Letter to the Editor: ''FOP has undue influence on gun legislation''
This letter to the editor, submitted by Jeff Garvas, OFCC President, appears in the Nov. 18, 2002 edition of the Zanesville Times Recorder:
"In recent reports, Ohio Senate President Richard Finan said the Senate is attempting to reach a concealed carry compromise that the National Rifle Association likes but the Fraternal Order of Police won't oppose.
Opponents of concealed carry reform are urging Senators to kill HB274, while ignoring the "elephant in the room" waiting to appear before the Ohio Supreme Court: Klein et al v. Leis et al."
"Ohioans For Concealed Carry, a grassroots organization we started in 1999, is a co-plaintiff and financial contributor. In the past two years four judges and two courts have unanimously agreed that Ohio's laws prohibiting everyday law-abiding citizens from carrying firearms for self-defense are unconstitutional, vague, and unfair. The laws violate three crucial rights under the Ohio Constitution, including our right to carry firearms for self-defense.
Cincinnati, backed by "Handgun Control Incorporated" lawyers, Hamilton County, and the State of Ohio all appealed the latest ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court. That court agreed to hear the case, and the chances that it will uphold the lower courts are promising. To simply disagree with the facts presented to the lower courts would be nothing less than legislating from the bench. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Ohio Senate is eager to move HB274 along swiftly.
However, the Ohio Senate has taken on a new purpose in life during the lame duck session. They no longer work for the people of Ohio, but at the whim of the State of Ohio FOP. It has been made abundantly clear that the FOP, which has simply ignored and opposed the progression of HB274 for the past two years, has been given the equivalent of a legislative permanent marker. Their language is likely to be passed out of the Senate and handed to a bewildered House with no time for a conference committee or public debate.
In a last-minute move to prevent the Ohio Supreme Court from declaring Ohio's gun laws unconstitutional, the Ohio Senate has made a poor decision.
Instead of passing a bill that went through two years of compromises and progress with no input from the FOP (at their choice), the Senate is on the verge of letting the FOP rewrite the bill until they agree not to oppose it for the governor. Luckily for us, the chances of an FOP endorsed bill being constitutional are incredibly slim.
Not only is the FOP ignoring the position of the majority of police officers in this state, but they are attempting to turn this legislation into a gun-control Christmas tree. Is the FOP now a third house of the legislative branch in Ohio?
The Ohio Senate should ignore Governor Taft's demand for law enforcement support and pass something the Ohio Supreme Court would endorse: A constitutional reform that meets the needs of the people without infringing on their rights."
Ohioans for Concealed Carry