Narrative: Anti-gunners seek safety; pro-gunners care only about rights. Wrong!

Far too often when a media outlet reports on "gun violence," the undertone in the article favors the viewpoint of gun grabbers, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

It's the same basic premise in most news stories: A shooting somewhere prompts anti-gun legislators to pass "commonsense gun control," but pro-gun lawmakers are simply not interested in passing "gun safety" reform because, well, rights are more important than safety.

The authors often even cite the misleading statistics promulgated by Everytown for Gun Safety or Brady United — both staunch gun-grabbing organizations.

Such was the case again with a story about House Bill 433, the ban on so-called "mass casualty weapons" that, if passed, would result in making nearly all semi-automatic handguns and rifles illegal in Ohio. Fortunately, that bill likely will go nowhere. Another recent example was a story on passing "safe storage" laws.

Speaking of legislation: BFA testifies in favor of SB 32, Sen. Shaffer's bill to provide civil immunity

What's getting in the way? According to the typical narrative, it's extremism. What they're saying, of course, is that we gun-rights advocates are installing too many pro-gun extremist Ohio legislators who put rights above safety and cater to the evil gun lobby.

Real story: Gun-rights advocates promote true safety

Let's set the record straight. Yes, Buckeye Firearms Association as a gun-rights organization cares about Ohioans' Second Amendment rights, which also are spelled out in the Ohio Constitution, by the way.

But we're not only about rights. In addition to being a source of education, we also sincerely believe that law-abiding citizens' access to firearms is essential to safety — for the individual, for the family, and for children.

Take gun-free zones, for example. As has been pointed out repeatedly by Crime Prevention Research Center — an organization that provides verifiable data but gets overlooked because it goes against the gun-control grain — gun-free zones are not safe. In fact, they are very dangerous.

"Given that people are allowed to carry their permitted concealed handguns in the vast majority of public places, if these mass public shootings were random, 95% or higher of these attacks would take place in areas where permitted concealed handguns were allowed. Instead, the reverse is true, with 94% of those attacks taking place where general citizens are banned from having guns," CPRC posted in a March 2024 article. "At some point, it would seem obvious that these attacks aren’t random."

Shooters have openly shared their desire to target locations where nobody is there with a gun to stop them.

Moreover, according to CPRC:

"Despite teachers carrying guns in schools in 20 states, all the shooting attacks at schools have occurred in schools that ban teachers from having guns."

Red-flag laws and universal background checks also are mischaracterized as paths to safer communities, but we'll dive into those fallacies some other time.

Yet it continues to be the anti-gun zealots, the real extremists, who insist on pushing laws and ordinances that would do nothing to actually curb violent crime but would merely punish law-abiding gun owners.

Meanwhile, violent crime in their own communities continues to soar, even among teens.

Nikki Goeser is the executive director of CPRC and author of “Stalked And Defenseless: How Gun Control Helped My Stalker Murder My Husband in Front of Me.”

Goeser has described how her husband, Ben, was murdered by a man who had stalked her, even writing disturbing "love letters" from prison.

The night Ben was murdered, Goeser's legal firearm was locked in a car because the couple were in a gun-free zone. She and Ben were left defenseless and disarmed, and the result was fatal.

It is time to be more honest with the narrative and identify the real safety seekers in the debate. It isn't that anti-gun "champions" are fighting for safe communities and pro-gun zealots are stopping them. It's that the measures those gun-grabbing extremists are peddling actually do more harm than good, and they know their target is the law-abiding gun owner. Simply put, they are engaging in virtue signaling.

Having spent 28 years in a newsroom here in Ohio, taking an unbiased approach to hot-button topics was always very important to me as an editor because our news organization's credibility counted on it. It's a simple principle: Journalists should be more attuned to unbiased facts and less focused on an ideological narrative. That is objective journalism.

Joe D. "Buck" Ruth is a longtime small-game hunter and gun owner who spent nearly 30 years in the news industry.

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