OhioCCW one-year anniversary stories blanket newspapers

Newspapers across the state are marking the first anniversary of Ohio's concealed carry law this week. As the stories are published throughout the week, we will provide the links here, along with a highlight or two, and occasional commentary.

Cincinnati CityBeat: Armed and next to us This article is one of the most interesting, objective, and sincere pieces of journalism on Ohio concealed carry to come from a mainstream media organization. Three cheers for a journalist who truly understands that the public journal is a public trust, and for the newspaper that employs him.

Columbus Dispatch: 45,000 obtain hidden-gun permit and Some recent incidents in Ohio

  • Judi Smith gave herself an early birthday present Friday. The Gahanna mother of three — who also is helping raise her fiance’s four children — subjected herself to a criminal background check so she can carry a concealed handgun. "I’m big on Second Amendment rights," she said. "My hope is I’ll never have to use it. But with my kids in tow, for criminals, we’re easy pickings." Smith, who turned 34 yesterday, was fingerprinted and photographed in less than 10 minutes at the Franklin County sheriff’s office. She should have her laminated license in about a week, officials said. It wasn’t that easy a year ago.
  • "It’s going very, very smoothly," said Kim Norris, Petro’s spokeswoman. And Ohio hasn’t turned into the wild West, as some critics had feared.

Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum: Area has many who carry guns

  • Ron Rossington, 72, and his wife Luverna, 68, both obtained permits. "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security," Rossington said, quoting Article I, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution. Rossington said he doesn't mind admitting being on the list of permit holders that are available to the media from local sheriff's offices but doesn't think the list should be published in the newspaper. "Why? We are not rapists or sex offenders that have to register for the safety of their neighbors," Rossington said.
  • Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Morris Hill said his officers haven't encountered problems with motorists concerning concealed carry law.

Delaware Gazette: Gun law nearing year mark

  • ...So far, the Delaware County sheriff's office has not experienced the problems some opponents of the law feared. "As of this point our agency has not investigated any complaints regarding civilians with concealed carry permits involved in a criminal offense," said Capt. Scott Vance of the Delaware County Sheriff's Department.
  • In 2003, when the law was being debated, opponents argued allowing law-abiding civilians to carry guns would result in more gun violence. Gun control advocates suggested the law would cause road rage incidents to become lethal and accidental shootings to increase. But the grim forecasts haven't materialized, according to a report by Ohioans For Concealed Carry.
  • "We don't believe anyone thought, well, gee, if we give guns to 45,00 people they will all go out and commit a crime with it," said Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

Toledo Blade: Both sides want Ohio to tweak its gun law

  • ...Perhaps the biggest story in the first year of the law was that there was no big story. "We haven't had anybody shot in road rage, or anybody shooting a police officer," Lucas County Sheriff James Telb said. "It's gone pretty smoothly."
  • ...Concealed-carry proponents believe that state law, which does not specifically ban guns in parks as it does in schools or churches, trumps Toledo's 1996 park rule that bans firearms in the city's 144 parks. A similar rule in Clyde, Ohio, has been challenged by Ohioans for Concealed Carry. Final arguments are due June 17 in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court. Ohio Attorney Jim Petro has intervened in the case, restating his position that Ohio's concealed-carry law is constitutional.

Associated Press: Permit numbers less than predicted

  • [Rep. Jim] Aslanides said one reason the numbers are low is that fewer women than expected have applied. "We believed there would be more women get permits than what have. That would have made up a substantial amount of the difference," Aslanides said. "They have cited to my office that they don't want their ages and names printed in the paper." Aslanides said keeping the names away from the media was one provision a "cleanup" bill would address. Others are how weapons may be carried in a car or truck and whether law enforcement officers can carry hidden guns into some prohibited buildings during their off-duty hours. He expects to introduce a bill sometime after the new two-year budget takes effect in July.
  • Of the 45,000 permits issued, thousands of people in urban counties have gone to smaller counties to apply for them to avoid hassles such as finding a parking place. But some have switched because of restrictive policies adopted by big-city sheriffs, said Jeff Garvas, president of Ohioans for Concealed Carry. People in Cuyahoga and Franklin counties, for example, can apply for permits only by appointment. "The sheriffs have starkly limited the hours they are accepting applications, sometimes because they oppose the law and others because of economic considerations," Garvas said. "There are some sheriffs that don't [abide] by the fact that they [are required to] issue within 45 days."

