Ohio can learn a lot by studying CCW successes (and mistakes) in other states
Tennessee's Eight Successful Years of CCW; Anti's STILL Warning of ''Wild, Wild West"
The State of Tennessee passed its shall-issue CCW law in 1994, and the program has been a rousing success. According to state, over 130,000 permits have been issued in the past 8 years, violent crime has fallen, and criminal incidents involving permit holders are virtually nonexistent, and unrelated to their status as a permit holder.
The same worn-out warnings we're hearing from the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence in 2002 were heard in Tennessee in 1994. But their predictions did not come to pass. Even when a bank robbers vs. police gun fight spilled into the streets in posh Nashville suburb of Brentwood last Spring, the eleven permit-holders who were on hand as witnesses all acted as per their training, letting law enforcement do it's job, and staying out of the fight because they did not determine their own lives were at risk.
So when Rep. Ben West, a Tennessee Democrat, announced his proposal to relax restrictions on the permit law in Tennessee this week, what do you suppose the anti's started screaming?
Tennessee state Rep. Ben West Jr., D-Hermitage, maintains that many laws pertaining to guns need to be revisited.
''Many of the existing laws predate the civilian handgun carry statute and have not been revised or reviewed with a view toward revising those statutes to reflect the growing number of civilian handgun permit holders in Tennessee,'' he said.
Bills sponsored by West, and backed by the Tennessee Firearms Association would:
• Relax prohibitions against permit holders' carrying a handgun on school grounds, in public parks, and in restaurants which serve alcohol (so long as they are not drinking).
• Allow people who have a residence in Tennessee but have their official residency in another state to obtain a Tennessee permit.
• Liberalize reciprocity arrangements with other states, whereby Tennessee would recognize permits from other states.
• Close records on who has gun carry permits unless an individual permit holder allows the information to be made public.
State Rep. Henri Brooks, D-Memphis, and Jaunita Veasy, head of the Black Children's Institute of Tennessee, are among those opposed to weakening gun laws.
Rep. Brooks said making such changes to the gun laws ''is just going to open us up to be a wild, wild West state.''
''When you have guns around alcohol, it is an incident waiting to happen. For the life of me, I can't understand how this will help anyone — carrying around guns where alcohol beverages are sold, near school grounds, loaded guns riding down the highway. It is opening ourselves up to more violence in Tennessee.
''If you are going to have a bunch of boys riding around in these trucks with loaded guns and factor into this phenomena called road rage, you are going to have a bunch of bodies splattered on the highway like fried eggs.''
Veasy said the public had become convinced that the risk of danger was so great that they need a weapon to protect themselves.
''Pro-gun does not mean you are pro-America,'' she said, adding that Second Amendment rights were being misconstrued. She said the purpose of the amendment was to allow the militia in Revolutionary War times to keep guns in their homes. It was not about ''everybody protecting themselves in their house.''
Commentary by Chad D. Baus:
Their rhetoric sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it? Groups which are fighting HB274 in Ohio are spouting the same rhetoric here. And make no mistake - they can be expected to continue to do so after HB274 becomes law.
Tennesseans made a lot of compromises to appease anti-gun pressures when creating their law in 1994. Only now, eight years later, are many of the major problems with Tennessee's CCW law being dealt with, and the anti's are still spouting the same false rhetoric they did in 1994.
Let this be a lesson to us in Ohio. This example from Tennessee presents all the more reason to tell our Ohio legislators NOT to weaken HB274 with compromises to appease the FOP police labor union.
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