Store owner doesn't conceal his stand on firearms

Businesses continue to get the message! The Ft. Knox Bank, Home Depot Springfield, Roman Cycle and the New Philadelphia Walmart are all businesses which briefly posted signs, only to take them down again after hearing from customers.

There are also businesses like Todd Whitacre's (see story), which are not only support by NOT posting signs, but are showing support by posting pro-CCW signs. The sign below is posted at the Ashtabula BP station at the intersection of Rt. 45 and I-90.

May 4, 2004
Springfield News-Sun

Outside The Tunnel Drive Thru, a sign reads "Holstered Firearms Permitted."

Many other businesses in the area have signs forbidding people from bringing in concealed weapons.

Todd Whitacre, 33, the owner of The Tunnel, 1810 E. Main St., wanted to show his support of the law and those who take advantage of it.

"We've been fighting this fight for three years to get the concealed-carry law passed, and it stands to reason that I'm not going to ban people from carrying in my business," Whitacre said. "I call it a tool, not a weapon. When it is used properly, it's effective."

About 170 people in Clark and Champaign counties can legally carry a concealed weapon, now that permits have been issued.

Sheriff’s offices across the state have accepted applications for almost a month.

Although the sign might act as a deterrent to would-be criminals, Whitacre said he has not had a problem with robberies in the past. He has other means of protecting his property, including a sophisticated surveillance system and safes, Whitacre said.

The sign has been up for about six weeks, with only one negative remark from a customer. Employees get about 15 to 20 positive comments a day, Whitacre said.

"I think the majority of the opposition has come from the elected officials and not the general public," he said. "People understand the crime rate in Springfield and the rest of Ohio is worsening."

The sign also helps business, at least among those who are for the concealed-carry law. The Ohioans for Concealed Carry have a Web site,, listing all the businesses forbidding concealed weapons. Those that are pro-concealed weapons are encouraged not to spend money at those businesses. Whitacre said he has no intention of being on the list.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

In Clark County, 260 people applied for the concealed carry permit, with 140 people having passed the background and mental health checks. The rest are being processed, Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Chadeayne said.

“We were swamped this morning,” Chadeayne said Monday.

The influx of people varies the time it takes to complete the application. People can wait anywhere from 20 minutes to more than two hours, Chadeayne said.

"It's a non-stop process," he said.

The first day of applicants brought in more than 30 people who were at the doors when they opened in Clark County. Some began waiting at 6:45 a.m.

The first permit was issued April 21 to Eleanor Roberts, 61. She was among 15 people who were handed their permits that day.

Champaign County has had 85 people apply. Approximately 30 people have permits in hand, Sheriff David Deskins said.

No one has been denied a permit in either county. People can be denied for a number of reasons, including past felonies, mental incompetency or civil protection orders.

"The process has been very smooth," Chadeayne said. "The state is coming back with checks pretty quickly."

The background and mental health checks are taking three to four weeks to complete, about half the time the sheriff's offices expected it to take.

When the program first began, Clark County opened the East Office, 4505 E. National Road, for 12 hours a day during the week and four hours on Saturdays. The acceptance of applications has now been cut back to 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. during the week with no Saturday hours. The first two Saturdays yielded only seven applicants total, Chadeayne said.

"We've had no problems whatsoever," Chadeayne said.

Champaign County is accepting applications from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays only.

House Bill 12 was signed into law by Gov. Bob Taft in January and went into affect April 8, allowing Ohioans to carry a concealed weapon after a training course.

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