By Sam Ludtman, 5/13/2017
2017 has got to be the year that Ohio passes Constitutional Carry!
In the face of innumerable threats from the federal government and powerful politicians in the states that would see to it that Americans no longer have the right to protect themselves, the renewed efforts of Ohio Representatives Ron Hood (R-Ashville) and Thomas Brinkman, Jr. (R-Mt. Lookout), are fighting for the Ohioans right to protect him, or herself, from danger without the red tape.
The Representatives, along with 24 co-sponsors, which include local Andy Thompson (R-Marietta), introduced H.B. 201 in early May, now in the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee with first sponsor testimony heard on Tuesday (May 16), and would allow those 21 and older and not otherwise legally banned from having a weapon, to carry any firearm not specifically restricted by law.
Permits would still be available with the added benefit of retaining reciprocity agreements with other states that still require concealed carry permits. This means, while concealed carry is currently only legal with a permit, you would no longer be required to pay the state for access to your full 2nd Amendment rights and it would also free up those wishing to carry “unlicensed” while they’re driving which is currently tightly restricted.
Other procedures like announcing to an officer during a traffic stop that you are, in fact, carrying an open or concealed firearm, would no longer be required, though one may still wish to do so. The thinking behind not requiring this provision is in the case of an emergency where a gunowner, who is aiding victims in a motor accident for instance, would be negligent if he did not announce his carrying to each officer at the scene. By not requiring it, this eases tension in an already stressful situation.
While there will be arguments that there needs to be accountability to the state for people to carry a firearm, there is the inevitable and stark fact that criminals don’t follow laws and abridging the rights of an individual only puts them in a more dangerous situation. A regulatory bureaucracy that is set up only for those citizens already following the law does not deter crime nor necessarily makes any person safer.
Indeed, the federal government’s own crime reports support that idea. The most recent 2013 full FBI crime statistics relate a 10 year drop in violent crime by nearly 15%, the majority of violent crimes not involving firearms. Over the last 40 years, as the Justice Department relates, crime has consistently fallen as the number of privately owned guns has increased and state statutes on gun ownership have relaxed.
As well, according to combined data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Bureau of Investigation show that in the top ten ways to die, firearms are the last on the list. You are 20 times more likely to die from medical malpractice and nearly twice as likely to die from someone using their body or other non-firearm related instrument.
As a microcosm, Chicago’s handgun ban is no deterrent for criminals using handguns, meaning you have a 40% higher chance of dying while in Chicago than you do over the national average. Strong gun laws or even bans don’t matter. Just this year alone, Chicago has already recorded over 200 homicides in a city where criminals run rampant, many with illegally possessed guns, while people at risk are disarmed by their government.
In addition, a study done in 2000 and published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology relates data that U.S. citizens (non-law enforcement) use guns in the deterrence of crime at least 989,883 times a year for personal protection or to protect others.
The very fact that Ohio could follow thirteen other states in enacting Constitutional Carry, which includes our neighbors in West Virginia, would be an exciting thing to see, as a restoration of the original intent of our national, and many state, constitutions and Bill of Rights.
Even with the absence of gun laws, these states are not the “Wild West” as anti-gunners argue against. In fact, many of these states, despite most of them having populous cities have enjoyed lowered crime rates in recent years after passing such laws. Hopefully adding to that success, twenty other states, including ours, are planning to or have already introduced Constitutional Carry laws in their legislatures.
The opposition will always be there, of course.
For instance, this article in the April 8th 2015 issue of the Columbus Dispatch, concerning a previous iteration of Constitutional Carry being considered then, says: “Jay McDonald, president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, said, “We are in favor of concealed carry, but we are not in favor of eliminating the licensing procedure. There are a lot of good things that come with the licensing, and one of those is training.”
“He noted the irony of the state considering a reduction in firearms training for citizens while also moving toward additional training for law-enforcement officers.”
While this is one of many negative comments against Constitutional Carry, it can’t be reiterated enough, that, criminals don’t follow the law and those who would carry their gun responsibly, are just that, responsible citizens exercising their rights.
A law preventing the carry of a firearm by a person covered by that specific law in the first place does not keep anyone safe from the human condition. Permitted or not, anyone could be a criminal, but not everyone is a criminal.
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined, nor determined to commit crimes.” – Thomas Jefferson
That in mind, this quote from GunLaws.com puts it plainly in regards to why such statutes against bearing arms could very well be unconstitutional: “In this country, the people are the sovereigns and government is the servant. . . Is it right for “officials” to maintain the right to keep and bear, when we the people, their employers, cannot?”
Those carrying a badge have much responsibility that everyday citizens don’t, and that responsibility and job comes with different parameters. That job is hard and deserving of respect, but either way, the Golden Rule applies.
Yes, training is very good. Not only does this show personal responsibility, but allows you to be confident. You better know what you’re doing when carrying. But training isn’t going away—the vast majority of Constitutional carriers will already be well-trained and equipped. Others, less likely to undergo the current licensing process, may now seek out training with no additional cost of licensure.
Here is something else to think about. When it comes to government regulating or even taking away whole rights, it comes down to a question of, not if it should be done, but that it cannot be done, for one big reason we overlook in our debate about guns. Actor Vince Vaughn got it right in saying: “We don’t have the right to bear arms because of burglars; we have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government. It’s not about duck hunting; it’s about the ability of the individual. It’s the same reason we have freedom of speech.”
While several similar Ohio bills have been introduced in the recent past but did not succeeded outside of committee, there is a growing hope that the full restoration of the 2nd Amendment in Ohio will follow suit as more states introduce and pass their own initiatives to restore the Constitution.
Please help pass Constitutional Carry in 2017!
*H/T to OhioGunowners.org and director Chris Dorr, spearheading the Constitutional Carry initiative!
**The Ohio House Federalism & Interstate Relations Committee had proponent hearings on 23 May 2017 – http://bit.ly/2rmMtbT
Sam Ludtman is a home schooled freelance writer and Libertarian, Constitutional and Austrian Economic polemicist and is currently based in southeast Ohio. His websites are jcmerak2.webs.com & themuddyotter.wordpress.com.