Toledo police chief: First Amendment rights ''unfortunate''

As Buckeye Firearms Association's Ken Hanson reminded readers in a recent op-ed, chief Mike Navarre's Toledo Police Department has a rough history when it comes to the Second Amendment.

Having once told store owners enduring a wave of violent robberies they should not take up arms to defend themselves but instead just try to "get away from the bullets", having arrested a man for exercising his right to carry in a city park, and having confiscated a handgun from a citizen who had gone out and obtained an emergency concealed carry license to protect himself from gangs in his neighborhood, the evidence of his disdain for the Second Amendment could not be more clear.

Navarre's latest opposition to the Bill of Rights may not come as a surprise to people who are aware of his views on the right to bear arms, but Toledo police chief Mike Navarre is bound to turn a few heads...

The following are Mike Navarre's October 17 comments to the Toledo Blade in reference to a small group of Nazis who attempted to hold a march in a Glass City neighborhood:

    "Unfortunately, they [the marchers] have the right under the First Amendment, and as distasteful as it is, we have to protect them," he said.

Their message is indeed distasteful, but it is hardly "unfortunate" that American citizens, no matter how hateful, have the right to free speech.

The rioting that broke out during a counter-protest (which incidentally had been promoted as an "Erase the Hate" event) has highlighted Mike Navarre's incompetence for a whole nation to see.

To wit, when a citizen repeatedly complained that gang activity was happening in his neighborhood, Toledo police called his claims "exaggerated" and confiscated the gun he had purchased for his own protection to provide a "cooling off" period.

To wit, last week, Navarre told the Toledo Blade that the neighborhood where the riots occurred is a "relatively quiet neighborhood," and that his officers have not had many complaints of gang activity.

Yet immediately following the riots, we learned that Navarre and other city officials had learned of the potential for a gang violence outbreak before it even began. From the Toledo Blade:

    ...When a dispatcher reported that gang members wearing colors were gathering along Stickney, Central, and Ketcham avenues, Chief Navarre began to worry.

    “This is not going to be pretty,” he predicted. “I’m starting to get a pretty bad feeling.”

    Residents in the neighborhood had even earlier signs of trouble.

    Ramon Perez, a Lagrange Village Council member, said he was canvassing the neighborhood for days before the planned march.

    “Even Friday night, at Bronson and Stickney, that’s all we were hearing: ‘We’re taking this place down.’”

And later in the story:

    “There’s a lot of unrest, there’s a lot of anger among young people living in that neighborhood,” [Navarre] said. “...

So which is it? A quiet neighborhood with few reports of gang activity, or a tinderbox where angry young gang members loiter on street corners?

After advocating gun control policies that would eradicate the Second Amendment in the name of safety, and after now calling the First Amendment rights of a few extremists "unfortunate", Mike Navarre and other city officials have a lot of explaining to do about why they failed to keep this neighborhood safe.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for additional analysis on the City of Toledo's gun control legacy from Larry S. Moore.

Commentary from Larry S. Moore

Actually I am glad to see the Chief finds the First Amendment as distasteful as he apparently finds the Second Amendment. I wonder what he thinks about the rest of the Constitution? Even more, I wonder if he has ever read the US or Ohio Constitutions?

Seems like with his attitude, the Chief should have been marching with the neo-Nazis. Maybe he should have had them hold their protest in a Toledo city park where everyone would be safe since guns are banned. According to his and Mayor Ford's logic, that should guarantee no violence (then again, public possession of the guns these rioters were carrying was illegal under yet another Toledo gun control law). And isn't it interesting - it took a lot more police force to arrest this group than it did to arrest Beatty's group in the park.

What a stark contrast between this walk or demonstration and the various self-defense and educational walks the pro-self defense/concealed carry community held about 2-years ago where every walk in the state was peaceful. The armed walkers actually went out of the way to avoid any potential confrontations. The merchants in Lorain actually found they welcomed the armed shoppers which made their stores the safest places in Ohio to shop that day.

What was that again about guns cause violence and blood will run in the streets? Hello Mr. O (apologies to Bob and Tom), is anyone paying attention in Toledo?

The Toledo Police have been the root cause of this entire situation. They fail to protect the citizens, fail to control gangs in neighborhoods (although a number of parents share in this part), they take guns from the licensed background-checked law-abiding while leaving the streets to the gangs. The Toledo Police seem to have done everything possible except roll out the welcome mat at the city limits for the Neo-Nazis to come to Toledo. Then they think they should have moved the location???

Maybe they should think about policing the neighborhoods and really fighting crime. There's a novel idea for the Chief.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.