Crain's Cleveland Business prints OFCC response to anti-ccw editorial

Last week, we told you that Crain's Cleveland Business had published an editorial opposing the reformation of concealed carry laws in Ohio, which essentially mirrored a letter printed in multiple Ohio papers over the past three weeks, written by the president of the "Million" Mom March chapter of greater Cleveland.

In their March 31, 2003 edition, Crain's published the official OFCC response, as submitted by OFCC's northwest Ohio coordinator (and PAC Vice Chairman) Chad Baus. Because the Crain's website is subscription-based, the response can be viewed in it's entirety by clicking on the "Read More..." link below.

Carry on

On March 24, Crain's published an editorial opposing reform of Ohio's concealed carry laws. It is disturbing that such a respected paper has apparently done no independent research on the subject. Instead, they seem to have been conned into reprinting a compilation of letters written by Lori O'Neill, president of the "Million" Mom March chapter of greater Cleveland. In fact, HB12 will bring both increased safety and money to Ohio's business, something Crain's should be fully supporting.

Crain's expresses surprise "by the muted response of business interest groups to the so-called concealed carry legislation." But the truth is, not all business interests have been mute. A December 2002 Columbus
Business First article noted that last year's CCW bill had the backing from the Ohio Association of Convenience Stores. "The group is represented by the 3,300-member Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, and Josh Sanders, legislative affairs director for the group, said mom-and-pop owners like the idea of being able to conceal a weapon. "They would like to see it pass and feel it would give those coming into stores with bad intentions some major thought."

Businesses more prone to armed robberies welcome the idea of having more of
the "good-guys" in their establishments. My family has a car dealership and supports HB12. Last week in Lima, an armed robber locked a used car lot employee in the trunk of a car after robbing the business of money. In a similar incident in New York (where concealed carry is legal), an employee defended himself with his concealed firearm after being attacked by a would-be robber. The Ohio Constitution says I have the right to
defend myself as this New Yorker did, but Ohio law currently prevents me from doing so.

Crain's says it is "voicing...opposition to the legislation because we believe most businesses haven't considered the potential negative - and, in the ultimate, deadly - consequences posed by the measure to people in the workplace." Had the editors at Crain's (or O'Neill) bothered to inquire of
every state that borders Ohio, they would have learned that their fears have no basis in reality: not in Michigan, where these same arguments were made before passage of these reforms there; not in Indiana, where concealed carry has been legal for nearly 70 years; not in Pennsylvania, where NO training is required for persons to obtain a license. There are no credible studies that show increased dangers to businesses because of concealed carry, yet many prove the benefits. In addition, HB12 grants businesses additional immunity, while giving them full authority to restrict firearms
as they see fit. Why would any business be against such a bill?

Crain's editors are not alone in their fears. A minority of law enforcement leadership have also expressed concerns. But the most powerful law enforcement officers in Ohio, represented by the Buckeye State
Sheriff's Association, support this reform. As Rep. Jimmy Stewart (R-Athens) recently stated, "The sheriff's offices and many local FOP chapters support this bill. It is only the departments in urban areas and the Highway Patrol, which Taft controls, who are against it."

Nationally-renowned Charleston (SC) Police Chief Reuben Greenberg recently told a group of business owners, frustrated by a rash of robberies, that one particular downtown business in a high-crime area hasn't been held up in 20 years because the owner and employees, including the guy mopping the floor, are armed. Try as they might, and great as they are, law
enforcement is still most often relegated to cleaning up after the crime has occurred, rather than actually preventing it from happening. As Greenberg put it, "this is the kind of world [we] live in."

In a published reply to the O'Neill letter, a letter-writer pointed out that "businesses in other states have realized that it is detrimental to turn away or otherwise deny entry to lawful firearms owners." Because an average of 4% of state populations take advantage of CCW permit laws, "it is highly unlikely an Ohio businesses will be willing to refuse entry to 4% of their customer-base based on politics."

In the editorial, Crain's editors admitted that they were a bit "far afield" when they decided to take a position on HB12. I hope that, in the future, Crain's would better research the facts before offering businesses advice on matters outside their typical realm of expertise. Echoing a one-sided letter to the editor from an anti-gun activist did not serve Crain's subscribers in the professional manner they are accustomed to.

Chad D. Baus
Archbold, OH

Chad Baus is the vice-president of his family's fourth generation car
dealership, and the northwest Ohio coordinator of Ohioans For Concealed Carry

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