Letter-writers provide facts on restaurant carry legislation to Columbus Dispatch readers

by Chad D. Baus

Newspapers across the state have responded to the Ohio Senate's overwhelming, bi-partisan passage of SB17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix legislation) with the typical 'Chicken Little' cries that we have come to expect from the biased media.

In an editorial entitled "Cold beer, hot lead go together...how?" The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Connie Schultz, wife of anti-gun U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, accused the Senate of "sen[ding] another valentine to far-right extremists trying to take our state hostage."

In "Concealed-carry cavalcade" The Blade of Toledo writes that "it's ludicrous to expect waiters and bartenders to enforce such a prohibition" on drinking while carrying, but they fail to explain how waiters and bartenders are enforcing the current prohibition on taking guns in bars now (hint: they're not).

Perhaps most curious is an editorial entitled "Reject Concealed Carry Proposals," published by The Intelligencer/ Wheeling News-Register. You see, the newspaper is located across the border in West Virgina, a state that Handgunlaw.us confirms allows the type of concealed carry in restaurants that is being sought in Ohio. The anonymous editorial writer fails to mention this fact, nor does it provide any evidence that they are having any problems with this law in their state.

The Columbus Dispatch also published an editorial reacting to the Senate's 25-7 vote. Entitled "Enough already," the anonymous editorial writer claims "it's a ridiculous and risky concession - one of far too many - to the gun lobby's insatiable drive to expand the role of guns in American life, regardless of common sense."

To their credit, The Dispatch has now published two letters to the editor from readers responding to the anti-self-defense editorial.

Saturday, April 23, 2011: Other states fine with concealed weapons in bars

One would think that more than two-thirds of the Ohio Senate, not to mention 42 other states, did the unthinkable in voting to uphold a constitutional right to self-defense.

At least that’s what The Dispatch would have readers believe in its April 17 editorial “Enough already,” regarding passage of Senate Bill 17.

Hardly a “ridiculous and risky concession,” this legislation merely gives Ohioans the same rights already extended to millions of law-abiding citizens in other states. I believe the roughly 200,000 Ohioans who have concealed-carry licenses — who have gone through training, passed their tests, passed background checks and paid their license fees to their local sheriffs — have the right to defend themselves against the criminals who are carrying illegally obtained weapons. It’s the law-abiding citizen, not the criminal, that this legislation is designed to benefit.

The bill says that Ohioans authorized to carry a concealed handgun do not have to disarm to patronize an establishment that serves alcohol, as long as the licensee does not consume alcohol. If the licensee does carry a concealed handgun and consumes alcohol, it is a felony offense.

Opponents cite public-safety concerns expressed by restaurant owners, yet the law empowers those owners to decide whether to allow concealed carry on their premises. All they have to do is post a sign notifying patrons that weapons are prohibited.

An overwhelming bipartisan Senate majority has recognized through this bill Ohio’s 160-year-old constitutional provision: “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security.”

We trust law-abiding citizens every day to carry concealed handguns for their own protection. I have yet to see statistical evidence that doing so has created a threat to public safety, specifically from the 42 other states that allow concealed-carry in establishments serving alcohol.

When a similar bill passed the Senate last year, then-Gov. Ted Strickland promised to sign it. This time around, the bill is co-sponsored by the Democratic minority leader. That is hardly the fringe agenda The Dispatch suggests, and, more important, it demonstrates a unique, bipartisan respect for the constitutional rights of law-abiding Ohioans.


Sunday, April 24, 2011: House should trust Ohioans with guns

Last Sunday's Dispatch editorial "Enough already" called on the Ohio House of Representatives to kill Senate Bill 17, which would allow legal concealed carry in establishments that serve alcohol. This was yet another misguided, knee-jerk reaction from The Dispatch.

Conveniently omitted from the editorial is that Ohio is one of only eight states that ban concealed carry where alcohol is served.

Blood hasn't run in the streets since Ohioans were allowed to "pack heat," as The Dispatch puts it. With each successive pro-gun reform, the newspaper predicted the legislature had gone too far. Yet, we have lived with those reforms for years without mass chaos.

Either the editorial board hasn't learned from the past or it simply refuses to accept the truth.

Every state that borders Ohio allows concealed carry in places that serve alcohol. Not one is planning to repeal the law because drunken license holders are shooting up the town. The Dispatch must think that Ohioans are more likely to go on a drunken rampage. The opposition also has ignored the fact that, as each reform became law in Ohio, the concealed-carry community proved it was worthy of the responsibility that comes with carrying a gun for self-defense.

Since the legislatures in Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania and 38 other states believed their residents are trustworthy enough to carry guns in places that serve alcohol, it only makes sense the legislature in Ohio should do the same.

By refusing to support the right of Ohioans to carry guns, Ohio's representatives are admitting they don't trust the people who elected them to office — and that is a fact that should embarrass all Ohioans.


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