Op Ed: Gun Accident Reveals Double Standard

When politics and behind-the-scenes quid pro quo leads to the positioning of certain law enforcement groups against concealed carry reform, it is often tempting to place the blame on law enforcement itself.

The leadership of groups like the Fraternal Order of Police labor union, and the Ohio Highway Patrol, continue to put up resistance to the restoration of Ohioans' self-defense rights. They say that law-abiding citizens will put officers at risk if they carry a firearm for self-defense in a vehicle, despite the fact that not one documented case exists (nationwide!) to support their claim. They say the average citizen can't be trusted with a concealed firearm without receiving up to one hundred of hours of training (like their officers get).

These safety, training and trust issues bleed of hypocracy. OFCC PAC could print a story a day (or more) on police officers being found to be corrupt, or to have caused a negligent discharge with their sidearm, etc. The simple fact is, a small sliver of society will always be disrespectful of our laws, not withstanding their occupation as police officers, accountants, car salespeople, journalists, etc. And as the following story proves, accidents can happen, even after hundreds of hours of training.

We have refrained from printing these "cops-gone-bad" stories when they appear in Ohio newspapers because we do not wish to appear as being "anti-law enforcement". Quite the contrary, 75% of the Board of Directors of Ohioans For Concealed Carry are in law enforcement, as are many OFCC members. We have the utmost respect for the rank-and-file officers that risk their lives each day to enforce the law. And we are extremely proud of the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association for its support of our self-defense rights.

But a clear double standard does exist, both within the law and within the FOP and OHP leadership's position. We will not (must not) let false claims from FOP and OHP leadership go unchallenged, because Gov. Taft has put them in the middle of this fight to restore our constitutional rights. So without any notion of "cop-bashing", we feel it incumbent upon ourselves to point out the facts, as a means of responding to FOP and OHP leadership.

Gun Accident Reveals Double Standard February 18, 2003
Ralph D. Sherman

The recent accidental discharge of a handgun at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts has made some Connecticut residents angry about the lawful presence of handguns in theaters. Typically, these residents don't support the ownership or carrying of firearms anywhere, not just in theaters.

But the incident has also angered many civilians who hold permits to carry handguns - because the incident revealed a repugnant double standard.

If the handgun that discharged in the theater had belonged to a private citizen, he would have been charged with reckless endangerment, breach of peace and unlawful discharge of a firearm. He could face a total maximum sentence of 21 months in jail and $3,250 in fines. And his handgun permit would have been revoked by the Connecticut State Police.

I know because I've represented a number of private citizens who have been arrested in the same type of situation. In some cases, the concealed handgun didn't even fire; it was merely exposed inadvertently.

No charges have been filed in this case, however. The gun owner was a police officer.

Click here to read the entire op-ed in the Hartford (CT) Courier.

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