Self-defense ambassadors bring good will to Vermilion

by Jim Irvine, OFCC PAC Chairman
December 20, 2003

Seventy people attended today’s open carry shopping day in Vermilion, Ohio including about 15 women. From noon until 2 O’clock, we shopped and committed random acts of commerce.

Unlike all the other open carry walks, participants of today’s walk were there not just to send a message, or display the absurdity of current law verses HB12. Today, people were there to shop. It’s Christmas time, and what a better time of year to visit some quaint shops with special gifts you will not find at super stores. From stores as varied as Main Street Soda Grill, to Bittersweet Annie’s Antiques & Accents to Vermilion Hardware, we walked and we shopped. The Vermilion shops were a great place to find unique and distinct gifts, as well as such simple pleasures as homemade chocolate and candies.

Many walk attendees had never been to Vermilion before, but many of us will return because of the great stores, deals, and most importantly the people of Vermilion. Some storeowners welcomed us before we arrived, while some were a little apprehensive, but all were glad that we came. Winter can be a slow time for a tourist town, but we made this cold winter day look like a “normal summer day” for some and were “a very friendly, courteous group” to others. The overall request of participating storeowners was, “When can you come back?”

Thanks to all who not only came to walk, but came to shop. Most Ohioans want concealed carry, and most Ohioans spend money. Today we demonstrated that those who do not have an irrational fear of firearms will not only benefit from increased security, but increased profits.

Today those who carried firearms were plainly visible. Hopefully the next time a group of gun owners gather to shop, there will be no cameras, no media, and no special interest. The next time we gather to shop, Ohio could be the 46th state to approve concealed carry. We will still have guns, we will still obey all laws, we will still be polite to others and we will still spend money. But next time the focus will be where it should be, on the stores that sell great products, and the people who welcome us to their town.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more Open Carry Shopping Day insight from Walk Organizer Dan White, as well as links to media coverage of the event.

by Dan White, Organizer
December 20, 2003

The Vermilion Open Carry Shopping Day was a resounding success! For about two hours, the downtown area was saturated with about 70 CCW supporters, most of whom were openly carrying firearms while doing their holiday shopping. Every reported having a great time, even though it was a little on the chilly side.

Afterwards, I went around and visited all of the stores that participated in the event. To say that they were pleased is an immense understatement. The two most common comments were "everyone was so nice" and "when are you going to do this again?"!

One store owner, when asked if she had a good day, replied, "It was about typical for the middle of summer, but was very busy for this time of year!" So basically, we turned a dreary winter Saturday into the peak of the summer season.

One proprietor, who was originally against us coming in, told me that he was very glad he changed his mind. Every store owner thanked us profusely for being there.

The chief of police was there and was very nice. He seemed a little unhappy at first, but warmed up nicely when he got to know us better. He even hunted me down at one point to report that a sub shop in town was complaining because he wasn't on the "good" list and nobody was coming in. He was closed when I was putting together the list. We spread the work that he was on our side, so hopefully some people went in. Unfortunately, when I went to follow up afterwards, he was again closed.

The mayor was there with his wife and daughter. He said he was personally against what we were doing, but that he appreciated how well behaved and polite everyone was.

I am also VERY happy to announce that we made the NATIONAL NEWS! A friend of mine in Connecticut called to tell me that we were on the evening news there! (but apparently our local Cleveland channels 5, 8, 19, and 43 didn't feel it was an important enough story....)

We made a HUGE impact in Vermilion. These businesses are going to talk, and they have nothing but good things to say. I'd like to give a big 'thank you' to everyone who showed up today and supported the businesses who showed their support to us.

Post-event Media Coverage:
Akron Beacon-Journal
Anti-gun lady realizes Ohio law is like the Wild West - already.

Associated Press
Store owners hope we'll be back. AP coverage picked up by Ohio's Gannett Newspapers.

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Front page photo and caption, directing readers to some of the poorest coverage of this event you'll read.

Elyria Chronicle-Telegram
Santa seems to approve.

Lorain Morning Journal
This anti-gun paper almost sounds disappointed that things went so well.

They didn't bother to show up to cover the event.

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