CITY: Group walk with loaded guns is allowed

Lorain Morning-Journal
October 10, 2003

LORAIN -- Police were advised by the city's law department yesterday that a Lorain man is within his constitutional rights to organize a self-defense walk later this month at which participants will openly carry loaded firearms, Law Director Mark Provenza said.

Provenza said he met with police Chief Cel Rivera yesterday morning to discuss letters written to the chief by Daniel J. White, who was requesting permission for the walk and directions on how to best carry it out.

White wanted to make sure he would not be violating any city ordinances by conducting the walk, according to the letters.

''This is not going to be a parade or demonstration or anything like that,'' White wrote in an Oct. 6 letter. ''It will simply be a small group of people visiting Lorain while highlighting the fact that current Ohio law allows citizens to carry firearms openly for self-defense purposes.''

Provenza said he told Rivera there is nothing in the Ohio Revised Code or on Lorain's law books that would subject participants in the walk to ''arrest or prosecution'' as long as the weapons were not concealed and the carriers were legally allowed to have a firearm.

White, 29, who works in the inventory department for a local nursery, said he is planning the walk for Oct. 19 and expects between 50 and 75 others -- many who will carry loaded weapons -- to accompany him.

White said there are two reasons for the walk.

''One, is to educate everyone that open carry is allowed in Ohio. A lot of people don't realize that,'' he said.

''The second is to give people a choice. Since the (Ohio) Supreme Court did rule you do have the right to keep and bear arms, would you rather see open carry or the more discreet concealed carry?'' he said.

Concealed carry is illegal in Ohio, but there has been a strong push to make it legal and the state legislature has been hashing out potential laws that would make concealed carry legal but has yet to settle the issue.

A self-defense walk was conducted in Cincinnati earlier this fall, White said, and unlike the sometimes contentious debates between those for guns and those against them, the walk was a placid affair.

''There wasn't a huge reaction,'' White said. ''Most people took it as informative ... there wasn't huge anti-protest, and I don't expect one here.''

Two potential locations for the Lorain walk are Lakeview Park, and a route that would start at the Black River Wharf and travel up and down the Broadway business district, White said.

Provenza said he recommended to Rivera that police accompany the marchers.

''My suggestion was to have a police presence so citizens who observe these guys carrying weapons see a police presence and don't become alarmed,'' Provenza said.

Rivera did not return a call for comment yesterday.

The Lorain Morning Journal was the first Ohio newspaper that printed an editorial praising the recent Supreme Court ruling, which upheld current Ohio law and the ban on carrying a concealed firearm. We wonder if the idea of unrestricted open carry has made them question their excitement over the Court ruling.

To their credit, they are also the first newspaper to print a story on the Cleveland-area 'Defense' Walk.

Organizer Dan White has been in touch with OFCC, and plans to announce his staging area location later today.

Click here to read the story in the Lorain Morning Journal.

Click here to read Lorain Morning Journal's anti-concealed carry editorial.

Click here for the current schedule of "Defense" Walks, directions and contact information, and also for more details on future Walks.

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