Gun-rights advocate plans march

Elyria Chronicle-Telegram
October 10, 2003

LORAIN — Daniel White wants to bring his disdain for the state’s longtime ban on carrying concealed weapons out into the open for everyone to see.

The 29-year-old employee of Willoway Nursery is gathering together gun-rights advocates from around Greater Cleveland for a march through town later this month, and their weapons will be visible.

“We want to do two things: Make sure people are aware that open carrying is legal in Ohio, and to bring attention to the fact that open carry is more visible than carrying a concealed weapon,” White said. “The only question that remains is, do you want them to be open or to be concealed?”

White has been in contact with city and police officials this week, trying to iron out a proper venue for the “self-defense walk,” during which participants will carry their guns in holsters.

Most of the participants in a similar march held last week in Cincinnati were members of Cleveland-based Ohioans for Concealed Carry, White said, but the fledgling organization* isn’t organizing the events.

Chad Baus, spokesperson for Ohioans for Concealed Carry, said walks in Columbus, Lima and Dayton are taking place this weekend.

White said the Lorain event is tentatively set for 1 p.m. Oct. 19, and he would like the march to be centered around either Lakeview Park, the downtown area or both. He said he hoped to have a firm time and place by today and expects just a handful of like-minded individuals to take part.

Law Director Mark Provenza said carrying a weapon — registered or not — in plain sight is legal, though other laws, such as inducing panic or menacing, could be broken if White hadn’t fully informed the city of his plans.

County Prosecutor Jeff Manning said the march is embracing a legal and protected right of all Americans.

“You can strap on a gun and walk down Broadway, and there’s no law against it,” Manning said. “In fact, it’s constitutionally protected.”

Still, Manning said, it’s a right most people don’t exercise any more.

“I think our society has advanced beyond that,” he said. “The Wild West mentality is gone. It’s gone to the extent that people don’t even realize that the right exists.”

In his letter to police Chief Cel Rivera, White wrote, “As was the case (in Cincinnati), this is not going to be a parade or demonstration or anything like that. It will simply be a small group of people visiting Lorain while highlighting the fact that current Ohio law allows citizens to carry firearms openly for self-defense purposes.”
Lorain police Lt. Robert Poli said White hasn’t been completely clear on the scope of the event.

“He’s saying it’s going to be him and a few of his friends, but so far we don’t know what that means,” he said. “If it’s five or six people, there’s no need for notification or a permit, but if he plans to bring 500 or 600 people, they’re going to have get something formal.”

Lori O’Neill, a local gun-control advocate for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said she doesn’t think gun enthusiasts carry their neighbor’s best interests in mind.

“They have the right to assemble, they have the right to carry their weapons openly, and we appreciate their civic concern for others,” she said with sarcasm.
Mayor Craig Foltin said his usual support of the right to bear arms has been tested.
“Even though I’m for gun rights, I have to consider what’s best for our safety forces,” Foltin said.

We doubt the Chronicle Telegram would refer to the 'Million' Mom March (of which Lori O'Neill is Cleveland chapter president) as fledgling, even though OFCC has been around longer that the Moms have. Still, we're thankful the Chronicle Telegram broke this story. Dan White hadn't planned on making it public until later today!

Organizer Dan White knows EXACTLY why the Lorain police department is still unclear about White's plans - they have been refusing to talk to him for nearly a week! After reading the story, Dan asked "how can I be clear OR unclear if there is no dialogue?"

Lorain law enforcement has absolutely NOTHING to fear. We hope they'll contact the Cincinnati Police department about the success of Vernon Ferrier's Walk there last week.

We'd also suggest they call Gahanna Chief Murphy about this weekend's upcoming Columbus-area walk. Murphy told Columbus ThisWeek the organizers "are probably one of the most polite groups we've ever worked with. They want to make their statement, but they don't want to cause any concern in the community."

Or they could call Allen County Sheriff Dan Beck, who not only supports the Lima 'Defense' Walk, he plans to participate in it! Several officials in Xenia may do the same.

Click here to read the story in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.

Click here for the current schedule of "Defense" Walks, directions and contact information, and also for more details on future Walks.

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