Zanesville Times-Recorder: Law hasn't had much impact locally

  • "My sense is not a whole lot has changed," said Col. Bryan Hoover of the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office. "The rationale behind the law is to issue permits to responsible law-abiding individuals, who know the rules and abide by them." Hoover said their office has not seen an increase in calls by businesses or individuals concerning others with concealed weapons causing any kind of trouble.
  • Lt. Randy Wilson of the sheriff's office agreed, noting no major problems or increased number of calls had been reported due to concealed carry issues, and only a few permits were revoked in the past year. "They either got into some other type of trouble - another offense - not necessarily due to having the gun," he said. "But due to the stipulations of the law, their permit was pulled for having that offense. It's not that they actually used the gun, but they lost their privileges to keep their permit."
  • "The automobile requirement - carrying a weapon in a vehicle - is a catastrophe the way the law is written right now," said Stan Watson, 59, of Zanesville.

Dayton Daily News: Concealed carry permits short of predictions

  • State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, this week backed down from his proposal to alter an open records bill and bar journalists from viewing concealed-carry records. Current law allows media to access permit holders' names, birth dates and counties of residence. "We're not dropping the issue," Seitz administrative aide Joey Price said. "We're just postponing it a little bit."
  • Price said Seitz has been working with [Rep. Jim] Aslanides on a separate proposal to introduce after the House approves the budget next week. "What we're finding is a number of papers throughout the state are abusing that privilege and they're printing names indiscriminately and for no reason. It's putting those families' health, safety and property in danger," Aslanides said.

Cincinnati Post: Gun law marks its first year

  • Friday was the first anniversary of the Ohio concealed handgun law, marking the end of a year that was significant because of two things that didn't happen. Ohio didn't return to Wild West shootout days as feared by some, and fewer people applied for licenses than proponents of the law had expected.
  • Concerns that Ohio's law would spark more bloodshed in the Buckeye State have proved unfounded. Kim Norris of the Ohio attorney general's office said implementation of the law permitting hidden guns "has gone very smoothly. We've worked with county sheriffs diligently" to set up the system for obtaining licenses, she said. [Anti-gun extremist Toby] Hoover, whose group opposes the law, conceded, "There's been no increase in violence."

Ft. Wayne (IN) Journal-Gazette: Gun law fears...blanks

  • ...By almost all accounts, everything has proceeded smoothly since last April. Anticipated problems did not materialize; fears of extra violence from people carrying concealed handguns did not pan out; and fewer applicants turned out than expected. "I think the citizens and the sheriffs have been very pleased with how smooth the operations have gone," said Bob Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association.
  • Ron Eschbach, president of Antwerp Exchange Bank, opted not to post signs because if he had, a potential robber would know there are no firearms on the premises. He also said there has been scant discussion about concealed-carry among bank customers. "It’s really been pretty much of a non-issue," he said.

Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: Weapons law runs smooth locally

  • Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen said the past year had been one without problems in the county. "We have not seen anyone pull out a gun who had a permit in anything like a road rage incident," Phalen said.
  • Carl Drury, owner of Ohio Valley Outdoors on Columbus-Lancaster Road, said his store has an indoor firing range and teaches classes on gun safety. The business has handled hundreds of people taking the classes required for the permit since it became law. "We still have a lot of people taking the class for the permits," Drury said. "We just had a weekend class that contained 20 people. People want the option of carrying a concealed weapon for personal protection, and with all the talk about layoffs in the Sheriff's office, people are concerned."

