Toledo Blade: Conceal carry - Impact on Ohio?

Study backs hidden guns against crime


COLUMBUS - For Lynn Wachtmann, Ohio’s failure to adopt a law allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns can be measured in flesh and blood, and the pain of crime victims.

"It’s heart-wrenching to see the number of Ohioans who are being victimized while some continue to play politics," said Mr. Wachtmann, a Republican state senator from Napoleon.

Mr. Wachtmann partially based his statement on research by David Mustard, an associate professor of economics at the University of Georgia. A gun rights group, Ohioans for Concealed Carry, hired Mr. Mustard to estimate what would happen if Ohio becomes the 46th state with a "conceal carry" law.

Mr. Mustard said he used 20 years of FBI data to analyze the "before and afters" in other states with carry conceal laws, and what Ohio could expect.

He concluded that crime would drop, with a monthly decline of three murders, 18 rapes, 29 robberies, and 96 aggravated assaults if Ohioans could carry hidden handguns.

"In the academic research literature, concealed carry laws are the only gun laws that frequently show reduction in crime," Mr. Mustard said.

"Once these laws are passed, they’re never repealed," said Chad Baus, a spokesman for Ohioans for Concealed Carry. "In fact, they are liberalized because people like having them. In Ohio, people can expect lower crime - and nothing else."

Although Ohio law bans citizens from carrying a concealed handgun, it does not prohibit them from carrying a handgun in plain sight - as long as they also comply with federal and local regulations, said Doug Cole, state solicitor for Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro.

Today, supporters of a conceal carry law in Ohio plan to strap on their handguns and march on the north side of Cincinnati.

"The ‘Defense Walk’ will offer Ohioans a visual display of the choice they have before them - openly armed citizens as dictated by current law, or a more subtle variety as suggested in the [conceal carry bill]," Mr. Baus said.

Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, said not enough detailed data is collected about those who get permits to carry concealed handguns to determine what would happen in Ohio.

Ms. Hoover said she and others don’t want people carrying handguns in plain sight or concealing them.

Sorry, Toby, but even the liberal Ohio Supreme Court, whose ruling you and yours just lauded as a victory, recognizes that our state constitution recognizes the right to bear arms for defense and security.

So which do you prefer to see next to you at the theater or the mall or the ballgame, Toby? Persons openly carrying firearms for their self-defense, as Ohio law currently suggests, or a more subtle variety, as suggested in HB12? And remember this - Ohio's "open carry" law requires no training, no background checks, no expensive fees. And it does not define restrictive "victim zone" exclusions where only criminals will carry guns.

Here's the news flash from Wednesday's ruling, Toby: you can't have it both ways. Your choice - the choice for all Ohioans and legislators: open carry, or concealed carry.

Suddenly interested in supporting HB12? Perhaps you might give Sen. Doug White a call, and your friend Bob Taft. Ask them to stop obstructing Ohio's CONCEALED carry reform bill. If you don't become a proponent of HB12, then, by default, you will be endorsing a much more liberal self-defense law than have we.

Click here to read the story in the Toledo Blade.

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