Taft's willing media accomplices at it again

But the REAL story on how law-abiding CCW licenseholders are is being told in Michigan

Two weeks ago, OFCC learned that Gov. Taft had been trying to influence conference committee members to change provisions agreed upon by BOTH House and Senate - specifically the issues regarding protecting the privacy of Ohioans who apply for, and are granted or denied, CCW licenses.

Taft should know better than that.

According the legislative rules, the committee's scope is to focus only on the points of disagreement between the two chambers. 66 House Representatives and 22 Senators voted for the current language regarding protecting the privacy of applicants.

Taft may have realized he hit a dead-end in asking the committee to break the rules, but his willing media accomplices seem more than willing to carry the torch.

On Sunday, November 9, the Columbus Dispatch published a Taft-inspired op-ed entitled "Open Government - Courts get it right, but concealed-carry bill is a step backward ".

Three days later, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran their editorial - "Proposed law may hide more than just guns" - only they didn't bother to put it on the editorial page.

UPDATE: The Associated Press has picked up the Plain Dealer's story, meaning that it will be copied into local papers across the state in the next day or two.

It is true that the identities of those who apply for and are granted, denied or revoked, concealed-carry licenses would not be public information under HB12. The protection of privacy for persons who wish to exercise their constitutional right to self-defense is important for many reasons,
not the least of which is to prevent the creation of a de facto gun registration database. Further, anti-CCW media organizations like these could print persons' names and private information as a means of persecution, and to attempt to deter future applicants from running the same risks.

But the idea that we will be unable to know about crimes committed by license-holders (click on the "Read More..." link below here to read just how rare these incidents are in Michigan) is ludicrous.

Sec. 109.731. (D) states that "...Not later than the first day of March in each year, the commission shall submit a statistical report to the governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives indicating the number of those licenses that were issued, renewed,
suspended, revoked, and denied in the previous calendar year and the number
of applications for those licenses for which processing was suspended...in the previous calendar year. ...The statistics and the statistical report are public records for the purpose of section 149.43 of the Revised Code."

Other states have been providing similar statistics about their concealed carry laws for years. In nearly all states, less than 1% of licenses have to be revolked (and the vast majority of those are for reasons completely unrelated to misuse of a firearm). The overwhelming evidence shows that law-abiding citizens can be trusted with carrying firearms for self-defense.

Consider the following as proof of just how rare incidents of law-breaking are among concealed-carry license-olders are in Michigan.

The Lansing State Journal has printed yet another article proving that Michigan's concealed carry licenseholders are some of the most law-abiding citizens in our society. The entire article is archived below, but here are some quick highlights:

Since Michigans' CCW law went into effect in July, 2001:
.35% of Michigan permit-holders have been CHARGED with crimes.

.21% convicted of the crime they were charged with.

Of the 313 charged, 62% (196) used their firearms in the incident for which they
were charged. All but 6 of those were convicted.

As the Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed out with Florida, and again as the State Journal points out here, there are examples of abuse, however obscure, in the overall scheme of things. But anecdotal evidence seems all the anti's have to hold onto need these days, since they're loosing on the over all statistical front.
Overall, this article points to a net positive for Michigan: "Visions of gun-toting Michiganians creating a Wild West on Saginaw Avenue haven't come to pass since the state's concealed weapons law took effect more than two years ago."

We know we'll be reading stories just like this one, even in liberal papers like the Plain Dealer, Dispatch, and Dayton Daily News, in the years after HB12 becomes law.

Some permit holders have committed crimes since law changed in '01
November 10, 2003
Lansing State Journal

Visions of gun-toting Michiganians creating a Wild West on Saginaw Avenue haven't come to pass since the state's concealed weapons law took effect more than two years ago.

But there have been several incidents involving permit holders, including a rape in Kent County, several assaults and numerous brandishing charges.

"There have been some problems, but overall it's not what people expected," said Michigan State Police Sgt. Greg Varotney.

Of the 90,369 Michiganians permitted to carry concealed weapons between July 1, 2001, and Nov. 3, 313 have been charged with crimes, according to violation reports filed with the state police. Of those, 190 have been convicted, and 196 of the crimes were committed either while using or carrying the licensed gun:

In Kent County, a 9-year-old girl was raped at gunpoint in December by a 63-year-old man who had a concealed weapons permit for that gun. The Kentwood man is serving three to 15 years in Hiawatha Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula.

A Ferndale man was arrested in July 2001 for felonious assault after pulling a .38-caliber Colt handgun on two associates in Troy. The man, a concealed-weapons permit holder, argued with the two men over debris in a lot he was going to lease them.

A road-rage incident in March 2002 led to an Ann Arbor man threatening a 23-year-old woman with his concealed weapon.

In the tri-county area, two permit holders have been charged with domestic assault, 10 have been charged with various alcohol-related offenses, and three were charged with carrying a gun while committing or attempting to commit a felony crime.

Crimes involving concealed weapons are what Quenda Story worried about when the permit law took effect in 2001.

"I was afraid people who commit crimes would get gun permits and people who are violent to their families would get them, and it sounds like they have," the Okemos woman said.

But Bruce Gelispie, 49 of Lansing said crimes have been few compared to the number of permits out there. He points to the good guys who have thwarted crime by having concealed weapons.

Like Robert Carini, a Grand Rapids taxi driver who pulled his Glock 27 .40- caliber handgun and fired two shots into the air moments before police arrived to arrest a would-be robber in June 2002.

"People opposed to this law should be more worried about the criminals out there doing crime," he said, "not good people paying their taxes and protecting themselves."

Click here to read the story in the Lansing State Journal.

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