Jackson County Times-Journal: Concealed carry license report issued: report shows that most are law abiding

  • Ohioan's have been carrying concealed weapons for just over a year, and the statistics show that most people who have applied for a license to carry a concealed gun, in the county and across the state, have done so within the boundaries of the law.
  • According to Chief Deputy Jim Ephlin, the year passed by uneventfully as far as the county and the conceal carry law was concerned. Ephlin said that the Sheriff's Office has not received any complaints of license holders taking their weapons into prohibited places, and the office has only revoked one license. "The people that apply for these licenses normally aren't the kind of people that cause problems," said Ephlin.

Several Gannett-owned newspapers seem to be doing their best to try and spin failure out of success.

Coschocton Tribune: Concealed-carry issues a non-factor in Coshocton County
Writer Devin Shultz, opens the story by asserting that the reason there have been no incidents of CHL-holders wreaking havoc at fender-benders is because there just aren't enough of them around. It doesn’t get any better from there.

Marion Star - 'The gun demands respect' Writer Jillian Daley spends time shooting with a CHL-holder, and comes away with this: "I'm still not sure I know why it's been passed. I just know a coal miner's son feels safer because of it." Had Jillian Daley spent a day with a woman who carries because she was once the victim of rape, the newspaper would have something original on its hands. As it is, this is a carbon copy of stories that have been written for years whenever a reporter decides to "get in the field" with a gun owner.

Mansfield News-Journal: One year later, concealed-carry effect unknown and No problems with concealed-gun permits locally

  • [ Mansfield Police Department Assistant Chief Jim] Boyer said it is difficult to say if the law has deterred crime as its proponents predicted. "That's extremely difficult to measure. You just can't say specifically that it's had an effect. Crime is down in some areas, but you can't really attribute it to any single factor," he said. Boyer also said there is a variety of opinion within the police department. "Whether it's a good thing or not, within the community the jury's still out."The "effect unknown" story claims that crime has not dropped as a result of concealed carry (the truth is FBI data for the period of time OhioCCW was fully in effect is not yet available), and that as such it is possible for opponents of this law to "claim an early victory", and goes on to quote Toby Hoover, STILL claiming there is no way to know if CHL-holders are breaking the law. There are several stronger points in the story, including quotes from OFCC's Gerard Valentino, as well as quotes on the ridiculous "plain sight" restrictions from Rep. Jim Aslanides and OSHP Lt. Rick Zwayer, but the headline belies the overall theme from both Mansfield News Journal stories - no "early victory" for the 'gun guys'.

Fremont News-Messenger: Concealed gun reality hasn't matched debate

  • While Ohioans for Concealed Carry claimed that a few licensees have used handgund to defend themselves, there's little real evidence of a concealed carry permit holders helping to hold down the crime rate.Could it be that there is no evidence on Ohio crime rate impact because the FBI's Uniform Crime Rate report isn't due out for several more months?
  • ...More than 120 permits were either revoked or suspended, raising concerns that scores of people who maybe shouldn't have been were given permits.It's not "more than 120" licenses - it's exactly 120 licenses. Which figures out to 0.26% of all licenses issued, and includes revokations for CHL-holders who passed away, as well as those whose licenses hace since been resinstated after unrelated charges were dropped. By comparison, 7.00% of drivers' licenses in the State of Ohio were suspended in 2003

Chillicothe Gazette: Ross, Pike counties share mixed view of law's results

  • The Chillicothe Police Department has also seen no issues with permitholders either using their weapons in self defense or improperly, said Capt. Tom Hewitt. Hewitt said the law has made his colleagues more aware of the possibility a person they run into may have a firearm. Though licensees are law-abiding at the time the permit is issued, Hewitt said, that's not guaranteed to hold true.
  • "You never know. You take a person who didn't have a criminal record today, something may happen in his life later on that might change that, whether it be a case of domestic violence or something of that nature," he said. "The criminals are always going to have the guns," Hewitt said. "I guess it's just, now with the concealed carry law, there's going to be more amount on the street, and I guess that's just the concern. And it's not so much being concerned with the good citizen, but ... it's just there's going to be more out there on the streets, besides the criminals having them."

Paraphrase: in an entire year, we've had absolutely no problems with CHL-holders in Ohio. Across the nation, the rate of problems among CHL-holders is statistically nil. Still, we should all fear them!!

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