Early opponents to SB239 singing the same tired song

By Chad D. Baus

Many of the usual characters have come out with early opposition to SB239, Ohio's restaurant carry and car carry reform bill.

But after years of hearing the same old, tired warnings, and years of experience which prove their predictions false, I'm hopeful their predictably dire warnings, some of which are outlined below, will be given much less attention in the Statehouse this year.

What They're Saying:

  • Mark Drum, legislative chairman for the state branch of the Fraternal Order of Police
  • These new changes, Drum said, were not made with input from the FOP and will not have the union's support.

    After reading this quote, from the Marion Star, Ken Hanson, who serves as Buckeye Firearms Association's legislative chair, responded:

    "I cannot recall an instance when the political leadership of the FOP has been consulted on a bill and then supported the easing of self-defense laws in Ohio. (i.e. laws that allow citizens to become less dependent upon the police for personal protection.)

    "Quite the opposite," he continued. "Many of the 'poison pill' provisions that gun owners still complain about have FOP political fingerprints all over them. Fortunately, the feedback we get from the rank and file FOP members - those that actually perform police functions (versus union functions) on a day to day basis - is overwhelmingly supportive."

    Drum also told the Star:

    "Even if (permit holders) are not drunk, it's not a good idea to mix alcohol and guns," he said.

    The Star apparently didn't ask Drum if he'd bothered to read the bill, which does not affect the current law that prohibits someone from possessing a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • Toby Hoover, Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence
  • When the Ohio media are looking for an anti-gun viewpoint, they call Mrs. Toby Hoover, who often appears to be the Ohio gun ban lobby's one-woman show.

    During the long debate over passing Ohio's concealed carry law, Hoover warned that "If we have more use of guns, then we're going to have more people who are injured and die," and "A person who has a gun sees danger. We will have more shootings, more accidents."

    But she was wrong.

    During the debate over Ohio's Castle Doctrine law, Hoover asked "what if a 12 year-old Girl Scout and her mother go up to someone's door, and the homeowner shoots them?", warning that "The bill would allow gun carriers to shoot first, claiming self-defense anywhere they are. Be careful how you appear to others, as you might be perceived as a threat."

    But she was wrong.

    Despite her lack of any credibility when it comes to predicting how firearms law will affect society, the media dutifully placed their calls to Hoover again when they learned of the introduction of SB239:

    "I am sure those who want to do this will claim they will never drink and they won't when they are carrying their guns," said Toby Hoover, the [Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence] group's executive director. "But people who carry guns everyday say they will never misuse them, and they do. And then there's always the fact that someone next to them can even take their gun and use it."

    The Cincinnati Enquirer, which published the above quote, apparently failed to ask Hoover to verify her assertion that license-holders misuse guns every day.

    Hoover also told Toledo's CBS affiliate, WTOL:

    "If I am going to take my children and my family to a restaurant then I don't want to be sitting next to people that are carrying guns."

    When I'm going to the bank, I don't want to be standing next to an armed robber, either, but the fact is that with or without this law, Hoover and the rest of us have absolutely no control over who around us has a gun or any other weapon. And that is why some of us choose to be prepared.

    When it comes to the proposed changes to the car carry restrictions, the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette notes that Hoover isn't sure why the current restrictions are too cumbersome for gun owners.

    "We see how people drive; do we really want guns floating around in the car? And, again, what's the necessity there?" she said.

    To answer her question, consider the section of the law that many women are forced to labor under to carry a handgun in their motor vehicle (from the The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws, by Ken Hanson):

    (4) in a closed case, bag, box, or other container that is in plain sight and that has a lid, a cover, or a closing mechanism with a zipper, snap, or buckle, (no Velcro!!??)
    which lid, cover, or closing mechanism must be opened (i.e. the container was "closed" but not "locked") for a person to gain access to the handgun.

    As Hanson notes, this is what happens when you let a committee write the definition of "purse."

    Hoover also told the Dayton Daily-News the proposed changes are "a little bit ridiculous":

    "This is not what people want," said Hoover. "It doesn't have anything to do with gun owners. It has to do with common sense."

    But isn't it obvious that Mrs. Hoover has long-since fallen out of touch with "what people want?"

    Judging by the news reports, there are also bound to be a few new faces uttering anti-gun statements.

  • Richard Mason, lobbyist and spokesman for the Ohio Restaurant Association
  • "We simply feel that alcohol and guns are not a good mix," Mason said.

    After reading this quote, also from the Star article, Buckeye Firearms Association legislative chair Ken Hanson, responded, "if the Ohio Restaurant Association's members are currently serving booze to their unarmed customers to this point of intoxication - the point where the presence of a sober concealed handgun license-holder minding their own business is going to create a danger - then they should be educating their member establishments to stop serving such excessive amounts of alcohol to their unarmed patrons.

    And finally there is this, from Dayton's FOX affiliate:

  • Barry Cobb, the manager of Milano's Restaurant on Brown Street in Dayton
  • "Alcohol and fireweapons (sic) never mix together well," said Cobb. "Policemen are, of course, allowed to, but I mean, that's ok."

    Cobb was also quoted as saying that if the law passes, he'll just post signs letting gun owners they can't come in (i.e. he apparently doesn't want their business. And if he doesn't want our business then, why should gun owners give it to him now?)

    Each time Ohio has moved to improve its self-defense laws, we are forced to endure Chicken Little predictions from the likes of Cobb, Hoover, Drum and Mason. And each and every time we overcome their objections and pass a law, the sky does not fall.

    And so it shall be again.

    Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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