Two anti-gun editorials won't change surge of public support for gun rights

by Gerard Valentino

The Columbus Dispatch and The Toledo Blade editorial boards have recently ramped up their anti-gun rhetoric with two editorials attacking Ohio's pro-gun community. One spoke out against a bill that would make it illegal for employers to ban guns locked in personally owned vehicles while at work (The Columbus Dispatch, "Taking guns to work"), and the other attacked Ohio's non-resident concealed carry licensing laws (The Toledo Blade, "Mail-order gun permits").

On the surface, The Dispatch and The Blade arguments against letting employees keep guns in their cars and letting Ohioans use the non-resident licensing process to legally carry guns appear compelling.

Unfortunately, the case put forth by both lacks one important component – a factual basis.

It seems logical that letting employees keep guns in their cars is a bad idea because of the heightened emotions that often occur in the workplace. After all, an employee could easily get fired, head out to the car, grab the gun and go on a killing spree, right?

But, despite The Dispatch's admission that several states made employer parking lot bans illegal, the recent editorial didn't mention a single instance where it led to tragedy. You can be sure that if it happened elsewhere, The Dispatch would make that the centerpiece of their anti-gun crusade.

Instead, the usual anti-gun conjecture was tossed around as fact.

The same holds true for the stance against letting Ohioans carry guns through another state's non-resident licensing process. There isn't a single case of someone who used the non-resident option unlawfully using a gun in a crime.

So, once again we have a group of establishment media elites trying to talk down to Ohioans and dictate public policy on a "need to know basis." That means Ohioans only need to know the limited information The Dispatch and Toledo Blade need to support their biased positions.

When the concealed carry debate raged in Ohio, The Dispatch and The Blade were two of the media outlets run by old-style elitist journalists that predicted mayhem if Ohioans were allowed to carry guns. They also predicted gun-related disaster whenever a pro-gun reform was enacted. As of yet, the gun-fueled murderous rampages haven't materialized as promised by the anti-gun minority in Ohio.

Even now, the elitist mainstream media argues that letting honest citizens carry concealed guns is a bad idea. And letting Ohioans have more options to carry in a vehicle is a disaster waiting to happen.

We are supposed to believe that just because newspaper editorial boards claim something is a bad idea, it is therefore a bad idea, regardless of whether the statistical and anecdotal evidence prove otherwise.

Of course that means we have to forget that The Columbus Dispatch, Toledo Blade and other mainstream media outlets were wrong every step along the way in regard to legal concealed carry. Ohioans also have to accept that a group of people with no knowledge of guns, and who think gun owners are uncivilized, toothless ruffians have insight into how gun owners think.

A lack of proper research techniques and the biased presumptions The Dispatch and The Blade have taken on the gun issue over the years make it easy to classify any position they take as useless. That isn't too strong a way to describe organizations that know nothing about the gun culture and still profess a high level of expertise on how guns affect society. Ohioans also need to conveniently forget the horrible track record The Dispatch has in predicting the public safety effects of more permissive self-defense laws.

In the minds of The Dispatch and The Blade editorial boards, guns are a societal evil and private gun ownership needs to be eradicated regardless of the true effect guns have on society. Only the high-powered gun lobby and spineless politicians are blind to the obvious fact that guns cause irreparable damage to public safety.

To reach that conclusion, the decision-makers at these newspapers chose to use rhetorical sleight of hand to prop up a biased, unfounded and wrongheaded public policy position. They also filled both editorials with words like should, could, might or possibly – but very few definite examples of permissive gun laws leading to direct public safety threats.

At this point, however, few Ohioans are convinced by the anti-gun rhetoric because they lived through the debate and then the aftermath of legalized concealed carry. Today, Ohioans go about their business without having to dodge bullets in the Walmart parking lot, being forced to wear a bullet-proof vest while walking to the curb to get their mail or drive an armored car to work.

So it isn't a shock that the average Ohioan no longer values the word of the state's editorial boards.

Ohioans are sick of self-righteous media elitists tossing around accusations that law-abiding gun owners are circumventing the concealed carry license process, or that choosing to carry a gun for self-defense is deviant behavior.

Pro-gun wins at the ballot box, in the legislature and in the court of public opinion prove once again that mainstream media outlets are losing their hold on the public.

Gerard Valentino was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, is a member of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Board of Directors and the author of "The Valentino Chronicles – Observations of a Middle Class Conservative," available through the Buckeye Firearms Association store..

[UPDATE Sept. 7, 2010: The Akron Beacon-Journal has decided to join the party: Parking heat - The gun lobby takes aim at businesses]

[UPDATE Sept. 8, 2010: The Cleveland Plain Dealer has also decided to oppose the civil rights of workers in Ohio: Take-your-gun-to-work bill is cynical Ohio electioneering]

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