Permitless Carry win: News media discovers previous gun laws were enforced more heavily against black residents

In the run-up to passage of Ohio's Permitless Carry law, all manner of arguments were leveled by anti-Second Amendment opponents in the media.

Some of the most egregious were claims that the proposed law was somehow an overt threat to people of color.

Indeed, certain Democrat legislators even took to the floor of their respective chambers to argue about the racist nature of Senate Bill 215.

Four days after Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into law, the Columbus Dispatch published an op-ed written by Ohio Legislative Black Caucus executive director John Meacham, entitled "Guns in unskilled hands 'a recipe for disaster'.'' The op-ed contained some interesting quotes.

For example, Meacham claims that "untrained citizens handling guns in a heightened situation with the police can be a recipe for disaster. The police are not in support of this legislation, as it puts the lives of law enforcement officers in harm’s way."

Given the lack of trust of law enforcement exhibited by groups like Black Lives Matter, it is surprising that Meacham chose to play a "Back the Blue" card here.

Meacham goes on to claim that "eliminating the requirement of an eight-hour course that provides basic firearm training and safety can be detrimental to households, neighborhoods, and communities," while providing no proof to his claim, or explanation for why these detrimental affects are not already happening in other states with Constitutional Carry laws.

Meacham ends his op-ed by saying, "It is important to remember that the American justice system and lax gun laws seldomly work in favor of Black people."

This one is quite interesting, since, very early in his op-ed, he admitted that the new Permitless Carry law might in fact help the very people he and other Democrats claim to be representing in the Statehouse:

Though the bill was largely unpopular with Democratic members of the legislature, passing entirely along party lines without support from Democrats, it may have some beneficial advantages for their constituency.

This bill does nothing to repair the relationship between law enforcement and the Black community; however, it may deter law enforcement from unduly searching people of color for weapons in hopes that they don’t possess a concealed handgun license.

Thanks to an investigation by The Cincinnati Enquirer and USA TODAY Network Ohio, we have proof that this is EXACTLY what is happening. Senate Bill 215, overwhelmingly passed by Republicans in both the Ohio House (58-36) and Senate (24-9), is going to help thousands upon thousands of the very people Democrats claim to better represent.

From their report, entitled "Who was affected most by Ohio's concealed carry rules? Black residents charged more often":

Anyone 21 or older can carry if they don't have a felony on their record or a violent misdemeanor in the past three years. It's a fundamental shift in Ohio's handgun policy, and there's speculation on both sides of the debate about what the change will mean for Ohio.

It's difficult to get a complete view of who has been charged with gun possession violations because Ohio data is spread across 88 counties, which collect the information in different ways.

However, The Enquirer and USA TODAY Network Ohio bureau dug into court data to get some more concrete predictions about what life with permitless carry will look like. It's impossible to know if there will be more homicides, but it is possible to know how many people might avoid a court case and who will be most affected by that.

The answer is hundreds in Hamilton County alone, many of whom are young Black men.

Looking at cases that only involve offenses that will be legal under the new law, it is clear that hundreds of people will be spared the penalties, expense and inconvenience of a criminal charge. People charged with any other offense in the same case were not included in the tally.

After traffic stops or other contacts with police, an average of about nine people a week are charged within Hamilton County. That's about 450 people a year who were arrested or cited who likely won't be under the new law.

An analysis of the data showed few people convicted of these offenses go to jail, but they instead are placed on some sort of community control or probation. The weapons involved are usually surrendered and destroyed.

The data also showed a significant racial disparity. Over 80% of the cases involved Black people, compared to the population of Hamilton County, which is about 23% Black. More than half of the people who were charged were in their 20s.

Got that? The Enquirer/USA Today found that, thanks to the new Permitless carry law, hundreds of black Ohioans in just one of Ohio's 88 counties will be spared being charged and having their property confiscated.

This is something that should be celebrated and championed by ALL.

Again, from the article:

Niki Clum of the Ohio Public Defender's office said Black men being charged with gun possession more often isn't surprising.

"We know that they have more contact with police," Clum said. "They're more likely to be pulled over. They're more likely to pulled out of the car. They're more likely to be searched. So in that way I'm not surprised at all."

Those who testified and lobbied for permitless carry tended to be middle-age white men, she said. "I would love to get their thoughts on that because I'm guessing that's not what they were picturing in their minds. But I would hope that they're supportive of everybody's right to possess a firearm and they would think that's great," Clum said.

Actually, Ohio gun owners' thoughts about this injustice were expressed quite well by Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dean Rieck in the very same article Clum is quoted in:

When presented with the data from Hamilton County, [Rieck] said the laws criminalizing carrying without a license were a "status crime" similar to driving without a license or possessing marijuana.

"It's not that they are doing something dangerous or that puts people in harm's way," he said, adding that the previous laws were simply unjust.

"I don't want people charged for silly crimes, what I call status crimes," he said. "The qualifications of who can carry aren't changing."

In other words, this exactly what we'd intended - fewer people being charged for exercising their Constitutional rights.

So again, to summarize, while Republicans and gun owners championed passage of this law, Democrats, the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus and the NAACP all opposed passage of this law, which the media are now admitting will prevent perhaps tens of thousands of black people from being charged for exercising their right to bear arms for self-defense each and every year.

This is something I hope Ohio's many black gun owners will consider the next time they enter the voting booth.

Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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