Letter writers set newspapers straight on anti-concealed carry editorial

(Note: This story has been updated to reflect the publishing of additional letters.)

On November 19, 2009, the Hamilton News-Journal and Middletown Journal, sister papers which are both owned by Cox Ohio Publishing, responded to an anti-concealed carry report issued by the Violence Policy Center ("Concealed Carry Killers") by running an unsigned editorial entitled "Tracking a bad law's aftermath."

In the editorial, the anonymous writers asserted that concealed carry permit-holders are, at the very least, vigilantes with "macho fantasies" and at worst, potential mass murders. The editorial unquestioningly repeated many of the vehemently anti-gun VPC's allegations as fact, and saying they were "glad someone is trying to keep a tally of the carnage."

The editorial has since been run in several other Ohio newspapers, including the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette (a Gannett Co. newspaper), and the Ravenna Record Publisher, which is owned by Dix Communications. Only the Record Publisher gave attribution to another paper when they republished the editorial on their website.

At long last, both the Journal-News and Middletown Journal have published letters to the editor that were written in response to the editorial.

From a Nov. 27 letter to the Hamilton Journal-News:

In the Hamilton Journal News' Nov. 16 editorial "Tracking a bad law's aftermath," the closing statement reads, "We're glad someone is trying to keep a tally of the carnage." The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "carnage" as "great and usually bloody slaughter or injury (as in battle)." Anytime there is loss of life, it is sad and terribly unfortunate; however, 77 sporadic deaths out of 300 million people can hardly be defined as "carnage."

There are bad people everywhere and they will continue to use whatever they can get their hands on to kill. ... Should we ban the concealed carry of box openers and pocket knives to prevent these deaths? ...

What exactly was the point of this editorial? What I see is either a huge misunderstanding about firearms and permit holders, or the folks at the Violence Policy Center and the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence clearly have an agenda to manipulate public opinion about concealed carry or just guns in general.

Most people fear what they don't understand. Once a person buys into the fear, they often push their misguided or uninformed beliefs upon the rest of the world. Just about everyone I know owns a firearm and some have (conceal-carry) permits. I have yet to hear any of them speak about the "macho fantasy" presented in the editorial.

What I do hear them speak of is the fear of car jacking, robbery, rape, murder, etc. Carriers dread any situation which would require them to pull out their weapon; nor do they want the tidal wave of activity that would follow the use of that weapon.

I am certain of one thing: All legal gun owners would rather be "judged by 12 than carried by six." ...

Terrance Huff

From a Dec. 3 letter to the Middletown Journal:

Your Nov. 20 editorial, titled "Tracking a bad law's aftermath," contained so many misconceptions and outright falsehoods that it cannot go unchallenged.

You say that it is a myth that concealed weapons laws in Ohio and other states make us safer. The truth is that violent crimes against law-abiding citizens have dropped where concealed-carry has been enacted. Certainly there has not been blood in the streets, as predicted by opponents of concealed-carry.

You refer to a Web site of the Washington-based Violence Policy Center that keeps track of news reports involving concealed-carry permit holders. The VPC is an anti-gun group whose purpose is to undermine the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Even if you believe the accuracy of their reports, the numbers they cite of crimes committed by concealed-carry permit holders is miniscule in relation to the number of permit holders.

The truth is that permit holders commit far fewer crimes than the population as a whole. The reason for that is that all permit holders are non-criminals who have been investigated and cleared by county sheriffs. Here in Butler County, the number of permit holders is well over a thousand and — in the five years that the law has been in effect — there has been no wave of crime committed by persons legally carrying a concealed weapon. If there had been, it would certainly have been a front-page story in your newspaper. ...

Your belief that a concealed-carry law would lead to blood in the streets turned out to be false. The truth is that nothing of the sort happened. With all of the evidence against you, you had to resort to accusing permit holders of having "macho" fantasies.

The truth is that permit holders are simply law-abiding people who want the ability to protect themselves and their families. Your accusation that they consider "innocent shooting victims to be collateral damage in the quest to eliminate gun control laws" is blatantly false. Attributing false positions to people that you disagree with does not undermine their true position. It is simply evidence of the weakness of your own.

Two of the primary principles in concealed-carry training are:

• Make every effort to avoid confrontation. Lethal force is the very last resort.

• Make absolutely sure that no innocent person is endangered by your actions.

William K. Law

And finally, from a Dec. 4 letter to the Hamilton Journal-News:

Hamilton JournalNews editors call the idea of concealed-carry laws saving lives a “myth” and a “macho fantasy.” The truth, however, is that it is neither myth nor fantasy.

More than 30 cases in which a concealed handgun license-holder was able to protect their own life or the life of another have been documented at BuckeyeFirearms.org. These, too, like the four cases mentioned by the Violence Policy Center, were pulled from news accounts. Countless more are never covered by the media, because a shot never had to be fired.

To their credit, the Hamilton JournalNews editors admit that having a license had little, if anything, to do with the four incidents where a person with a license committed a crime. On the other hand, having a license has everything to do with the 30-plus cases of innocent lives being saved.

More than 150,000 Ohioans are licensed to carry concealed handguns. Less than one-half of 1 percent of those licensed have been revoked for any reason. The statistics prove Ohio (permit) holders are more law-abiding than the general population. Tally that.

Chad D. Baus

Editor's note: The letter writer is vice chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

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