These extremists & businesses want you to remain defenseless

Pro-self-defense law enforcement officers and women, as well as the other "good guys", seemed to steal the show this week’s Senate hearings, even in the media. But lest we become over-confident, it bears noting that the anti-self-defense extremists are still spouting their rhetoric.

Last week, we had to "translate Toby". This week, it was more of the same from a troop of "Chicken Little’s", who warn that despite it’s high position across the nation, the sky will fall in Ohio if HB12 passes.

All summaries of testimony are paraphrases, unless provided in quotation marks. The facts are presented below each persons’ testimony in blue.

On Tuesday, May 20, opponent testimony was offered by an Ohio State University assistant professor, and the mother of a woman injured at the CWRU shooting.

Assistant Prof. Ken Steinman, of the Ohio State University's School of Public Health, told Senators that there is no proof that crime is reduced by concealed carry laws (quoting homicide rates from neighboring states as evidence). He claimed that this entire notion is based on the research of one man, John Lott, whose research was flawed. Steinman told Senators that even another pro-gun researcher, Gary Kleck, "says Lott’s work is falicious," but then went on to explain why Kleck’s work couldn’t be trust either. Sen. Schuring was able to get Steinman to admit that "empirical evidence can be found to show both sides." Schuring told the assistant professor that at the end of the day, this debate was not about statistics, but rather about recognizing people’s the right to choose if they wish to defend themselves.

Steinman used his own list of truly discredited researchers in his attempt to prove his case (with one exception: he did not use Michael Bellesiles, who was fired from Emory University, and had an esteemed award taken away after he was proven to have falsified his research he used to claim guns weren’t commonly owned in the 18th century, supporting the notion that the Second Amendment is only a collective, not an individual, right). Notably, the assistant professor used homicide rates to attempt to prove his claim that crime is not effected in states neighboring Ohio, not violent crime rates. In addition, he cited Michigan statistics since 1997, but Michigan residents did not get their carry law until 2000. Finally, Steinman’s claim that John Lott is the sole basis for claiming that crime goes down as a result of concealed carry laws is ludicrous. A large number of academics, including some who began their research as self-described "pro-gun control" researchers, have done their own work and found results similar to Lott’s.

• Eleanor Helper testified as the mother of Susan Helper, an economics professor and one of two injured by the Biswanath Halder at CWRU. Helper told Senators she has become an "instant advocate for gun control." Addressing those who attempt to employ common sense in the search for future methods of prevention, Helper said that while some would say her daughter could have defended herself if she’d had a gun, "what chance would she really have had against a man with two semi-automatics handguns?"

We wish Susan Helper had never been victimized, and we don’t think it was her fault. While it is true that being armed would have afforded her a chance greater than ZERO to defend herself (which is what chance being defenseless provided her), no one should have to be made a victim. Both Helper women are clearly new to the debate, because they seem to have the misunderstanding that semi-automatic handguns are the same as a full-auto, as well as the purpose for hollow-point bullets. In addition, they have been led to believe that laws like the ones which failed to stop Biswanath Halder (like the ten year old assault weapons ban, Cleveland’s assault weapons ban, and Ohio’s concealed weapons ban) would somehow prevent future attacks. But the truth is, Halder could have killed more people by starting a fire than he managed to do with his firearms and sledgehammer.

On Wednesday, May 21, opponent testimony was offered by representatives of the Million Mom March, the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, and others:

• The president of the Million Mom March’s Cleveland chapter, Lori O’Neill, is still hitting on the business angle. This week, she repeated claims that HB12 presents concerns that businesses would be found in violation of OSHA if they allow license-holders on their property. O’Neill provided Senators with a form letter from five Cleveland businesses who oppose HB12, and claimed that "more are coming." She also made the claim that real estate agents don’t want HB12 to become law, and essentially explained away a proponent’s story about a real estate agent who was brutally murdered while showing a house by inferring it was the agent’s own fault for not running when she sensed she was in danger.

