Column: The logic behind concealed weapon proposal eludes me

On April 10, Columbus community newspaper ThisWeek published an editorial opposing the reformation of concealed carry laws in Ohio, entitled "The logic behind concealed weapon proposal eludes me".

Logic isn't the only thing that eludes the author, a Mr. Vince Dunbar. Truth and fact seem to stray far afield as well.

UPDATE! OFCC President Jeff Garvas submitted a response, which was published in the April 18 edition of ThisWeek. The entire response has been archived, and can be accessed by clicking on the "Read More..." link below.

Click here to read Dunbar's full column in ThisWeek.

Click here to read Garvas' response in ThisWeek, along with a letter from another pro-CCW reader.

Research called weak in concealed carry column

To the editors:

I am literally amazed at the lack of research and factual content in Vince Dunbar's April 10 column, "The logic behind concealed weapon proposals eludes me."

Maybe if Dunbar knew more about this issue, common sense would not elude him so easily. His ignorance of even the basic, undisputable facts behind this legislation, displayed in his column's introduction, should provide ample concern for the rest of his "research."

Mr. Dunbar displays his ignorance about concealed carry reform in Ohio when he states that the bill "died in committee...about a year ago." The fact is, House Bill 274 was passed by both General Assembly committees which considered it, and on the floor by both legislative branches, (most recently in December by the Ohio Senate, just four months ago). The bill didn't "die in committee" -- it died because the Ohio House had adjourned for the session and refused to come back and deal with changes made by the Ohio Senate.

He again gets it wrong when he states Gov. Bob Taft reasoned "if most police and sheriff's organizations are against this bill, it can't be a good idea." Taft won't talk about the state's sheriffs, because the fact is, the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association (the only elected law enforcement body in the State of Ohio) not only endorses the legislation, they contributed vital language to House Bill 12 and would be in charge of the investigative and distribution process. Many small town and suburban police chiefs are outspoken in favor of this legislation because they are not controlled by the politics of big city mayors or Gov. Taft. Our organization has collected the petition signatures of literally thousands of Ohio police officers who support concealed carry reform.

Mr. Dunbar raises two basic objections to concealed carry reform:

1) Amendments he disagrees with in the U.S. Constitution are dismissed as "out of date" and "irrelevant."

Perhaps Mr. Dunbar would feel otherwise if we said the same of the First Amendment? Since he doesn't know the meaning of "shall not be infringed," maybe Ohio's Constitution will be easier for him to comprehend. Article I, Section 4, (our state bill of rights): "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security." That's been clear enough for three courts and five judges in the past year, so one wonders about his difficulty in understanding.

2) Lawmakers are looking to "drag the proposal out again" because there is "a lot of war-inspired flag-waving and patriotism in the air."

It strikes me as odd that he said the legislature is "threatening to introduce" the bill, when in fact it was introduced on January 28, 2003 and passed the Ohio House by a 68 to 28 veto-proof majority on March 12, 2003. Is he so out of touch with this issue that he really thinks the bill hasn't been introduced, much less passed the Ohio House by a veto-proof majority?

The truth about the urgency felt by the General Assembly is directly related to the "Klein et. al vs Leis et. al" lawsuit (for which our organization is a funding co-plaintiff), in which two Hamilton County courts ruled Ohio's laws prohibiting possession of a firearm by a law-abiding citizen violate numerous Constitutional and civil rights, including equal protection, due process and the right to carry a firearm for self-defense. Less than four weeks after legislative leadership in both branches announced that CCW reform was not a pressing matter, they reversed course, introduced bills and scheduled hearings.

Mr. Dunbar thinks the war on terror caused this action. But the fact is, the move came on the heels of the Ohio Supreme Court's unexpected agreement to hear the State's appeal on April 15, 2003, a move which put the General Assembly on immediate notice. His lengthy column, published five days before the hearing, never mentions this case -- was he unaware of it, or did he ignore it because it didn't help his argument? If the legislature does nothing and the court strikes the law down, I suspect his next column will be filled with blame for the legislature not acting sooner.

If we can't trust Mr. Dunbar to tell the truth about these simple facts about activities at the Statehouse and Ohio Supreme Court, what can be said about all of the statistical data he provides to back up his opinion? Simply put, none of it is relevant.

For instance, the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) is misappropriating its funding for disease-related causes to further anti-gun "medical" studies. The anti-gun lobby has worked hard in recent years to try to convince the public that their gun control effort is a "health" epidemic. Is it any surprise that further data was attributed to Physicians for Social Responsibility and the New England Journal of Medicine?

One need only follow the money funding these studies and the researchers involved. Even Handgun Control Inc. abandoned the misleading study that suggested a handgun in your home is "43 times more likely to kill a member of the household," when it was revealed the study was based on just three urban counties and included people shot in drug deals gone bad.

On one point we do agree. Mr. Dunbar states that "one need look no further than countries with tighter gun control laws than our own." The U.N. Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute reveals that people in England and Wales (where nearly all guns have been made illegal) experience more crime per head than people in the 17 other developed countries analyzed in the survey. And "contact crime," defined as robbery, sexual assault and assault with force, was second highest in England and Wales -- 3.6 per cent of those surveyed. This compares with 1.9 per cent in the U.S.

His fears about "not knowing who does and does not have a gun" aside, what is never made clear by those vehemently opposed to concealed carry reform is the truth: Forty-four states, including every state surrounding Ohio, allow some form of concealed carry. In most of those states, the same pattern of law enforcement resistance was met and defeated by cooler minds in the legislature. Those law enforcement officers (and media) who predict the same "blood in the streets" Dunbar eludes to are later quoted eating their words and admitting the system works.

Clearly, Mr. Dunbar doesn't know the first thing about concealed carry reform in the State of Ohio or the rest of America. Readers interested in learning more about this issue can do so by reading about the legislation and the litigation on our Web site:

Jeff Garvas, President

Ohioans For Concealed Carry

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


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.