Crain's Cleveland Business Editorial: ''Shoot it Down''

On March 24, Crain's Cleveland Business published an editorial opposing the reformation of concealed carry laws in Ohio. This editorial bore striking similarity to a letter printed in multiple Ohio papers over the past three weeks, written by Lori O'Neill, president of the "Million" Mom March chapter of greater Cleveland.

In the editorial, Crain's editors admitted that they were a bit "far afield" when they decided to take a position on HB12. We hope that, in the future, Crain's would better research the facts before offering businesses advice on matters outside their realm of expertise. Echoing a one-sided letter to the editor from an anti-gun activist did not serve Crain's subscribers in the professional manner they are accustomed to.

OFCC has submitted a response, and we hope Crain's will be good enough to publish. The piece will be published on this website after Crain's has had adequate time to make use of it.

Click on the "Read More..." link below to read the entire editorial.

March 24, 2003

It may seem far afield for a business newspaper to take a stance on a bill that would allow Ohioans with permits to carry concealed handguns. However, we're voicing our opposition to the legislation because we believe most businesses haven't considered the potential negative - and, in the ultimate, deadly - consequences posed by the measure to people in the workplace.

Given concerns expressed in recent years about growing instances of workplace violence, we're surprised by the muted response of business interest groups to the so-called concealed carry legislation. Perhaps employers in office or factory settings haven't envisioned how unsettling it could be for their employees to know that one of their co-workers routinely carries a piece. Maybe retailers haven't recognized that customers could be strolling their store aisles with pistols on their persons. Supporters of House Bill 12, the concealed carry measure already passed overwhelmingly by the Ohio House, would point out that nothing in the legislation negates or restricts rules imposed by private employers that prohibit the presence of handguns on their premises. But the bill also tacitly acknowledges the potential for violence created the measure by including a provision that states: "A private employer shall be immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly was caused by or related to a licensee bringing a handgun onto the premises or property of the private employer..." That provision would be small consolation to employers of workers traumatized by a gun-wielding customer or co-worker.

In a society where road rage is the rage and upset golfers have used their clubs to cave in the heads of other players while engaged in a "friendly game" on the links, it makes little sense to create circumstances where otherwise law-abiding citizens could be tempted to act on their anger by whipping out a gun. Law enforcement organizations surely don't see the benefit of the legislation; most don't favor it.

The momentum behind the bill is fascinating, considering lawmakers could better spend their time and energy toward addressing the state's budget woes. Yes, we're aware that two court rulings have declared unconstitutional Ohio's longtime ban against carrying a concealed weapon. But the state Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the matter, and besides, since when has the Legislature let a court dictate its actions? (See school financing case.)

The House already has spoken on the concealed carry matter. The state Senate next will consider the legislation, which now sits in committee. We would urge senators to shoot down the measure, and for Gov. Bob Taft to follow through on his vow to veto the measure if it gets as far as his desk.

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