NBC4i evaluates OhioCCW by asking the wrong question

Throughout the day and evening yesterday, both on their news channel and website, Columbus' NBC4i promoted a story on the 11 o'clock news, entitled "Did Guns Help Improve Safety?" Recognizing that even the headline suggested potential bias (given the hysteria we all heard from the anti-gun side beforehand, shouldn't the question be "are we any less safe"?), alert OFCC supporters quickly notified us.

So that he could not later explain away the (missing) content of his story by saying he was unaware of certain facts, we sent the reporter who did the story, Mike Bowersock, a wealth of information that, based on his story promo, we believed would be helpful to him in answering his questions. Did he use any of the information? You be the judge:

    Concealed Carry Law Results Questioned
    More Guns May Not Mean More Safety

    In 2004, about 1,900 Franklin County residents received a concealed carry permit, NBC 4's Mike Bowersock reported.

    "I have a right to defend myself, my family and my loved ones," said one Central Ohio resident.

    "It does give you a sense of security," said another Central Ohio resident.

    Machinist Ralph Hoover, 60, received his permit last year.

    "I'm going to be very careful when I pull it, but I'm not going to hesitate to use it," Hoover said.

    Donna, who did not want her last name used, also received a permit.

    "It gives me confidence that I know if anything happened, I had that gun, if I had to use it," Donna said.

    According to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, since the law went into effect, there has not been one measurable crime as a result of the law.

    On the other hand, there has not been one measurable crime avoided because of the law.

    Statistically it has made no difference, Bowersock reported.

And so we have it - the conclusion Bowersock was wanting to report, and which he built his entire story around. There is no mention of the fact that the FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics for the second half of 2004 are not even available yet, not of the fact that an analysis of the first half of 2004 shows that violent crime was down in 4 of the 5 major Ohio cities. But Bowersock can't claim he wasn't told...

Again, from the story:

    Cornell McCleary, 610 WTVN talk show host, has a concealed carry permit.

    While working at his private security company in March, he shot and wounded two men during a confrontation.

    "I became the target of their aggression. If I didn't have my two cousins with me, Smith and Wesson, I (would have) been history," McCleary said.

    Pediatric surgeon Dr. Jonathan Groner deals with young gunshot victims.

    "The basic premise that society can be safer by ready access to lethal firepower is a corrupt premise," Groner said.

    He opposes concealed weapons. He said eventually, an innocent victim will be killed.

    "For the average citizen, it's not an enhancement to safety. Why? Everybody has a bad day. When people walk around with lethal firepower, it's just someone is going to have a bad day," Grover said.

No proof. Not even the slightest bit of anecdotal evidence for the claim. Yet this doctor is allowed by Bowersock and NBC4i to spread his false claims to the masses. Why isn't this pediatrician concerned for all of the innocent victims who were killed in the past because they have no reason to fight back? Why didn't NBC4i ask?

From the Franklin County Sheriff's office we learn a new measuring stick for evaluating concealed carry: "measurable crime avoidance". Using this test, they try to pass off store robberies in which the store owner shoots the criminal, or cases like Mr. McCleary's, because crimes were still committed against the victims.

No way to say what would have happened to Mr. McCleary had he not been able to fight back against the gang that was attacking him. No way to say how many women in Columbus, which has one of the highest rates of rape in our state, brandished their firearm to scare off a stalking predator. And thus, they get to claim that there was "not one measurable crime avoided". Right.

Following is the email which was sent to Mr. Bowersock in advance of this story, which proves he had plenty of time to ask the right questions, and to avoid making misstatements such as "statistically it has made no difference."

----- Original Message -----
From: Chad D. Baus
To: [email protected]
Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 9:37 AM
Subject: "Did Guns Help Improve Safety?"

Re: the story you are going to run tonight, entitled "Did Guns Help Improve Safety?"

Are you aware of the potential for bias, even in the very headline? Given the hysteria we all heard from the anti-gun side beforehand, shouldn't the question be "are we any less safe"?

