HB347: More Featured Testimony from 1st Proponent Hearing

There were many excellent witnesses who offered comments in favor of HB347 last Tuesday. We've already featured Attorney Ken Hanson's revealing testimony.

On the eve of a second proponent hearing we would like to feature some of the other compelling testimony from witnesses who came to address key concerns that are addressed in HB347.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for testimony from Doug Stanton, Linda Walker, Paul Werbicky and Steve [Last Name Redacted].

Unless otherwise noted, the following testimony was presented to members of the House Committee on Criminal Justice in oral form on January 10, 2006.

Doug Stanton:

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and gentlemen:

My name is Doug Stanton. I would like to thank-you for the opportunity to testify before
you this day on this very important subject.

November 19, 1995, 10:05 pm. Jerry Francis Hessler culminated fifteen years of stalking
my family with a hail of 11 bullets into my home while my wife and 4 children hugged
the floor. Six others had met up with Hessler that night, four were murdered in cold
blood, the other two wounded. My family survived because of our prior preparation,
having a gun, the training to use it, and especially by the grace of God. What we were
not prepared for was the behavior of the news people. I will refer to them simply as the
press, although, the paparazzi comes to mind.

I was contacted by the local newspaper, the Ashland Times Gazette. The individual
stated he wanted my picture to put on the front page next to Hessler’s. When I refused,
he stated that if he didn’t have my picture, then he would put a detailed map to my home
on the front page.

The result of my refusal was a detailed map to my house placed on both the front page of
the local paper and on a web site. The ensuing media frenzy was at the very least
unprofessional. My family and I had to stay at a friend’s house to avoid the press. We
were told by neighbors that over 20 news groups visited them. This does not include the
crackpots, gawkers and the curious who followed the map to look and see.

When my wife and I released a statement to the press, we were rewarded with WBNS-10-
TV misquoting it so out of context, it barely resembled what it had originally stated. Of
over two hundred stories about us that were in newspapers, on TV and on the radio, only
one was totally factual. One story, much to the horror of my friends and family, even
reported me as dead.

The United States Bill of Rights guarantees Freedom of the Press as it does the freedom
of Speech. With these rights also comes a responsibility and stewardship. The founding
fathers never saw our rights as without bounds. You may not yell fire in a crowded
theater in the name of freedom of speech. The press should not be allowed to lie, libel, or
put people in harms way in the name of freedom of the press. It is the job of citizens to
require of their elected representatives to correct unjust, unfair and dangerous laws. That
is why I am here today. Many of us believe the press is out of control. To them facts
don’t seem to matter, people suffering matters to them only if it gets them ratings. They
don’t seem to care who they hurt. Their irresponsible actions of the last week with the
mine tragedy speak so loudly, it is difficult to believe anything they say. They seem to
consider their rights more important than all others. It is time to rein them in. They have
failed in their stewardship. A good first step is to stop the press’s access to Concealed
Handgun License records before they get anyone else killed. I ask that you pass HB347.


Linda Walker:

Good afternoon Chairman Latta and Representatives. I am Linda Walker from Pataskala. I am a Life member of the NRA, a supporter of Buckeye Firearms Association, and a proud CHL holder for the past 21 months. My testimony today is solely my own. I speak today in support of HB347 as both a Realtor and a woman working and living in central Ohio.

As a Realtor, quite often I find the need to put clients in my car to drive them to several homes or locations for showings. With the “plain sight” clause in the current law, this puts me in a very precarious position of how to handle this situation. Do I disclose to them that I am a licensed CHL holder in the State of Ohio, forcing me to explain the law to them? Do I comply with the law and hope that they do not see my weapon? Do I risk losing part of my lively hood by being forced to have this conversation with people whom I don’t know what their stance is on firearms and concealed carry?

Recently, I had clients who did not ride with me, but followed me to homes. While viewing a particular home, they made very negative comments about the guns that were in one of the homes. Had they been riding with me in my car, most certainly I would have lost them as clients because of their negative reactions to guns. This should never be forced upon me with the current law being what it is, to ever lose a sale because of the plain sight provision.

If I had someone in my car who has criminal intent against me, there again I have lost my advantage of having a concealed weapon. Carried on my strong side hip, a criminal now has the advantage of being able to grab my weapon and use it against me. I request the legislature to remove the dangerous “plain sight” language from the law.

The current law also creates some unique issues particular to women. As the law is written, the weapon shall be upon ones person. For women wearing dresses or skirts, this creates a complex problem. Where to put our weapon? Under current law, women are not allowed to carry their weapon in a normal purse, in their vehicle. This forces women to purchase a lockable holster purse that then would qualify under current law as a locked container for transport. This portion of the law must be addressed to take into consideration for the growing number of females obtaining their concealed carry licenses.

Another issue I would like to touch upon would be the media access loophole. Unfortunately, some of the journalists in Ohio have taken advantaged of this loophole, and have chosen to publish the names of CHL holders. As a Realtor, I could lose potential business if my name were to be published. As a woman, I would be extremely fearful for my safety of having my name and address published for all to see. Not only is this giving the criminal the addresses of gun owners, making it very easy to pick their next house to target, but is also leaving us vulnerable to attack.

