How They See Us: Ohio's police lobbying organizations vs. the law-abiding gun owner
by Gerard Valentino
The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) and other police lobbying organizations continue to protest every pro-gun bill introduced in Ohio. Their record includes opposition to legal concealed carry, Castle Doctrine, concealed carry in cars, and now they are opposing legal carry in restaurants.
As each pro-gun reform was introduced, police lobbying organizations assured Ohioans that giving law-abiding citizens more leeway in how they carry guns will lead to an epidemic of dead law enforcement officers. Each time, their position ignores the fact that similar laws are already in place across America without a threat to law enforcement officers, or the general public.
The only possible explanation for opposing every gun reform bill by claiming it will lead to violence against police officers is that law enforcement lobbying groups don't see a distinction between a common street thug and a law-abiding citizen.
Ohioans should be outraged that these lobbying organizations consider everyone without a badge to be in the same category as crack dealers, mass murderers and psychopaths.
By taking the position that civilians are nothing more than criminals who haven't yet been arrested, the FOP and similar groups are trying to increase the status of law enforcement at the expense of the citizenry. In effect, their position makes it clear that only people with a badge can be trusted.
The position taken by groups like the FOP stands in stark contrast to the viewpoint of rank and file law enforcement officers who are well represented among the pro-gun community, and are in favor of legal concealed carry.
By using the threat of dastardly crimes against law enforcement officers as a political billy- club, groups like the Fraternal Order of Police are guilty of emotional blackmail. Just as the anti-gun groups use emotional blackmail when they promise the streets will be littered with dead babies unless the private ownership of firearms is destroyed.
This is proof that the FOP and OACP are willing to sink to any level, or say anything, to sway public opinion and win, regardless of the cost.
Despite the FOP and OACP claims to the contrary, crime statistics tell us that concealed carry license holders are dedicated to understanding and following the law. That means the same law- abiding citizens vilified by the Fraternal Order of Police lobbyists are traditionally the strongest supporters of rank-and-file law enforcement officers, and strongly support pro-law enforcement issues.
Pro-gun lobbyists also refuse to equate all law enforcement officers with the few who commit heinous crimes, and the FOP and similar groups should afford law-abiding Ohioan's the same courtesy. Instead, Ohioans have their integrity questioned each time the FOP questions whether citizens can be trusted not to kill cops.
We already know that criminals are unlikely to give law enforcement the credit they deserve, but rank-and-file law enforcement officers deserve the full support of every law-abiding Ohioan, just as law- abiding citizens deserve the full support of law enforcement lobbying groups.
Instead, people like Mark Drum, the FOP lobbyist, and his cohorts do everything possible to paint Ohioans as untrustworthy, irresponsible and dangerous. He even claimed at one point that Ohio's concealed carry license-holders would use quick draw holsters to ambush law enforcement officers during traffic stops.
Mr. Drum has never backed up his assertion that Ohio's concealed carry community is made up of cop killers, and Ohio's anti-gun media never forces him to prove his absurd assertion.
In the end, FOP and OACP lobbyists will not change the respect the citizens of Ohio show toward law enforcement officers. But, it should change the way Ohioans see, and treat, groups like the FOP who routinely solicit donations from the very people they clearly despise.
There are other organizations that help fallen law enforcement officers and refuse to take part in hate-filled rhetoric directed against law-abiding citizens by the likes of Mark Drum. Most notable is The Shield (theshieldohio.org), which deserves the unconditional support of Ohio's law-abiding community, and the concealed carry community in particular. The Shield advocates for law enforcement officers without attacking the integrity of Ohio's law- abiding citizens.
By disrespecting Ohioans, the FOP and OACP deserve to be treated with scorn.
Gerard Valentino 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.