Ohio CHL-holder protects self with gun; lazy media buys lie that it's a "first"

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that another innocent life has been protected thanks to Ohio's concealed handgun license law.

From the story:

Damon Wells is the man gun supporters were imagining when they fought for the right to carry concealed weapons.

He had a permit to carry his gun, and he had the gun on him when a pair of teenage thieves approached him Saturday night on his front porch in Cleveland.

When one of the youths pulled a gun, Wells drew his and shot one of the boys several times in the chest, police said. Arthur Buford, 15, died after stumbling away and collapsing on a sidewalk near East 134th Street and Kinsman Road.

Arthur Buford proved the point that age does not matter when deadly force is involved. We have seen far too many times that those under 18 are capable of committing heinous crimes. It does not matter to a crime victim, or to the family of a dead victim, how old the murderer was.

How many times have we heard, "If it saves just one life it's worth it"? Apparently, not to family members of the armed robber who suffered life ending injuries after pulling a gun on a law-abiding citizen, on the man's own front porch.

Again, from the story:

An angry throng of about 30 youths gathered Monday and set up a memorial at the intersection where Buford, a freshman at John F. Kennedy High School, died.

His cousin, Tameka Foster, 21, questioned why police did not punish Buford's shooter.

"They let that man run out freely," Foster said. "My cousin is dead."

Buford's accomplice disappeared after the shooting and had not been caught as of Monday night. Police found a .38-caliber handgun in the mail chute of a nearby house. They believe it belonged to Buford or the other suspect, Lt. Thomas Stacho said.

Arthur Buford was committing multiple crimes. He was in possession of a firearm (possibly a stolen one) as a minor. He was committing aggravated robbery with gun specification. He was committing aggravated menacing. He may also have been in the process of committing attempted murder or murder (the gun was loaded). His accomplice can now be charged with murder.

Damon Wells broke no laws. He was on his own front porch. He was apparently able to properly articulate to police that Buford was close enough to kill him, had the intent to inflict death or great bodily harm, and had the means to carry out an attack. One must be able to state all three items before deadly force is justified.

The story continues:

Both sides of the gun debate said it was sad that a teenager died.

"It's tragic," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "Anytime somebody dies, it's tragic, but it's hard to have any sympathy when he chose to have a gun and go threaten somebody's life."

Irvine said it was "great that a potential victim is able to continue his life instead of having a criminal take it."

When a criminal pulls a gun during a crime, they are making a decision that someone is going to die. Damon Wells did not choose to take a life; he simply decided that if someone was going to lose his life, it was not going to be him. That mindset should be applauded.

If all crime victims responded to deadly force with deadly force, one wonders if a 15 year old "boy" would think about another career.

Journalistic Errors

The Plain Dealer has had quite a week when it comes to coverage of firearms issues.

On Wednesday, April 18, it appears that the Plain Dealer’s Terry Oblander relied on incorrect information from the Brady Campaign in his article “In Ohio its really easy to buy a gun.” (The Brady’s “report cards” are chocked with information that is just plain false in many cases, severely misleading in others.)

On Thursday, April 19, Plain Dealer reporter Patrick O'Donnell failed to do the proper research on Ohio law and falsely reported that the state's ban on firearms at college campuses doesn't apply to private universities (it does, and the newspaper has since published a correction).

Another major error has been published in the story covering yesterday's armed robbery attempt, written by - guess who? - Plain Dealer reporter Patrick O'Donnell (and Damian G. Guevara):

City prosecutors decided Monday that Wells, 25, was justified and would not be charged for what appears to be the first time a concealed-carry permit holder has shot and killed an attacker.

Not only is this not the first time an Ohio CHL-holder has killed an attacker anywhere in the state, it isn't even the first time in Cleveland. There have been at least two previous situations in which a criminal attacker has died when an Ohio CHL-holder defended themselves in Cleveland, and the Plain Dealer has covered the previous stories!

The most memorable was in 2004, when a store owner shot and killed one of his attackers during a rare ambush-style robbery just one day after the Plain Dealer published his name as a CHL-holder in the newspaper. The other, more recently, involved a convenience store owner in Cleveland who killed an armed robber after the violent criminal shot the store owner's 19-year old son in the forehead.

After Mr. O'Donnell's erroneous April 19 story, Buckeye Firearms Association contacted the Plain Dealer and offered to help the newspaper fact-check its stories. O'Donnell did indeed call Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine in preparation for the story, and Irvine informed the reporter, both verbally and in writing, of the fact that this was not the first time an attacker has died after being shot by an Ohio CHL-holder!

Is it possible that Mr. O'Donnell made the same mistake his co-worker, Terry Oblander, appears to have done on April 18 by believing the gun ban lobby instead of checking his facts?

Once more from the story:

Toby Hoover, of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, said she had not heard of any other fatal shooting involving a concealed-carry permit holder.

"This is one of the few where they actually used it to stop a crime," Hoover said.

A complete list of known incidents involving Ohio CHL-holders defending themselves (including at least five previous cases where the attacker died) is available on our website here.

For its part, the Associated Press (AP), which just yesterday named the Plain Dealer as Ohio's "best large newspaper", seems troubled that a 15 year-old criminal died at the hands of his intended victim, a "man carrying [a] hidden gun". The AP has taken the Plain Dealer's erroneous reporting one step further by quoting Hoover's statement in a wire report that is sent to hundreds of media outlets across the state (and beyond) - but not before removing all comments from the Plain Dealer story that provided balance for the pro-gun position!

A more detailed, and damning, evaluation of the Plain Dealer's treatment of gun owners will be published on this website in the near future.

FLASHBACK: Cleveland CHL-holder defends lives; Plain Dealer mum

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