Buzz-word: ''Diversity'' definitely present among self-defense rights activists

As we continue to examine the fall-out from two intense weeks of activity in Columbus on HB12, one thing has become readily apparent:

No Supreme Court ruling is necessary to enforce diversity among supporters of concealed carry reform.

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When the news broke of the Senate/Taft plan to severly amend HB12 and pass it out of the Senate in less than 4 hours, it was most interesting to watch reactions across the state.

Anti-self-defense extremists quickly ran to the cameras to whine that Taft was betraying them. Newspapers and television stations delivered stories as if to suggest that concealed carry was a done deal. The Senate Republican caucus issued a press release championing passage of the first-ever concealed carry bill in Ohio to gain gubernatorial approval. And even the Governor's office began to declare victory.

The only interested parties who didn't assume the fight was over, were those who supported passage of the bill in the first place: the NRA, OFCC, and sponsors of the legislation from the House.

Proponents requested, and were granted, 24 hours to review the bill before a floor vote in the Senate. OFCC quickly set about the massive task of dissecting the bill, which had been nearly doubled in size from that which was passed in the House.

Supporters quickly realized that Senator leaders had surrendered to veto-threats from Taft, and had succeeded in taking every ounce of "reform" out of this concealed carry reform bill. The next morning, OFCC issued a press release calling on Senators to return the bill to House-passed language, and in lieu of that, requesting that House Representatives vote NOT to concur with the Senate changes, and send the bill to a conference committee. The Senate passed it's version of the bill.

"Take what we can get?"

In the hours that preceeded a House vote on concurrence, OFCC members and supporters began to weigh in on what they thought the House should do. As the suggestions flowed in via email and on various newsgroups, it quickly became clear that Ohio concealed carry supporters are a diverse group of people!

There was email from members and supporters from all sides - and while most voiced support for the stance OFCC took against the Senate's wreckless amendments, it was the few emails from those who wanted to "take what we can get" from the Senate that stood out.

In their way of thinking, Am. Sub. HB12, with all of it's problems, was better than Ohio law now, and they maintained it was wrong for OFCC to take a "no compromise" position. The irony was a bit of a shock, because in the past, the vocal minority usually focused on what they viewed was an overwillingness of OFCC to compromise.

Purity vs. Safety, Safety vs. Taft

No matter which side those who disagreed with us took, the reply was (and is), essentially the same:

Ohioans For Concealed Carry believes this fight isn't just about the "constitutional question". The bottom line is, this legislation is about saving and protecting innocent lives.

OFCC's steering committee cannot, in good conscience, abdicate our moral responsiblity to support a law which would save lives, even though it's not "pure".

On the other hand, as amended by the Senate (at the demand of Gov. Taft), HB12 will result in MORE loss of life. Criminals will target people with kids in their cars. Negligent discharges will occur because license-holders are required to handle their firearms so frequently. And unless a person has a obtained a restraining order, they will loose ANY ability to avoid arrest and prosecution.

Fortunately, the House agreed and stood tall - voting 94-5 against concurrence in the Senate.

OFCC believes HB12, as it passed the House, is a good compromise - one that can be modified over time to become more "pure" (a condition which currently exists in only 4% of all states (Alaska and Vermont) and effects approximately 0.2% of the nation's population).

To those who are passionate on either side of the debate within the pro-self defense movement, remember this: if you've got passion for this issue, you need to get involved. OFCC is made up of 100% volunteers. We all have families, we all have full-time jobs, and we all shove all of that aside to fight for YOUR rights. There are not enough of us, and we have a laundry list of things that could be done IF ONLY more people were willing to put their words into action.

Help us fight for your rights!

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Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.