Gun Control Extremists Advocate Open Carry?!?
"Ohioans already have the right to carry guns and other weapons openly but not concealed. Anyone who believes he is in danger can holster a pistol on his waist or tote a shotgun around wherever he goes." - Columbus Dispatch anti-CCW editorial, June 22, 2001
Now that more and more citizens across the state have chosen to begin doing just that, the silence about 'Defense' Walks from liberal editorial boards like the Columbus Dispatch has been deafening.
But the Walks haven't stopped the few gun control voices left in our state from sounding off.
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence founder Toby Hoover once again advocated the practice of open carry on a WBGU Bowling Green panel show last week (and contradicted her own September 28 comment in the Toledo Blade: "Ms. Hoover said she and others don’t want people carrying handguns in plain sight or concealing them.")
Ohio's lone voice for the so-called "Million" Mom March is also advocating open carry over concealed carry in a letter to the editor* which is being circulated throughout the state.
The recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling created more problems for these gun control extremists than they first realized. Not only did the Court uphold the fact that citizens have a "fundamental, individual " right to bear arms for their defense and security, but they also highlighted the fact that Ohio's law is already far more liberal than some concealed carry proponents advocate.
Current law, which O'Neill and Hoover express such adoration for, requires no training requirements, background checks, or restrictive "defenseless victim" zones, as would House Bill 12. If you are legally allowed to be in possession of a firearm (i.e. not a felon), state law makes no other requirements for you to carry a firearm openly. Since they're so supportive of this, why do these gun control extremists criticize House Bill 12 for not having enough training, for allowing firearms to be carried in too many places, and for allowing too many people to carry? Their position makes no sense.
The truth is, the O'Neill and Hoover continue to advocate open carry, and to express faux concern for potential victims who wish to exercise their right to bear arms for self-defense, because they know that many cities and municipalities have laws which are in direct conflict with Ohio's Constitution, and the recent Supreme Court ruling. They know that Ohio law regarding the improper transport of fireams restricts potential victims from exercising their self-defense rights in a motor vehicle. Perhaps they even know that carrying openly presents more safety concerns, since most people are not trained in retention techniques to be used if someone tries to gain control of their firearm (such as the handful of anti-gun protestors in Cincinnati did to 'Defense' Walkers there).
As these 'Defense' Walks have progressed, law enforcement agencies across the state have expressed their belief that open carry is far less safe a form of self-defense, but that they are obligated to enforce current law. And as O'Neill and Hoover have yet again pointed out, Ohio's Wild West-style open carry IS the law.
As it turns out, it may not have been so prudent for gun control advocates to declare the Supreme Court ruling a victory. By opposing a concealed carry law, such as 45 other states in our union already have, in favor of open carry, Ohio's gun control extremists are guilty of placing their own political ideology ahead of law enforcement concerns for public safety, something for which they have oft attempted to claim the moral high ground.
Following is an archived version of O'Neill's letter.
WALKS SHOW CONCEALED CARRY IS UNNEEDED
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
EDITORIAL & COMMENT 16A
The "defense walks" that Ohio's gun supporters have staged the past few weekends offer the best proof yet that Ohio's current law banning the carrying of concealed guns works ("Protesters openly carry guns in bid to carry concealed ones,'' Dispatch article, Oct. 13).
Gun proponents are finding that when they strap on their handguns and parade around town, no one bothers them. Isn't that the point of carrying a loaded handgun openly? To prevent others from bothering you? The gun lobby's hope is that these public handgun displays will persuade the General Assembly to pass the stalled bill allowing the concealed carry of handguns.
Supporters of a concealed-carry law claim that their rights to self-protection are compromised by the ban on carrying a hidden gun. But what could be more of a deterrent to violent crime than the sight of a person carrying a gun openly? In case of attack by a violent criminal, an openly carried gun is far more accessible than one that is stuffed in a pocket or purse.
Statements by the gun lobby that carrying openly is uncomfortable or socially unacceptable won't wash. If those in the pro-gun camp genuinely are concerned for their safety, they should be willing to deal with a little disapproval from their fellow citizens.
Any prudent person carrying a loaded handgun should be a little uncomfortable. It represents a risk of instant injury or death. Carrying it concealed doesn't remove that risk; it just hides it from everyone else, which isn't fair to law-abiding citizens who may not want to expose themselves or their children to the potential deadliness of loaded guns. When a gun is carried openly, those around the carrier at least have the choice to remove themselves from the vicinity of the gun. Concealed guns take away that choice.
I hope the gun walks will make concealed-carry proponents more comfortable with their guns, calm their fears of their fellow citizens and finally convince them that they already have a legal way to protect themselves.
LORI A. O'NEILL
Greater Cleveland chapter
Million Mom March