may never need to use it, but I have greater peace of mind because it is close at hand. I consider myself a non-violent person, but I would defend myself with whatever force was necessary. Of course, I have not told my colleagues about my being armed because some of them have strange ideas about people who own guns.

I recently attended the "Two Days in May" victim advocates conference in Columbus (5/12, 5/13). I asked some female law enforcement officers at the conference if they supported CCW (it was fairly easy to identify the female law enforcement officers. They were the only ones carrying unconcealed firearms. Holstered gun and badge were in plain view.). They unanimously supported a citizen's right to carry a concealed weapon.

Here's another anecodete from my workplace: One of my female colleagues asked me if I thought she would get in trouble if she obtained a handgun and carried it with her when going to and from our office because of her concerns about safety in our office's neighborhood. She wanted to ask the executive director if there was a policy against it. I told her that there probably was such a policy and that she shouldn't draw attention to herself by asking. I told her that she could obtain a gun and learn to shoot and handle it safely. Then she could carry it in her purse or briefcase and not tell anyone. Nobody would search her purse or even suspect. I mentioned nothing of the gun that was in the briefcase I was holding as we spoke.

I really hope HB 12 passes. It will make us legal.

OFCC PAC Commentary:
Why must law-abiding citizens continue be forced to risk felony arrest and prosecution in order to defend themselves? Why must they be forced to risk their reputations and careers?

Every day that Ohio's Republican leadership waits to pass concealed carry reform increases the defenseless victim list in our state, and forces otherwise law-abiding citizens into making a choice between facing felony arrest or being unable to defend themselves. This simply should not be.

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