Victim zones: Cleveland news station finds day care owner that supports repeal legislation - and gun store owner who opposes?

by Chad D. Baus

Last week, Rep. Ron Maag offered sponsor testimony before a House committee on House Bill 231, which would repeal the ban on concealed carry in many of the places where multiple-victim public shootings often occur.

In news coverage about the hearing, Cleveland's Fox affiliate, WOIO, interviewed a day care owner who is very concerned for the safety of the children in her care and who supports the changes proposed by Rep. Maag.

Strangely, they also found a gun store owner who apparently opposes allowing this day care owner to have her right to carry restored in her place of business.

Mike Dawson, owner of Five Star Firearms, in Seven Hills, says guns have no place in a day care with children running around. He says, right now there are some churches that allow them.

"I don't think a day care is a proper place."

I've tried to get in touch with Mr. Dawson to ask why he believes this day care owner doesn't deserve to have her right to bear arms for self-defense and the defense of the children in her care restored, but there was no answer at the store's listed number.

[UPDATE: This isn't the first time Mr. Dawson has come out in support of gun control laws. In the days after the Sandy Hook massacre, Dawson voiced his support for all but one of President Obama's gun control proposals - including the universal background check gun registration scheme and an effort to ban private transactions at gun shows. Apparently not enough people watch the news, or this gun control-loving store owner would be out of business by now.]

Meanwhile in Columbus, WBNS, the city's CBS affiliate also reported on the hearing:

Rep. Maag's sponsor testimony on HB 231 is included below.

Representative Ron Maag
62nd House District

House Bill 231 Sponsor Testimony
House Judiciary Committee
October 30, 2013

Chairman Butler, Vice Chair Pelanda, Ranking Member Stinziano, and members of the House Judiciary Committee, thank you for allowing me to provide sponsor testimony on House Bill 231.

House Bill 231 makes practical changes to concealed carry restrictions and affirmative defense laws in this state. Current law unnecessarily inhibits a law-abiding citizen’s ability to exercise their 2nd Amendment right.

First, it is important to note that these changes only apply to those legally permitted to carry a concealed weapon. These individuals have demonstrated that they have the capacity to carry a weapon responsibly under Ohio law and should be able to do so without excessive burden. It is my aim to facilitate responsible gun ownership and enable Ohioans to protect themselves.

The bulk of HB 231 addresses victim zones in Ohio, or places where concealed carry is not permitted and citizens are vulnerable to crime. It makes the following changes:

  • Eliminates victim zones in churches, daycare centers, private aircrafts, and government buildings;
  • Limits victim zones to secure areas in airports, police stations, and schools;
  • Allows college campuses to permit concealed carry.

These practical changes allow license holders to carry out daily activities without undue hardships; they would prevent law-abiding citizens from unintended law-breaking in many circumstances.

The bill also aligns state law with federal law by clarifying that existing affirmative defense laws apply uniformly regardless of the type of firearm being used. In the original concealed carry legislation (HB 12 from the 125th General Assembly) affirmative defenses could only be applied to long guns, not hand guns. If a person has a valid reason to possess a firearm, it is no less valid based on the type of weapon.

This bill essentially cleans up issues with the original concealed carry legislation. It is meant to facilitate lawful gun ownership so that citizens are able to protect themselves and their family from crime.

Chairman, thank you again for giving me the opportunity to provide sponsor testimony on HB 231. I would be happy to answer any questions that members of the committee may have at this time.

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

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