Dayton Daily News asks "Do concealed-carry laws make us safer?"

As part of a series of articles prepared in the run-up to implementation of SB 199 on March 21, journalist Lynn Hulsey of the Dayton Daily News (DDN) has written an article entitled "Do concealed-carry laws make us safer?"

The article begins with this:

Concealed-carry advocates say laws allowing permit-holders to keep guns close at hand serve as a crime deterrent.

Opponents say just the opposite.

So which side is right? While there are strong opinions on both sides on that question, definitive data is lacking to prove either point.

“The numbers are pretty low in how many of (CCW holders) have actually used their concealed weapon to save themselves from a crime,” said Grant Neeley, associate professor and chairman of the political science department at the University of Dayton.

In actuality, since the law was passed in 2004, Buckeye Firearms Association has used media reports to document nearly 100 cases of Ohio concealed handgun licensees (CHLs) using their firearm to protect themselves or someone around them. To be clear, this isn't even a complete list - it's just the cases we know about and that were documented in media reports. So where does Professor Neeley source his claim? Ms. Hulsey doesn't seem to have asked.

Hulsey goes on to quote Jennifer Thorne, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, as saying the only way real data on the subject could be gathered is to make the list of Ohio CHLs public. Hulsey also writes, "Ohio doesn’t even keep a tally of how many people have CCW licenses, though there is data on how many licenses are approved or rejected each year."

In fact, since there is data on how many licenses are approved or rejected each year, it is quite easy to determine the number of how many people have CHLs, and Buckeye Firearms Association has done so for many years. In our coverage of the most recent 2016 annual report, released just last Friday as Hulsey was preparing her series of articles, we reported that there are now over 594,000 total outstanding licenses.

The article continues:

Jim Irvine, chairman of the pro-gun rights Buckeye Firearms Association, argues that private citizens with guns can and do thwart mass shootings.

He cited a 1998 incident in Edinboro, Pa., where student Andrew Jerome Wurst killed a man and wounded three other people before being stopped by a man with a shotgun.

Another incident, in 2014, involved a doctor at Mercy-Fitzgerald Hospital in Delaware County, Pa., who wounded psychiatric patient Richard Plotts after the patient fatally shot his caseworker and injured the doctor.

“Part of the reason you don’t have these huge big killings where a license holder saves the day is because it doesn’t become a huge killing,” Irvine said. “The bottom line is waiting for law enforcement will always result in a higher body count when you look collectively at the stuff.”

But of the eight shootings Irvine cited as examples of armed private citizens intervening, two of the shooters were stopped by police and one by an off-duty police officer, rather than private citizens.

Another example on the Buckeye Firearms Association website is a 2009 robbery of an Akron pizza parlor, and in that case the owner of the business shot and killed an armed intruder.

Since the question posed in the headline of the article is "Do concealed-carry laws make us safer?," one is left to wonder why Hulsey is instead only examining the question of whether or not CHLs can and do thwart mass shootings. We're certain that the people whose lives were protected in the nearly 100 documented acts of self-defense by Ohio CHLs would answer the larger question posed in the headline with a resounding "yes!"

Hulsey goes on to quote from the Violence Policy Center - which she admits supports stronger gun control - as saying 921 people have been killed by concealed-carry permit holders. She notes that number is disputed by gun rights groups, but does not spend any time explaining why.

The reason the VPC number is rubbish is that these gun control extremists have been proven to be counting suicides in their list of the total number of people killed by persons with CCW permits! Furthermore, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center, the VPC also includes cases of permit holders who were convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and causing a death, but there is no evidence that the permit holder was even carrying a concealed handgun at the time of the motor cycle accident, and they certainly didn't use it in causing the death of another. Even worse, the CPRC shows that VPC counts acts of self-defense in their total number killed by licensees.

I am certain Lynn Hulsey could have obtained this information and shared it with DDN readers if she wanted to.

Thankfully, the article concludes with comments from State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, who voted for SB 199, and who is quoted as saying he believes it protects the rights of both gun owners and property owners, as well as from Butler Co. Sheriff Richard K. Jones, who also supports concealed carry. Like the DDN article, I'll close with comment from Sheriff Jones:

“We’re targets. People come up, try to rob you, try to shoot you,” Jones said. “So why wouldn’t you have the right to defend yourself?”

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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