Cop out: Is behavior of Canton police officer a good reason not to get a concealed handgun license?

by Gerard Valentino

Recently, I got an email from a "friend" that said the video of the Canton cop berating a concealed handgun license holder is yet another reason why he doesn't get a CHL. It was another in a long line of reasons my friend used to rationalize his decision to not get a license to carry.

First, he didn't want the government to know he had a gun, and the license put him on a list. Then, the car carry rules were too hard to follow. As the car carry rules were slowly reformed, he claimed the obligation to notify a law enforcement officer if he was carrying violated his rights.

All of his reasons sound reasonable and I agree in principle.

Except by waiting to get his license, my friend let other gun owners put their neck on the line and is willing to accept the benefits.

Let me start by saying my friend has every right not to get his license – after all, this is America. The problem I have is his compulsion to justify his decision.

Below is the email I sent to my friend in response to his latest excuse. It is unedited, and these are my personal feelings, they are not an official position of Buckeye Firearms Association.

To my friend:

What I would ask you would the cop have reacted if you were carrying without a CHL? [Editor's Note - thanks to a recently-released dash cam video from July 2010 involving the same officer threarning the life of an unlicensed person with a gun in his car, Valentino's prescient question can now be answered in living color.] Also, do you want to let the actions of one jerk cop be the difference between you having a gun for self defense, or not having a gun for self defense?

That means you are letting government oppression dictate how you live your life. Not something I would

The way I see it, people that don't want to get a license because they might get treated like this are using it as a cop out. Hell, you might be treated like this because a cop doesn't like your long hair, or a host of other reasons. A jerk cop is going to treat you poorly no matter what.

The majority of good cops are going to treat you fairly.

So, I guess we will have to disagree on this issue - in a friendly manner of course.

The other piece of the puzzle is for every person that refuses to get a CHL, we are that less likely to get to the point where you can carry without a license, etc. The politicians are only concerned with us because we have 225,000 license holders at this point. If everyone that "wants" to get a license actually gets one, we become much more powerful, and have a much better chance of getting the law fixed so cops can't do this.

As long as the media can portray us as a small vocal group, we will always have trouble. However, if instead of 225,000 license holders we had 750,000, they couldn't do that.

When I go to the Statehouse, I go only 225,000 strong because people get a Florida license, or don't get one at all. Instead, I should be going as 750,000 strong.

People who refuse to get a license in Ohio are holding everyone back. It is hurting us because the media can say Ohio has millions of gun owners and only a small fraction have their license - meaning the CHL crowd is a fringe group.

Plus, it also means the people willing to run the risk are doing it for the chickens who refuse to take the risk. That bothers me - a lot. As the law slowly improves the fair weather gun owners get their license. I have no respect for those people and have said so to their face in my CHL class.

If they were truly dedicated, they would help out by running the risk of one dickhead cop for the good of the cause. Our Founding Fathers risked much more than being berated by a jerk cop. People fail to realize the personal risk I took in organizing the Open Carry Defense Walks (and the other organizers around the state too). I could have ended up in jail, or worse and I have a family.

I am sorry, my friend, but I can't agree with you on this one. To steal the cliche, freedom isn't free and this CHL holder actually did the cause a service. We can use this case to force change.

If he didn't have his license, and if people aren't willing to accept a little risk, guess what will happen?


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.

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