Toledo's gun control laws are a proven failure

October 17, 2004
Toledo Blade

Islands of danger, safety shape map of Toledo crime statistics

The differences between Helen Weaver and Jackie Lothery are obvious.

Helen, 79, is white and lives in a mobile home in suburban Northwood. Jackie, 51, is black and resides in a 19th century, wood-frame home in Toledo's central city.

But the women do share something: the heightened prospect of being a crime victim simply because of where they live.

A Blade analysis of 2003 area crime reports shows that Mrs. Weaver's mobile home park generates one-third of Northwood's crime, forcing police to keep two cars on the road almost all the time.

Over in Mrs. Lothery's neighborhood, Toledo police are kept busy by a crime rate - 46 crimes for every 1,000 people - that is more than double the city rate of nearly 18 crimes for every 1,000 people. Break-ins, robberies, and arrests are a weekly occurrence; a few years back, Jackie had a checkbook swiped off her table when she left to visit her parents' home next door.

When she was a child, doors in the neighborhood remained unlocked most of the time. "You can't do that anymore," she said.

In Miss Lothery’s neighborhood, Lilley Baccus said she’s going to rely on something else — a gun.

“I’m at the point where the police can only do so much,” Ms. Baccus said.

When her friends, including Miss Lothery, protested that her God wouldn’t allow her to shoot someone, Ms. Baccus waved them off.

“I’ll have the Bible in one hand and a gun in the other,” Ms. Baccus said.

Click here to read the entire story in the Toledo Blade.

Commentary by Chad D. Baus:

The City of Toledo has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the state, and it shows in the headlines, and on the obituary pages.

During the years leading up to passage of House Bill 12, Mayor Jack Ford vigorously opposed concealed carry legislation. He presides over a city which bans the practice of open carry for self-defense, held up by five Supreme Court Justices as a "fundamental, individual" right". And Mayor Jack Ford cast the deciding vote for renewing a ban on inexpensive handguns, which discriminates against the less fortunate citizens of Toledo.

Mayor Ford's latest action against those who would wish to protect themselves is to dictate an illegal ban on concealed carry in city parks. Ford has not even bothered to consult with Toledo City Council. He just ordered that the signs be posted in all 144 city parks.

Despite having these rules declared "invalid" by the Ohio Attorney General, there is no doubt Chief Michael Navarre will carry out Ford's wishes and attempt to press charges on some unsuspecting individual "caught" legally carrying.

In a recent story about how carry-out owners are arming themselves after a year or more stretch of violent robberies in Toledo, "Toledo's police Chief Mike Navarre said he teaches small business owners not to have a gun."

Navarre "wants owners to comply with criminals because anytime you have more guns in a tense situation, the better the chance of people getting shot and it's just not worth it."

In a June 22 story describing Mayor Ford's "anger" after an armed robber in a local Subway store assaulted an elderly customer, and endangered her grandchild, we commented that "the next time a jogger is raped or an elderly walker mugged in a Toledo city park, we've no doubt Mayor Ford will really be 'ticked'."

We absolutely hate being right about predictions like these.

With anti-self-defense policies like Ford's, and with a police chief like Mike Navarre, words don't count for much.

Contact Toledo City Council by email, or by calling 419-245-1050.

Mayor Jack Ford can be reached by email, or by calling 419-936-2020.

Chief Mike Navarre can be reached by email, or by calling 419-245-3200.

UPDATE! OFCC Senate District 10 Coordinator Larry Moore adds the following:

  1. "This story is about a whole lot more than just the crime map, citizens in Toledo, CCW, police response, etc.

    This story just screams 'This is why we need consistent firearms and concealed carry laws across the state - just like driving laws. As an outdoorsman who travels many miles across Ohio, I sometimes end up in cities where I am as lost as a deer in the headlights. Worse yet, one wrong turn, and I just went from lost to in real trouble. Ohio CHL-holders need consistent state laws for CCW. I don't know what areas, or what parks, to avoid when I travel or if I get off my planned route. My CHL and the ability to carry across the state provide great reassurance and protection to my family."

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