Dayton RTA psgr. shoots self in leg; exposes media access loophole folly

On January 17, the Dayton Daily News reported that a woman accidentally shot herself while riding a Greater Dayton RTA bus.

According to the story, dispatchers received the call of the shooting at Main Street and Siebenthaler Avenue at 8:51 p.m. January 16. The report indicated that the woman was "bleeding badly." The DDN stated that medics responded and the woman was treated for her injury, but that additional information was not available.

What is interesting about this report is what it does NOT say - the questions the DDN did NOT ask (or at least did not provide the answers to):

  1. Did this woman have a Concealed Handgun License?


  1. Why didn't the Greater Dayton Regional Transportation Authority's (GDRTA) illegal ban on licensed concealed carry deter this woman from carrying on the bus?

When the CHL-records "media access loophole" was created, Bob Taft's office joined the Ohio Newspaper Association in suggesting it was necessary to ensure that licenses were not being given out to the "wrong people", thus promoting the false idea that allowing law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms for self-defense was a disaster waiting to happen.

Even IF we accept the premise that Ohio sheriffs cannot be trusted enough to issue licenses only to qualified individuals (and we do not), this DDN story proves the media access loophole is not being used as its proponents claimed it would be.

Otherwise, the DDN would have checked on this woman's CHL status, and reported it to the public. If Ohioans deserve to know whether or not the state's CHL law is being abused, they certainly also deserve to know that "no-guns" signs cannot protect them from unlicensed individuals and criminals bringing guns into "no-guns" zones.

Larry Moore, OFCC's Senate District 10 Coordinator, decided to do the DDN's job for them, and the answers to these two questions may provide deep insight as to why the anti-CCW Dayton Daily News did not report them.

Moore's report to OFCC is detailed as follows:

  1. ----- Original Message -----
    Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 09:35:23 -0500
    From: "Moore, Larry"
    Subject: Dayton RTA Woman Shoots Herself

    I spoke with Det. Bilinski. He was on his way out to a 9:30 meeting but I got a
    couple of questions answered. He did not have the woman's name in front of him.

    No charges were filed against the woman.

    She does not have a CHL and Bilinski was not sure if she has the Dayton Gun
    Owners Card or not. He thought that was in the report but was not sure if they
    even checked for Dayton gun owners card.

    Woman had no prior offenses, which is why she was not charged with anything. She is
    being referred into a diversion program because of no previous record and
    non-violent offense. Basically it is probation for 1 year. If there are no other arrests
    or problems, then this is off her record.

    Wound was minor. No mention of damage to the bus.

    Bilinski did not know if the Dayton RTA busses are posted or not. His comment
    was "but if they are not they certainly should be. You don't want a bunch of
    people carrying guns on the bus." Then he added that he is not sure if you
    have a CHL if you can carry on the busses or not. His definition of posting
    and mine are not the same.

    Neither he or I had time for the obvious comment that apparently they are
    carrying them now - and doing so without fear or problems if you are caught.

    So what I can conclude with this is:

  2. I can carry on the Dayton RTA busses whether it is posted or not.
  3. If I get caught, then I get one "get out of jail do not pass go" free card!
  4. Dayton Gun Owners Card is a joke that apparently the police do not check out
    and file charges against this. Must be another form of taxation because it is
    not making anyone more safe.

Of course, Moore's observations about his "lessons-learned" are tongue-in-cheek. But there truly are lessons that can be learned from this incident.

Even before this incident, and after learning of crime problems at GDRTA bus stops, OFCC recently sent an inquiry to the GDRTA to determine its policy toward licensed CHL-holders. It took more than a week to obtain this short answer:

  1. ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Dean, Carolyn" Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2004
    Subject: RE: Concealed carry?

    Currently. we comply with Ohio Revised Code. We prohibit concealed weapons on all RTA properties.

As Ohio CHL-holders are well aware, Ohio Revised Code prohibits concealed carry in buildings owned by the state or a political subdivision (such as the GDRTA).

However, the ORC does NOT prohibit license-holders on property outside the building itself, nor does it prohibit license-holders from traveling on city busses. Policies or signs posted to the contrary are a violation of the intent of the General Assembly, and put innocent people at risk.

The following political subdivisions in Ohio are subverting the will of the General Assembly in their efforts to ban CHL-holders from city busses:

  • SARTA public transportation service, Canton
  • CGRTA public transportation service, Cleveland
  • COTA public transportation service, Columbus
  • GDRTA public transportation service, Dayton
  • LAKETRAN public transportation service, Grand River
  • TARTA public transport service, Toledo
  • WRTA public transport service, Youngstown(Meanwhile, in Texas, the Houston Metro board has just unanimously approved a policy change which removes a section of a 1995 regulation that stated no exception to the authority's weapons ban was provided for concealed-handgun license holders.)

    So just how long will these anti-gun forces be allowed to continue to promote a lack of trust in the ability of Ohio sheriffs to do their jobs in weeding out prohibited applicants as an excuse to violate the privacy of thousands of CHL-holders?

    And why then, do Cleveland Plain Dealer editors, led by Doug Clifton, continue to operate on the premise that CHL-holders are dangerous individuals worthy of suspicion? Why has Clifton just acted, for a fourth time, to publish the names of law-abiding citizens?

    Rep. James Aslanides (R-Coshocton), the concealed carry bill's original sponsor, said in conference committee and during a short floor speech in January that he would lead an effort to roll back the media access if the "privilege" is abused.

    "If they abuse the privilege, we can cause them to lose the privilege," he declared, pointing out that the Pennsylvania Legislature struck a similar provision after a newspaper published a list of permit holders.

    1. Aslanides can be reached at:
      Telephone: (614) 644-6014
      Fax: (614) 644-9494
      Email Address: [email protected]

    Sen. Steve Austria seconded this warning, adding that publishing the names of license-holders would be the exact kind of abuse they're referring to, since publishing these names would threaten the safety of the very men and women who have chosen to bear arms for self-defense.

    1. Austria can be reached at:
      Telephone: 614-466-3780
      [email protected]

    "I don't think we need to worry about journalists doing their job," state Sen. Marc Dann, a Youngstown area Democrat, told Mr. Aslanides.

    1. Dann can be reached at:
      Telephone: 614-466-7182
      [email protected]

    Rep. Aslanides has already expressed interest in modifying the law to correct this abuse. Sens. Austria and Dann have not, as far as we are aware, provided public comment in the wake of these newspapers' actions. All three men were reelected in November 2004.

    It is time, honorable legislators - it is past time.

    Related Story: Attorney General: Cities cannot legally ban in parks/ on busses

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