Progress: We can only move forward together
By Tim Inwood
In the past four years, gun owners in Ohio have made amazing strides forward. After years of battling for concealed carry, we finally won in 2004. In 2006, we won major reforms with HB347. This year, we not only won the uphill battle for Castle Doctrine but many other important amendments were added that improved what was already a pretty good piece of legislation. We even saw passage of laws to help handicapped hunters with access to public grounds, so they too could enjoy the time-honored tradition of taking to the field for the hunt. As a group, the gun owning fraternity in Ohio has truly enjoyed advancement in our goals.
That said, there are additional things that need to be done. Granted, some of the needed changes are in Columbus, but I want to talk about something each and every one of us can do.
Trust your fellow gun owner.
For many years I have been bothered by the rivalries, if not latent hostility, some gun owners feel for one another. As someone who primarily shoots rifles and pistols, I was surprised when problems arose at my own gun club about a decade ago. We had a very active Skeet shooting group at the club, but Trap shooting had fallen by the way side. When a new group of Trap shooters joined the club en’masse, there was friction. After a rocky few years and many headaches, the bulk of the Trap shooters left. There were many reasons for this and I have always thought it was unfortunate that it ended this way.
Since passage of our concealed carry law, I have noted a new issue--gun owners who do not trust their fellow gun owner to carry a loaded firearm. Most these people I know who are uncomfortable with concealed carry are strictly shotgunners. There seems to be a general antipathy for things that shoot a single solid projectile.
Naturally, many places that attract gun owners have set up different rules for handling the situation. My own gun club, the CCFSA (http://ccfsa.com/), set up a rule that carrying a loaded firearm was fine, but it was to be holstered on your person in the clubhouse. This is, of course, quite acceptable. But I have learned some clubs still do not trust their CHL holders to carry a loaded firearm at their club. Brian Dover, who is a member of CCFSA and also the Miami Rifle and Pistol Association, tells me this is the case at Miami Rifle and Pistol; in fact he was so bothered by this he took the subject to their forums.
I found the response of the officers to be unfortunate. I really don’t understand it. They claim it is a safety issue, but that is the same fallacious logic used by Sarah Brady and Toby Hoover in their years of opposing concealed carry.
They need to realize that a CHL holder has undergone training and, quite frankly, if the State of Ohio thinks they are worthy to carry a firearm among the general population then there is no reason why they should not be allowed to carry on their club grounds. The safety record in Ohio among our CHL holding population has been quite good.
Many of the places I frequent, including gun shops, allow concealed carry. My pal Marty Dukorn has a sign on the front door of his gun shop, “WHB Hickock” near Clarksville Ohio, welcoming CHL holders to carry. John Clubb who has been a friend for many years operates the “Clubb House Arms” in Morrow. He handles helping us with our firearm transfers when the CCFSA hosts “Friends of the NRA” banquets. My friend Ralph Bryant who owns “Springboro Shooter Supply” in Springboro Ohio, proudly displays the Buckeye Firearms-produced green “CHL holders welcome” sign with a green ring around a handgun. These are people who get it, support our goals as gun owners and most certainly deserve our patronage.
Please don’t assume because someone is in the gun business that they are pro-gun. Back in the dark days of the Clinton years, I was in a shop in Centreville, Ohio on State Route 48. I got to talking to the owner, who was a rather caustic fellow. In the midst of our discussion he said he actually sent donations to Sarah Brady because he thought all the talk about gun control was good for business. I walked out and never went back. This is the sort of person and shop that does not deserve a dime of your money.
We gun owners have enough problems making inroads with the non-gun owning population. If they think we can not get along amongst ourselves, this certainly is not going to help. All we really do is provide ammo to the anti-gun movement and their ability to further frighten the already unnerved hoplophobes among us.
We as gun owners need to remember the great quote attributed to Ben Franklin from our Revolutionary War years: “We must all hang together or we shall most assuredly all hang separately”. United, gun owners are a strong voting block and we have made great progress. Divided, we will go nowhere and see our opposition take advantage of the moment and chip away at our rights. With the specter of a possible Obama Presidency in our future, can we afford such petty things?
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 Association.