Whose side are police unions and the media on?

By Chad D. Baus

With pending legislation that reinforces the popular concept that a person's home is their castle, and a pro-gun Democrat governor who fully supports it, the anti-gun media has had a tough time sustaining the type of barrage against SB184 that was typical of their past assaults against HB12 (Ohio's Concealed Handgun Licensure Law) and HB367 (Ohio's Statewide Gun Control Preemption Law).

Their opportunity came last week, however, when the leadership of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police labor union realized that someone has taken their veto stamp away from them. These elitists are having trouble adjusting to the fact that they are subject to citizen control and the citizens have reasserted control over their objections, and the anti-gun media are only happy to give union leaders' dog and pony show plenty of coverage.

But as an Associated Press story that is being run in newspapers, radio and television across the state shows, more media coverage isn't necessarily a good thing, either for the police unions OR the journalists who cover them.

From the story:

Major law enforcement groups said Tuesday that they oppose Gov. Ted Strickland's support of a bill that would allow a new protection against prosecution for people who kill an attacker in self defense.

One exception: Strickland's own State Highway Patrol.

The patrol and its state agency - the Ohio Department of Public Safety - have no official position on the bill but support the governor, public safety spokesman Tom Hunter said.

Under the bill Strickland favors, people who injure or kill an attacker in self defense no longer would shoulder the burden to prove their actions were justifiable.

The Democratic governor has long been supported by the National Rifle Association for his views on gun rights.

...NRA lobbyist John Hohenwarter [stated] that the bill would put an end to "people getting dragged into court for defending themselves."

A House committee recommended the bill Tuesday 9-3 and it is set for a vote by the full House on Wednesday. It already has cleared the Senate.

Translation: "A few law enforcement spokespeople oppose a bill that reiterates that people are innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, due to an unholy alliance between the NRA and Gov. Strickland (and a conspiracy between Strickland and the OSHP), there isn't much we in the media can do about it."

Also note how the anti-gun media keeps limiting support to "NRA." In truth, at least three Ohio grassroots groups testified in support of this legislation, and the NRA gave co-testimony. The media clearly finds it important to blame things on the big bad wolf, because otherwise the only alternative is that law enforcement and newspapers are wrong, which of course to them is unthinkable.

The AP journalist who wrote the story, John McCarthy, also misrepresented the OSHP's position on the bill by saying they have "no official position." According to the Columbus Dispatch, the patrol actually views this legislation as an improvement over current law.

Staff Lt. Shawn Davis told the Dispatch the patrol is "neutral on the bill, calling it an improvement over current law, which allows people to carry guns and ammo in plain sight on the seat next to them."

(Incidentally, I don't know what rock OSHP Capt. John Born crawled under, but let's hope he stays there.)

When the AP asked why the patrol did not testify before the committee, Strickland said, "I did not urge them not to, so I'm not sure."

Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Mark Drum sought to diminish the OSHP's position by observing that "These troopers have marching orders from the governor's office. They're only allowed to say what he lets them say. It's unfortunate." The FOP, of course, had no such concerns when the OSHP joined them in opposition to HB12.

Beyond the obvious bias from Mr. McCarty, what is incredibly revealing in this story are statements from the opponents themselves.

Director John Murphy of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association says the bill could allow drug dealers to claim self defense in shootings of rivals in deals that went sour.

"The people it works to benefit are criminals who ought to be convicted," Murphy said.

...Several law enforcement groups oppose the bill overall but were particularly against a provision added Tuesday that would allow rifle owners to carry unloaded weapons inside their cars without having to acquire concealed weapons permits. The gun could not be carried on the driver's side.

The groups believe the change will allow a person to carry a loaded gun, ejecting the ammunition only if an officer approaches.

"We really don't think any changes were made that would protect law enforcement," said Jay Smith, a lobbyist for the Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio's largest police union with more than 25,000 members.

The Buckeye State Sheriffs Association also opposes the bill, director Bob Cornwell said. "Obviously, he (Strickland) does not support law enforcement and its concerns," Cornwell said.

Detective Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association, said Strickland and lawmakers are going to have to decide whether they are on the side of police or the NRA.

"It's going to obliterate safety," Loomis said. "It takes less than a second to load a gun and do damage to us."

While they rant and rave against restoring the rights of law-abiding citizens, a different sort of reaction is going on amongst their membership. And judging by those comments, it is these elitist desk jockies who need to decide whose side they are on.

Consider these comments that have been posted by readers following the AP's story, "Law enforcement groups oppose bill on self-defense killings":

Okay- Massillon, OH

What Law Enforcement???? A prosecuting Attorneys association director! I've been in Law Enforcement for 15 years and have never seen a Prosecutor enforce the Laws. I have seen them help out the defense attorney from time to time. I, and a great others, in Law Enforcement have always been for responsible gun ownership and for the rights of individuals to take care of themselves and their property. I may not agree with the good Govenor on, well anything, but this he's right on.

Typical Beacon- Akron, OH

I'm also in law enforcement and I don't know any police officer that is against this bill!! I cant even find a prosecutor that's against it. Everyone loves to say that law enforcement is against concealed carry etc... it simply isnt true! These are lobbying organizations using our name without permission to speak for us.

Kent, OH

Law Enforcement officials are complete idiots on this matter. I support Strickland's views.

If an attacker is killed because the person they are attacking is defending themselves, then that is the chance that attacker is going to have to take. I think if more attackers are killed and the word spreads that maybe crime will decrease.

NEOH Beemer Rider - Jackson Twp.

This bill is right on the money. There should NEVER be a burden of proof to justify self-defense. The burden of proof should lie with the state in proving that it was NOT self defense - beyond a reasonable doubt. For 99% of the 'self defense' claims, that should not be too hard to either prove or disprove.

Similar comments go on and on, offering evidence that Gov. Strickland is on the side of both rank and file law enforcement officers and his constituents.

Which begs again the question: Whose side are prosecutors, police union bosses/ bureaucrats and journalists on?

They are not, it would appear from these comments, on the side of their membership (or subscribers). And they're certainly not on the side of the victims of violent crime who are being made double-victims by the criminal justice system. And that, folks, means these elitist prosecutors and law enforcement union bosses actually on the side of the criminals they are supposed to have dedicated their lives to putting away.

As such, Ohio's General Assembly and Governor Strickland are absolutely right in supporting this legislation, even without the support of law enforcement elitists.

Strickland said Tuesday that his office has been in discussions with various groups to try to get more support, but he acknowledged he hasn't been successful with law enforcement.

"I'm hopeful that ... we can come to a decision that everyone might not feel good about but will represent a common-sense approach to this, unfortunately, too-often divisive issue," Strickland said. "I think oftentimes the extreme positions are not the positions that provide the best public policy."

Amen, and amen.

Chad Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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