Governor Strickland calls for Task Force on Campus Security

By Chad D. Baus

In the wake of the massacre of 32 defenseless students on the 'gun free' campus of Virginia Tech, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D) has called for a review of safety issues on Ohio's college campuses.

Though Strickland himself has a pristine record of voting to protect our Second Amendment rights, the person he selected to establish a Task Force on Campus Security is anything but pro-self-defense.

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From the press release:

    “We have a responsibility to Ohio students, their families and our communities to use the tragic events at Virginia Tech as an opportunity to reexamine campus safety issues in Ohio,” Strickland said. “This task force will begin a discussion across institutions, and make sure that state government is offering the maximum amount of support to the schools as well as coordinating with local efforts.”

    [Board of Regents Chancellor Eric] Fingerhut will ask all public colleges and universities, as well as independent institutions that wish to participate, to designate a representative to the task force. While the work of the task force will evolve throughout the process, the discussion will begin with communication and response planning to violent events, as well as the role of campus administrators and public safety officers in such situations.

    “There is no doubt that our colleges and universities have and continue to put forth every effort to ensure a safe environment for students,” Fingerhut said. “This task force will work to enhance those efforts and ensure adequate preparation and support for any unexpected and emergency situations on campus.”

    Ohio's task force will study campus safety plans in place at colleges and universities, with some focus on the role of campus administrators and public safety officers and their response to violent situations. Representatives from public and private institutions are expected to take part.

When one considers former state senator Eric Fingerhut's history as the former president of the Cleveland-based Handgun Control Federation, it is almost impossible to imagine that this Task Force will address the real issue that needs to be considered in any discussion about campus security plans: The State-Mandated Defenselessness of Students and Faculty on Campuses.

During his 27-day candidacy for governor against Ted Strickland, Fingerhut criticized Strickland’s support for gun rights. From a Columbus Dispatch story covering Fingerhut's first campaign press conference:

    Referring to the...NRA agenda, Fingerhut said, "I don’t think that’s what the people of Ohio want, and I definitely don’t think that’s what voters in a Democratic primary want."

This was far from the first time Fingerhut was wrong about his fellow Ohio citizens.

On the day the Buckeye State's concealed carry bill passed into law, Fingerhut told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that "it's going to lead to tragedies and accidents of all kinds." And in 2001, he told the Cincinnati Post that "the presence of a gun is actually likely to escalate violence."

Eric Fingerhut could not have been more wrong about Ohio's concealed carry law, and he is definitely not a person who will be open to considering the question that has become the centerpoint of debate after the Virginia Tech massacre - how rendering our students defenseless via gun bans allows psychopaths to successfully target schools and campuses.

During the campaign, Governor Strickland assured gun owners that having gun ban extremists like Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (former Handgun Control Inc. board member) on the ticket would not effect his administration's pro-gun policies. How this Task Force handles questions on campus safety in the wake of the VT massacre will certainly provide insight into whether or not the governor will be able to pull it off.

No matter what happens with the Task Force, however, the focus for solving the campus victim zone crisis in our state should not, at the end of the day, fall to Ted Strickland. It was a Republican-controlled General Assembly and a Republican governor that established Ohio's long list of 'gun-free' victim zones. Ultimately, the inability for Ohio's college students and primary school and college faculty to defend themselves from psychopaths like the VT shooter is a Republican problem, and one that deserves the urgent attention of the General Assembly.

And while Buckeye Firearms Association would love
to be talking to Republican leaders solely about Ohio's students being defenseless, Ohio has even more fundamental problems, such as not even
being able to transport an unloaded handgun in a car
- something the Senate has previously refused to fix.

There is a drastic need for improvement in Ohio's gun laws, and the time is now.

UPDATE: Strickland says Virginia case raises questions about mental health care

    While [Governor Ted] Strickland believes dangerous mentally disturbed people should not have access to guns, he does not believe the Virginia Tech case means Ohio's gun laws need strengthened. Not everyone with mental issues is dangerous, he said.

    The state has no waiting period to buy guns, but a background check through the FBI is required and guns cannot be sold to certain people, said John Fulkerson, section chief for Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann.

    Licensed gun dealers are prohibited from selling guns to persons who have felony, stalking or domestic violence convictions; have received dishonorable discharges; are fugitives, noncitizens, or drug addicts or who have been committed by a court to a mental institution.

Related Story:
[Tennessee] House vote permits guns in more places
A House panel voted Wednesday to repeal a state law that forbids the carrying of handguns on property and buildings owned by state, county and city governments...

"I think the recent Virginia disaster - or catastrophe or nightmare or whatever you want to call it - has woken up a lot of people to the need for having guns available to law-abiding citizens," said Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains. "I hope that is what this vote reflects."

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