Fearforprofit Inc.

May 13, 2004
The (Cleveland) Sun Press

"No guns allowed" signs popped up at local municipal buildings and schools laws month when Ohio's new concealed carry weapons law took effect.

(Accompanying photo contains the following caption: "Signs such as this one outside the Chagrin Falls library will soon be as common everywhere as no smoking signs.")

Enter gun safety advocate Lori O'Neill and her Chagrin Falls-based O'Neill Marketing Strategies.

O'Neill is marketing a line of no-concealed-carry-weapons signs that focus on safety and peace, rather than guns.

Her three signs are designed for outside places of worship, daycares, and private businesses.

"None of the signs shows the image of a gun with a slash though it," O'Neill said. "Instead, they focus on customer and child safety for businesses and daycare centers, and peace for places of worship," O'Neill said.

"We deliberately steered clear of images of guns on our signs because showing a gun with a slash through it may alienate permit holders, and promote controversy surrounding the new law," she said.

O'Neill said customers can choose what kind of sign they want.

O'Neill also has a brochure that describes the new CCW law.

The law states that citizens can now carry a handgun, but some places prohibit them, like public and governmental buildings, police stations, schools, daycare centers, places of worship, aircraft and places that sell liquor.

Such places are required by law to post a no-guns sign.

Municipal buildings are required by law to post specific wording and the slash symbol, but private businesses can choose their own signage.

"Day care centers are among the places where permit holders are prohibited from carrying their guns, and the owners are legally obligated to post signs," O'Neill said.

The new law also prohibits carrying guns into churches and other places of worship.

Private businesses can choose whether they will allow weapons in their buildings or on their properties.

"Many retail stores, hospitals, banks and shopping malls are struggling with the decision because of their fear of incurring the wrath of permit holders," O'Neill said.

O'Neill, of Bainbridge, is president of the greater Cleveland chapter of the Million Mom March against gun violence.

Contact O'Neill at (440) 708-0356.

Just what kind of advice should we imagine these businesses are receiving in ONeill's sales pitch?

Looking at a few of O'Neill's past claims may provide some idea:

  • On May 21, 2003, Ms. O'Neill testified before the Ohio Senate Committee on Criminal Justice that businesses would be found in violation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules if they allow license-holders on their property. OSHA itself says that there is NO OSHA concern. Jeff Lewis, Safety and Occupational Health Manager, of Region 6 of OSHA, has told Ohioans For Concealed Carry that OSHA has no policy or the authority to regulate firearms in the workplace. Should an employer choose to allow firearms in the workplace, Lewis says, he would be under no violation of any OSHA regulation or guideline.
  • On that same day, O'Neill also told Senators that real estate agents don’t want HB12 to become law, and essentially explained away a proponent’s story about a defenseless real estate agent who was brutally murdered while showing a house by inferring it was the agent’s own fault for not running when she sensed she was in danger. Perhaps O’Neill’s insensitivity to the brutal beating death of a real estate agent should be expected, given her willingness to hold a press conference exploiting the CWRU shooting before the victim was even laid to rest. But her suggestion that being attacked and killed was the agent’s own fault even seemed to shock the Senators.
  • Other questionable quotes:
    ..."Companies in virtually every industry will be adversely affected if a concealed carry weapons bill passes in Ohio."

    "If...CCW passes in Ohio, it will give a whole new definition to the term 'hostile environment.'"

    "Now, Ohio employers have an additional burden to deal with - the prospect of employees and customers with concealed gun permits bringing their guns into the workplace."

    "...Employers and customers who bring loaded handguns into offices, medical establishments, retail stores and banks increase the risk that someone will be injured or killed by their guns.

    After failing to scare business lobbyists into the fight in 2003, and after loosing in the legislative arena, gun ban lobbyists are now hoping to convince business owners to discriminate against employees and customers who choose to obtain a concealed handgun license (CHL) for self-protection.

    As was the case throughout the legislative debate on this issue, we are again tasked with answering baseless warnings about issues that have simply not arisen in the 36 states which have laws similar to Ohio's. Astute business-owners will thoughtfully consider What Business Owners Need to Know About CCW before taking the advice of someone hoping to profit from fear.

    Related Stories:
    Deja vu all over again: ''Million'' Mommer trying to scare businesses with op-ed

    Crain's Cleveland Business publishes OFCC response to ''business scare'' letter

    Gun ban extremists' expected ''Business Blitz'' begins

    A view of the future in Ohio?

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