OSHA itself says that there is NO OSHA concern. According to Jeff Lewis, Safety and Occupational Health Manager, of Region 6 of OSHA, has told Ohioans For Concealed Carry that OSHA has no policy or the authority to regulate firearms in the workplace. Should an employer choose to allow firearms in the workplace, Lewis says, he would be under no violation of any OSHA regulation or guideline. Perhaps O’Neill’s insensitivity to the brutal beating death of a real estate agent should be expected, given her willingness to hold a press conference exploiting the CWRU shooting before the victim was even laid to rest, but her tasteless inference that it was the agent’s own fault even seemed to shock the Senators.

The following Ohio businesses signed their names to a form letter opposing the state’s recognition of your right to self-defense via HB12:

Orient Overseas Container Line Ltd. (OOCL - USA, Inc.) - based in Communist Chinese Hong Kong
6155 Rockside Rd., Ste. 402
Independence, OH 44131
p. (216) 901-5460
f. (216) 901-5470

Letter signed by: Larry Zgrabik, Director, TPT Trade (National Accounts)

Omni Realty Companies
Chagrin Building
29225 Chagrin Blvd. #250
Pepper Pike, OH 44122
p. (800) 292-6944
f. (216) 514-1960

Letter signed by: Chris Fine

The Blonder Company (Blonder Home Design)
3950 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44155
p. (216) 431-3560

Letter signed by: Frank Sterling, President

Security Voice, Inc.
3496 Shouffer Rd. Ste. 225
Columbus, OH 43235
f. (614) 760-2828

Letter signed by: Robert McCurdy, President

Heinen’s Fine Foods (Inc.)
4540 Richmond Rd.
Warrensville Hts., OH 44128
p. (216) 475-2300
f. (216) 514-4788

Letter signed by: Tom Heinen

• Amy Thompson, director of education and research for the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, expressed concern that the measure does not require individuals to train with the weapon they plan to carry. “How proficient can they be with a weapon that they haven’t trained with?” She also mirrored OSU Prof. Ken Steinman’s claim that murder rates are higher in states with CCW laws. But Sens. Austria, Schuring and Herington all took her to task, inquiring if she had before and after stats for those states. She admitted she did not. Senator Herington expressed incredulity that Thompson claimed no such information existed. Senator Fedor engaged Thompson in a long string of what appeared to be preplanned questions and answers about the need for more training and background checks, and made statements to the effect that she does not believe the rape statistics provided by proponents (OFCC).

Thompson’s claims about the lack of statistics about before and after stats on homicide rates in CCW states is absolutely false. A study by David E. Olson and Michael D. Maltz, entitled "Right-to-Carry Concealed Weapon Laws and Homicide in Large U.S. Counties: The Effect on Weapon Types, Victim Characteristics, and Victim-Offender Relationships" (along with six other studies proving violent crime is reduced by CCW laws) can be viewed by clicking here.

• Michael Pearson, an attorney and partner at Duvin, Cahn & Hutton in Cleveland, claimed that HB12 clearly favors license-holders over businesses, and claimed that it would prevent businesses from firing someone from carrying a firearm on their property. He also told Senators that there is not enough liability protection in HB12 for businesses, saying HB12 will “keep me in business", but said he still opposes it.

Pearson’s claims are incorrect. Under HB12, businesses will retain the same privileges to hire and fire they now have. If a person violates company policy regarding firearms possession, there is NOTHING in HB12 that dictates how businesses may choose to handle disciplinary measures. Secondly, we beg to ask Mr. Pearson how businesses could be given any more liability protection than the absolute blanket protection they will receive under HB12? Senator Schuring took Pearson to task on his claim, asking “isn’t it true that the liability issues in this state go far beyond the scope of the bill? This has nothing to do with HB12, right? Pearson was forced to admit that Sen. Schuring was correct, but added "this creates new issues."

• Greg Vergamini, who spoke on behalf of the the Ohio Manufacturers Association, mirrored the position of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, which is to say OMA is neutral on HB12, but opposes the "parking lot exception".

It is unfortunate that business groups like these, which traditionally lean to a more conservative platform politically, have been high-jacked by paranoia created by trial lawyers and the Million Mom March. Ohioans For Concealed Carry is working with both organizations, as well as the Senate committee, to alleviate fears created by perceived problems, where no problems exist.

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