Open Letter to OSHP Superintendant Paul McClellan: You Can't Have it Both Ways

To Ohio Highway Patrol Superintendant Paul D. McClellan:

In December 2001, OSHP Major J.P. Allen offered defense testimony in the Hamilton County concealed carry ban constitutionality lawsuit, on behalf of the state of Ohio and as your official representive.

In March 2003, OSHP Capt. Bordman testified before the House Committee on Criminal Justice, again as your official representative.

So why were these two men saying completely opposite things? And which one was telling the truth?

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In the Hamilton County lawsuit, the state's attorneys worked extremely hard in court to try and get Major Allen recognized by the court as an expert witness. Although Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Ruehlman did not comply with their wishes, it was verbally recognized in court by all (even the plaintiff's lawyer) that Major Allen was a highly esteemed law enforcement official.

You sent Major Allen to be a witness because he was prepared to testify that State troopers (including himself) allow people to carry in their cars all the time, so long as they have, in the judgement of the trooper, an affirmative defense. Major Allen testified that he had "turned more than that number that I arrested loose. And what I mean by loose is, I didn't charge them."

The state's argument here, which they attempted to reinforce by Major Allen's testimony, was that there was no need to rule the ban unconstitutional, because in effect, "Ohio does have a concealed carry law, so to speak", that allows people to exercise their right to self-defense. This argument depends upon the idea that OSHP and other law enforcement groups in Ohio are as lenient as Major Allen claims to have been in their enforcement of the concealed carry ban.

Flash forward to March 2003, and the Ohio House of Representatives got a far different story from the Ohio Highway Patrol.

In HB12 opponent testimony before the House Criminal Justice Committee, your official representative told legislators that allowing persons to carry loaded firearms in cars would present too many dangers to officers making traffic stops.

So which is it? Either the OSHP believes it's ok to allow otherwise law-abiding citizens who choose to carry a concealed firearm "loose" (they claim they do it all the time), or you believe allowing law-abiding citizens "loose" with concealed firearms to be dangerous. You can't have it both ways. One of these men could not have been telling the truth, and they both were there in your name.

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