Is no CCW news good news for these Ohio newspapers?

When Ohio's ban on CCW was ruled unconstitutional in a Hamilton County court last year, OFCC took note of a number of media outlets which were largely silent on the story.

When a Democrat judge from Seneca County became the third Ohio court to rule Ohio's CCW ban unconstitutional, we pointed out that many major Ohio newspapers failed to so much as mention the ruling.

In spite of this history, who would have guessed that three major Ohio newspapers would manage to keep the news of HB12's passage out of the headlines?

• Is no CCW news good news for the Akron Beacon Journal? Their only mention of this week's action was a paragraph giving the vote count, buried deep within a story about Ohio gas taxes.

• Is no CCW news good news for the Cincinnati Enquirer? Their online edition had no references to HB12 on Thursday or Friday. Have they, perhaps, forgotten their pro-CCW editorial, published on 1/2/02 following the Hamilton County constitutionality ruling? (Click on the "Read More..." link below to view an archive of the editorial)

• Is no CCW news good news for the Cincinnati Post? Their online edition had no references to HB12 on Thursday or Friday.

• Is no CCW news good news for the many other Ohio dailies that managed to print stories on the gas tax hike vote in the House, which occurred AFTER the vote on HB12?

Guns | Judge tosses law

New law is needed

Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman's ruling Thursday against carrying a concealed weapon is unconstitutional came as no surprise. It is now up to the Ohio General Assembly to create a workable law.

The existing law says carrying a concealed weapon is allowed under certain narrow circumstances, but the only way to find out if you fit those circumstances is to get arrested and then go to court. That clearly violates a person's presumption of innocence, and Judge Ruehlman was correct to throw the law out.

The case was brought in Hamilton County by private investigator Chuck Klien and four others who claimed the right to carry concealed weapons for personal protection: a pizza deliveryman, a hairdresser, a fitness
trainer and food service worker. As a practical matter, Judge Ruehlman's
order only applied to Hamilton County, although the plaintiffs' attorneys, financed by the pro-gun Second Amendment Foundation of Bellevue, Wash.[and OFCC!], said they may use it as a precedent in seeking similar rulings in every county in Ohio. But the judge's order was in effect for
only a few hours before it was stayed by the Ohio First District Court of Appeals. That means people won't be able to start putting guns in their pockets until the legislature gets a chance to sort things out.

Forty-three states permit carrying concealed weapons with varying rules on who may obtain a permit. Ohio's current law does not include permits and is so vague about who has the right to carry that the rules are

In his ruling, Judge Ruehlman said "every law-abiding citizen of this state has the right to protect him or herself with a concealed firearm."

But the judge can't set rules for who should be allowed to carry a gun. That is the General Assembly's job. Should permits be issued to anyone who applies who is not in jail or wanted for a crime? What about age
limits, mental disabilities or physical handicaps? Training should be required, but how much?

These questions and others are being considered in legislation now before Ohio's house Civil and Commercial Law Committee. Chairman John Willamowski, R-Lima, said he expects the committee to send it to the full House for a vote by the end of the month. Assuming it passes the
House and the Senate, it will go to Gov. Bob Taft. The governor has said he will not support such a concealed-carry bill unless it has the backing of a majority of law enforcement groups in the state. Those
groups are split.

The general assembly and the governor should work out a sensible bill. If Judge Ruehlmans's order overturned on appeal, Ohio will be left with the old, flawed law. If his order is upheld, we will be left with no law
at all.

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