Ohio Anti-Gun Activists Testify in Favor of “Gun Free Zones”
Anti-Second Amendment activists turned out in force to an Ohio House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing last week to lodge complaints against House Bill 231 (HB 231), a proposal to expand Ohioans' concealed carry rights.
Introduced by Rep. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) last year, HB 231 would limit what Maag refers to as "unarmed victim zones" across Ohio, where individuals are currently prohibited by state law from carrying firearms.
If HB 231 were enacted, places of worship, public schools, certain government buildings, and other spaces would no longer automatically be "gun free zones," but property owners and local officials would be free to designate them "gun free" as they see fit.
In the bill's second hearing before the Judiciary committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Butler (R-Oakwood), anti-gun activists warned that the bill was part of a larger strategy to increase violence across America at the behest of firearm manufacturers seeking to maximize profits.
Rosie Craig, a representative of the increasingly left-wing League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWVO), disparaged the "supposed right" of Ohioans to defend themselves using firearms, claiming that HB 231 was "part of a wider movement to continually weaken" gun control efforts.
Under questioning from Rep. Matt Lynch (R-Bainbridge Twp.), Craig admitted that LWVO believes citizens generally cannot be trusted with firearms. Craig said LWVO is "opposed to the proliferation of firearms" in all forms.
Speaking of her own involvement in the City of Oberlin's attempts to enforce gun control measures conflicting with state law, Craig complained that peacefully demonstrating open-carry activists were "bullying" people by "[walking] around with a loaded gun, [saying] 'I have a gun.'"
Richard King, another gun control advocate, said that "more guns make more money for the gun industry," opining that gun owners were more likely to be violent individuals wishing "to feel macho and become a warrior hero."
Upper Arlington high school student Kevin Whitfield told the committee that he often becomes "nervous" around firearms, even when carried by police officers or other government authorities. Whitfield said he believed Second Amendment rights "should be limited by our government, not expanded."
David Eggert, leader of Cleveland-based anti-Second Amendment organization "God Before Guns," testified that he believes "'law-abiding citizens' are frightening," suggesting that gun owners may become mass murderers if they were "told they are not welcome with their guns" in an establishment.
Accompanied to the hearing by Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) Regional Director Patrick Barnacle, Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (OCAGV) founder Toby Hoover echoed previous witnesses' sentiments, claiming "there is just no need" for Ohioans to be allowed to carry firearms.
Hoover complained about what she views as an excessive amount of pro-gun legislation passed in Ohio in recent years.
Rep. Butler and most of the House Judiciary Committee appeared to be unmoved by the anti-firearm activists' dire warnings and accusations of conspiracy.
During each round of testimony, Butler questioned witnesses on their knowledge of Ohio's existing concealed carry and open carry rules. Butler told Media Trackers that he felt their responses proved they were "not very familiar" with the concepts they professed expertise in.
Rep. Butler noted that he "thought there was a lot of testimony, passionate testimony, on both sides of the issue, and that's a good thing."
At least one more hearing is required before the committee can vote on HB 231 and potentially send the proposal to the House floor for a vote.
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