OFCC to Ohio businesses: "[We] will obey your sign, but it will cost you money"

OFCC warned supporters about the next battleground in the concealed carry fight just hours after HB12 was signed into law. In Gun ban extremists' expected ''Business Blitz'' begins, we noted that Ohio's liberal media outlets were all-too willing to help "share the gospel" of business bans.

But as April 8 draws near, Ohio's media is placing a new, increasingly objective eye on this issue.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

OFCC has learned that despite claims of neutrality during the lobbying phase of HB12, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce is now encouraging businesses to ban:

The Bucyrus Telegraph Forum quotes a local chamber representative as saying that "the Ohio Chamber urged posting of the signs."

But is this really wise advice from this so-called conservative, supposedly pro-business organization?

Consider this segment from the Columbus Dispatch:

    Gun-rights advocates and some experts say incidents like that will happen with or without conceal-carry laws.

    "If someone is already the type of person to do this kind of activity, they’re carrying weapons already," said Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonpartisan research institute in Dallas. "Concealed carry-permit holders are probably the most law-abiding of citizens."

    "Anytime you prohibit someone from entering your store, you fear offending someone and pushing their business elsewhere," said Nate Willison, legislative-affairs director at the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. "It’s a very competitive market out there, whether you’re selling shoes, gasoline or anything else."

    Bob Maroldy of Gahanna said he plans to leave a "No Guns, No Money" card at businesses that don’t allow guns.

    The cards, being distributed by Ohioans for Concealed Carry, have been used in other states with conceal-carry laws. The Cleveland-based group also is keeping a "do not patronize" list on its Web site.

    The card says "You lost my business today and in the future." It also notes that conceal-carry-permit holders have no felony or drug convictions, have passed a criminal-background check and have no "mental defects or disabilities."

    "How much do you know about your other customers?" the card asks.

    Maroldy, a computer technician, said companies that don’t allow concealed weapons are doing employees and customers a disservice.

    "They’re denying them the means to defend themselves should something awful happen," he said.

In its coverage, the Youngstown Vindicator admits they will post signs banning CHL-holders. But they also went looking for signs in that crime-plagued city, and found many businesses are planning on keeping open doors to these most law-abiding of citizens.

    The Vindicator, using the premise of an errand-shopping excursion, checked a variety of locations to see where bearers of a concealed-carry license will be allowed to enter with a gun and where they won't. We chose to name our gun-toting shopper "Max."

    Max can enter any Farmers National Bank to cash his paycheck.

    "We are not going to post signs. We'll see how it develops in the business community and our industry," said spokesman Barb Fisher. "Many states have had [the law] on the books for a long time and it doesn't seem to be a big issue."

    After the bank, Max can pick up his dry cleaning at Dale Cleaners on Mahoning Avenue in Austintown.

    "I won't post a sign. Hopefully it won't become an issue," said owner Gary Marple. "I think the majority of people will be responsible. I don't foresee problems."

    Marple doesn't think posting signs will act as a deterrent, anyhow. "I think a lot of people don't pay attention to signs," he said.

The Toledo Blade tells the irony of a jeweler whose son, a police officer, has encouraged her to obtain a CHL. But unfortunately for LaDonna Harris, the owner of LaDonna's Gold and Silver at Lakeside Centre (formerly Northtowne Square Mall), her landlord plans to render her defenseless all over again.

"If somebody tucks a gun in his sock under his pant leg, how are you going to know? It's concealed," said Lori Rycz, mall property manager.

Exactly our point, Ms. Rycz. You can't stop the bad guys, and your boss is acting to endanger the good guys. And as the Blade notes, the nationwide retailer that is contributing to the downfall of many local retailers like Lakeside Centre "gets it":

    "People vote with their dollars," said Chad Baus of Archbold, spokesman for Ohioans for Concealed Carry. "If I have a local hardware store that won't let me carry a gun, and WalMart does, where am I going to buy my nuts and bolts?"

    Arkansas-based WalMart, which sells firearms and ammunition, remains friendly to concealed handguns.

    "We haven't experienced any problems in any state that has those laws," said corporate spokesman Sharon Webber. "If a handgun is concealed and the person is legally permitted to carry, it shouldn't present any problem. Once it becomes visible, it is no longer a concealed handgun, and we will ask that person to leave."

The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette unwittingly reveals that unfounded paranoia is the real reason for many of these bans:

    "I'm afraid with the increased accessibility of weapons, there is a possibility that workplace violence will increase," said Janice Kobi, executive director of the Abuse Prevention Fund.

    Contributing factors leading to violence include substance abuse and financial problems.

    "You get these emotionally charged people, and the workplace becomes a target for these types of events," she said. "No one is exempt from violence, and sometimes unresolved problems escalate. It can happen here at any workplace."

    Hilliard resident Deron McClelland doesn't agree workplace violence will increase.

    "(The law) is regulated very heavily so the people that are going to do violence and break laws aren't going to be the ones carrying concealed weapons," said the 27-year-old who works at FYE Music and Movies in River Valley Mall in Lancaster.

    McClelland lived in Alaska for six years. He said he has no problem with the new law.

    "It wasn't unusual to walk around the mall and see 10 or 12 people carrying guns," he said "I was a security guard at that time, and there was never any problem there."

The sponsor of HB12, Rep. Jim Aslanides, told the Gannett News Service that he thinks discriminatory signs are unsafe, not only in private businesses, but also on public buildings:

    Rep. Jim Aslanides, R-Coshocton, would like to see the prohibited places loosened a bit, particularly in public buildings.

    "What's the difference between a government building and a private place?" he said. "Criminals would know government buildings are a place where people can't defend themselves. We don't want those places targeted by the criminal."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has also told readers about efforts to discourage businesses from posting discriminatory signs:

    "The new law allows businesses to post signs prohibiting guns from the premises. But gun enthusiasts are working to dissuade them.

    Cards available on the Ohioans for Concealed Carry Web site proclaim, "No Guns - No Money." The idea is to hand out the cards to any businesses barring guns.

    "We want you as a business owner to know 'I will obey your sign, but it will cost you money today,' " group spokesman Irvine said."

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