In memory of Vernon Ferrier

By Tim Inwood

In late August I was asked by my friend Christa
Criddle to come down to speak at the September meeting
of the Springfield Township Republican Party on the
issue of concealed carry in Ohio. In preparing my
remarks I looked back over the past several years of
our battle to restore our right to self-defense in
Ohio. I paused as I thought about my friend Vernon
Ferrier. Vernon was one of the original litigants in
Klein v. Leis. Now, I use the term my friend, as even
though I only met the man on two occasions, I
instantly liked him.

The first time we met was when he
organized the first open carry walk through his
neighborhood following the Ohio Supreme Court ruling
on Klein v. Leis. Some thought the open carry walk
was a pointless publicity stunt. However the turnout
was amazing, as was the press coverage. I think the
walk was a turning point in our battle.

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As we walked
along, several of the police officers watching gave us
the thumbs up. At the same time, a pitiful few of Toby
Hoover’s idiotic minions taunted us with water guns
and jumped in the middle of the street, firing their
water guns at passing cars. (I am still stunned that
the police did not arrest any of the anti-gunners who
were trying to cause trouble, as they clearly were
doing their best to push the envelope.) Afterwards, we
returned to Vernon’s home where his family invited us
all in for dinner. Luncheon meats for sandwiches and a
variety of side dishes were laid out. He truly made us
all feel welcome.

That one walk inspired over 20 other open carry
walks around Ohio. I hosted one in my hometown on a
very chilly day with drizzle coming down. Yet on that
fall day in 2003 over 100 people marched through
Wilmington, Ohio. I well recall the march at the
Governor’s Mansion in Columbus. A friend took a
picture of my friends Garry Stanfill, his son Scott,
my cousin Greg Bogan and myself in front of what was
termed “The Weasel’s Lair”. From time to time we saw
the curtain moving in the Governor’s Mansion
suggesting someone in there was watching us, probably
with concern. I will always believe those open carry
walks played a great role in bringing pressure on the
Ohio legislature and the Governor to finally come to
terms and pass our somewhat flawed concealed carry

Sadly, Vernon died last year of a heart attack. He was
sitting in his car when he died. Some thug came along
and got into the car, stealing the dying man’s pistol.
This was a sad fate for an unsung hero and pioneer in
restoring the civil right of self-defense in Ohio.

Last year we worked hard on getting HB347
passed. With that, we got a number of badly needed
reforms to our law. However, we are hardly done fixing
it. This year the focus has been on “Castle Doctrine”,
and I have every hope that we can get this passed
before the year is out. However, much is up to all of
you to call and write those who represent us in
Columbus to get this done.

The next issue that must
be addressed after “Castle Doctrine” is the
drastically reducing the number of victim zones we
have here in Ohio. Too many places are posted “no CCW”
with the disgusting little “ghost buster” handgun ban
sticker. How I despise seeing those things. They are
so wrong and have encouraged so much crime it is sad.
That little sign informs every villain among us that
this is a place safe for them to commit atrocities.
Public rest areas that are the property of the state
have become havens for robbery and rapes. The various
convenience marts and banks that are posted, such as
Fifth Third bank and UDF, have seen a spate of armed
robberies. Why is anyone surprised that when you post
a no concealed carry sign that criminals will take
advantage of the disarmed victims available to them at
that venue? The restaurants that are posted due to
their liquor licenses have been a double whammy. The
restaurant itself is open to robbery, plus criminals
have made a hobby of watching people in their cars. If
you are bobbing back and forth like you are struggling
to take off a holster and appear to be placing
something of value, like a gun, somewhere in the car,
they will just wait until you go in, break you windows
and steal your gun. The State of Ohio, with this
ridiculous prohibition to carry in these
liquor-licensed restaurants, is assisting in the
arming of criminals with this ill thought out policy.

The law must be changed and brought in line with so
many other states that have allowed their citizens to
carry their handguns in a much wider array of places
for many years without issue. It should be our focus
to fix this flaw in law soon. Let criminals have no
safe place where they may operate in Ohio. Let’s
eliminate these criminal protection zones, and let’s
do it in the memory of our friend Vernon Ferrier. Let
us pay tribute to this man who did so much to help
return to us our God-given right of self-defense, a
right denied us so long. Vernon fought hard to be
able to carry his pistol and protect himself in his
barbershop. I think he would smile on these efforts to
expand the horizons of where we are safe from the
miscreants that walk in our midst. I think he would
appreciate it very much. I think it is a "thank you" to
him over due. So let’s get “Castle Doctrine” done in
’07 and focus on eliminating the victim zones in early
’08. I hope you will join us in this effort.

Tim Inwood is the current Legislative Liaison and Past
President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen
Association, an Endowment Member of the NRA, Life
Member of OGCA, and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms

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