Police and bar owners: No issues since reforms pertaining to concealed carry took effect

by Chad D. Baus

The Mount Vernon News recently provided readers an updated look at what police and bar owners have experienced in the months since Ohio's concealed carry law was modified to allow license-holders to carry in places where alcohol is being served, so long as they are not drinking, and to remove onerous restrictions mandating how license-holders were allowed to carry in a motor vehicle.

Addressing the modifications to the CCW law with regard to a motor vehicle, The Mount Vernon News reported that law enforcement officials aren't having any problems:

"We haven't seen a lot of CCW instances," said officer Nick Holdren of the Fredericktown Police Department, adding that there have been [no] problems reported.

Compare that reality to the fiction that was offered by John Gilchrist, legislative counsel for the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, in testimony opposing the legislation last year. From the Gongwer News Service:

Mr. Gilchrist said they would "allow gun owners to have their firearms openly displayed, laying on the passenger seat or on the dashboard. Law enforcement officers in Ohio make millions of traffic stops a year. Allowing drivers to have ready access to their guns pose a greater safety sisk[sic] for these officers.

In the same fashion, area bar owners aren't reporting any problems since passage of the law, despite Gilcrest's warning to legislators last year that "allowing guns in barrooms, stadiums, taverns, restaurants and other businesses that sell alcohol will result in more gun violence."

"We haven't had any instances, and I haven't seen any difference in business either," said a manager at Dutch's Bar in Mount Vernon. "I’d like to have the right to a concealed carry."

"I haven't seen anything come up at all," said a bartender at The Village Inn in Utica.

Jeff Budd, manager of Martinsburg Marathon, has seen a few people come into his business with guns but has never had any problems occur. "Most people with a concealed-carry permit you wouldn't even know it," said Budd.

Similar reaction was given by Wayne Bradley, owner of Centerburg Shell. "A lot of people are getting permits. I've had maybe a couple guys come in with a gun, but there have been no problems," said Bradley. "I believe in our Constitutional rights. Until there is a problem, I won't change anything."

Jeff Boucher, owner of Flapper's Bar and Grill, said he hasn't seen any cases of people carrying in guns since the change in law. "We wouldn't know it if someone had a weapon or not," said Boucher. "Some are putting up signs to keep guns out. And that's fine. My decision is just to do absolutely nothing."

In 2003 Gilcrest also predicted that a shall-issue concealed carry law in Ohio would itself lead to increased gun violence. He was wrong then, which explains quite well why legislators chose not to listen to him with regard to these latest reforms.

A few eateries did express to The Mount Vernon News their decision to post "no-guns" signs, including Jake's in Mount Vernon, Haldeman's Fresh Foods in Fredericktown, McFadden's Hot Spot in Danville, and both the Howard Hilton and Hidden Hills Golf Course and Grille in Howard.

In spite of the signs posted at his establishment, Larry Wolford, manager at the Howard Hilton, admitted that his signs are powerless to keep criminals out of the bar.

"Even [with the signs]," Wolford admitted, "there are still some people that will carry them on them anyway. You won't stop them."

Wolford is right - his "no-guns" signs won't stop the criminals. But they will stop law-abiding citizens who chose to exercise their right to carry from patronizing his business, as well as Jake's, Haldeman's and McFadden's - I guarantee it.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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