I would like to thank each of you who were involved in the passage of HB12. With the passage of HB12, you have made doing my job as a Realtor much safer for me. As a woman, you gave me peace of mind. I thank you for your consideration in the passage of HB347.

I would be more than happy to answer any questions should you have any!


Linda Walker

Paul D. Werbicky:

Chairman Latta and Representatives,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak today in support of HB347.

Since the “Toledo City Paper” and “NBC 24” listed my full name and county of residence, I have experienced the following:

1. A good neighbor on one side that I used to frequently socialize with, has distanced herself from me, although her husband
still speaks to me when she is not around. She has made hurtful comments indirectly to me when walking her dogs. She
spoke to her dogs, loud enough for me to hear, and said; “Don’t go on his grass, he may shoot you?”

2. Shortly after, I received a prank telephone call. The caller asked; “Did you shoot anyone today?” and hung up. Caller ID
was blocked and SBC and the Toledo Police were not very interested. Claimed that it was not a direct threat against me.

3. I received 2 or 3 calls per week for the next few weeks, usually at 4:00 a.m. The caller would hang up when I answered.
Again the number was blocked. I have since purchased “privacy manager” to screen out blocked calls at a charge, of
course, by the telephone company. Nuisance telephone calls have since stopped.

4. I received one nasty email. It was a rant against America, claiming that all Americans were gun crazy pigs and should mind
their own business and stay home. The IP address could not be trace. It was bounced from an anonymous server, probably
in Eastern Europe. I’ve not heard from that person again.

5. When I leave in the early hours of the morning to go to work, I’m concerned when I see a van or car parked on the street
with the engine running. It took me some time to realize that it was the news carrier parked in front of my house. Thieves
and wacko’s are very internet savy today with free access at public libraries and even some prisons are providing internet
services to inmates. Now they know who has a gun to steal, don’t they?

Should the media publish our names? Of course they shouldn’t. The “Toledo City Paper” headlined their list as “Packing Heat”. This
is a derogatory reference, that we are hit men, gang bangers or worse. They did not mention that we are honest citizens who were
scrutinized very carefully by the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office and submitted to stringent requirements. The media can get quarterly
statistics from the Attorney General’s web site. These statistics can be a real eye opener for the opponents if they should choose to
read the truth.

The media always likes to hide behind the “First Amendment” crying “freedom of speech”. They should read that amendment for
themselves. Nowhere does it say, that a select and self-appointed group of people have the right to embarrass us and put our lives and
safety at risk.

Why do I have a CHL? Well, that is a personal choice that we can exercise in a free society. I made the decision when a friend was
mugged and severely beaten at 9:30 a.m. in front of the main Toledo Police Station. He will never be able to work again, suffers from
imbalance, slurred speech and bleeding in the brain that is an ongoing problem. All of this, for a cheap pay as you go cell phone and a
few dollars. He is only 52 years old.

I am 57 years old with brittle bones and a fragile neck. I have recently had a cervical spinal fusion with donor bones and plating. I can
not receive a blow to the head as it would possibly prove to be fatal in my case. Would I run away from trouble if possible? You bet I
would, besides, that is the law and as a CHL holder, I agreed to follow the law exactly. Do I always carry? No, but don’t tell that to the
muggers and thieves.

Thank you very much for your attention in this matter.

Steve [Last Name Redacted]:
(testimony submitted in written form)

My name is Stephen [Last Name Redacted], and I am writing in support of HB347.

Last year, my name and home address were published in the Sidney Daily
newspaper by the editor Jeffrey Billiel. He was able to get my information
because current law allows media access to information that should be kept
private. In addition to the information specified in the law, Shelby County Sheriff
Kevin O'Leary gave out my home address, which the newspaper printed. That is
against the law, but no one has been punished, and there is no way for me to
recover my damages.

Being a salesman who depends on a good rapport with my customers, I was
extremely upset that this occurred for 2 reasons. Number one and most
importantly I have a wife and two sons at home. The Sidney Daily news
effectively placed an ad for any criminal who might be shopping for a gun to
steal. This placed me, and more importantly my wife and my kids in danger.

Secondly, this had the potential to completely wreck my business, because as a
salesman, I deal directly with people on a daily basis. In fact I had an unusually
large amount of appointment cancellations this past year and lost a substantial
amount of income from it. While I cannot “prove” that the publishing of my CHL
permit and address was the cause, as I do not have the money or time to
interview each person who did cancel, I am sure having my name printed in the
paper has cost me income. The newspaper can not prove that those
cancellations were not the result of someone looking up my name on the internet
prior to my scheduled appointment, and canceling due to a fear of guns.

I urge you to remove the media access from our law and pass this bill. Personal
information continues to be abused by the media and was abused by our county
sheriff in retribution for those of us with a CHL as he has a documented history of
opposition to it.

I thank you for your time.

Steve [Last Name Redacted]

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