Are you aware of the below information, and are you including it in your story?

Analysis: Violent Crime DOWN since Ohio concealed carry became law

Are you comparing the below predictions to the actual outcome in Ohio?

In April 2004, gun ban extremist Toby Hoover, who fronts what often appears to be a onewoman show at the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, was quoted in several Gannett News Service as saying, "If we have more use of guns, then we're going to have more people who are injured and die." In 2001, she told the Cincinnati Post if concealed carry became law "we will have more shootings, more accidents" because "a person who has a gun sees danger."

After hearing Hoover testify against concealed carry in 2001, one Columbus Dispatch reporter summarized her testimony like this: "Gun-control advocates said it would put too many guns in malls, parks and workplaces, causing fights and accidental shootings."

In 2003 the Brady Campaign's (Handgun Control Inc.) John Shanks offered Senate testimony that "we believe immediate access and availability enhances chances for firearms violence. When you introduce firearms, a situation that would not normally result in deadly violence can be tragic."

In 2003, Lori O'Neill of the Brady Campaign's Million Mom March in Cleveland wrote of pro-gun groups that "it's all guns all the time, regardless of how many children, law enforcement officers and ordinary people die each year because of easy accessibility to firearms."

On January 8, 2004, Senator Eric Fingerhut told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that "It's going to lead to tragedies and accidents of all kinds." And in 2001, he told the Cincinnati Post that "the presence of a gun is actually likely to escalate violence."

On Jan 9, 2004, Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander said the new law "terrifies our people." Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said "We took guns away from the Wild, Wild West more than 100 years ago, and we're revisiting it. I really think it's a sad day."

Compare these predictions to what these law-enforcement officers have to say about the past year:

Clermont County Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg Jr.: "I can see something positive out of Clermont being ranked at the top for [CHLs] issued. Maybe the bad guy sees that lots of citizens out there in Clermont County have the permits, so he'll go to another county to commit his crime ... It levels the playing field for the good guys against the bad guys."

Clark Co. Sheriff's Sgt. Bob Chadeayne: "Ninety-nine percent of the people are just great, everyday, honest people who want to have the right to have some sort of protection. The bad guy has always had the advantage because they had the gun or the knife. The average law abiding citizen had a handicap to the people who wanted to prey upon them."

Clark Co. Sheriff Gene Kelly: "Gun battles forecast by opponents have not materialized. Most (licensees) are homeowners, responsible and retired. They want a feeling of personal protection. There is still a lot of crime and people are in fear."

Coshocton County Sheriff Lt. Jim Crawford: "(The sheriff's office) anticipated some phone calls from concerned residents that might notice people carrying weapons. That hasn't happened, which is great."

Medina County sheriff's secretary Donna Vickers: "There's no one I've seen apply who I have a concern that they will not abide by the law. People seem to want to see the law carried through as it's meant to be.''

Portage County Sheriff Duane Kaley."...So far it has been uneventful. We think the process has gone very smooth.''

Summit County Sheriff's Office general counsel Christine Croce: "The Summit County Sheriff's Office has not seen any incidents involving a concealed license holder as an aggressor or victim."

Tuscarawas County, Lt. Lon McEnroe: "Most of the people that I've had go through the application process are level-headed people."

Wayne County Sheriff's Capt. Doug Hunter: "We operate the same way we did prior to the application of the CCW law. So far, on every occasion, the [license] holders have been in compliance with the law and there have not been any negative encounters.''

Buckeye State Sheriffs' Association executive director Robert A. Cornwell: "All the things we heard about how it was going to be the gunfight at the O.K. Corral just didn't come true."

All this information and much more can be found in OFCC's 2005 Ohio Concealed Handgun License Report:

We will be watching to see if you report is asking ALL of the right questions, and contains ALL of the evidence which has been made available to you regarding the question your headline poses.

Chad D. Baus
Ohioans For Concealed Carry

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