Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dean Rieck's Jan. 8 guest column of on permitless concealed carry was wrong on the law. The Ohio Supreme Court has held “there is no constitutional right to bear concealed weapons.”
Glaringly, his piece also disregards crucial facts, such as its false claim that gun violence has not resulted in “blood in the streets.”
The FBI reported that “killings soared nearly 30 percent in 2020, with more slayings committed with guns.”
The Ohio Mayors Alliance testified at the statehouse that Ohioans are dealing this year with a “surge in gun violence” and “passing this bill will increase violent crime, police-involved shootings, and more innocent victims being caught in the crossfire.”
Rieck was also wrong to disregard the opposition of law enforcement experts to permitless carry, which would allow people 21 years of age or older to carry a concealed handgun without any training in firearms or passing a background check.
The Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio testified that Senate Bill 215 will “create a threat to officer safety.”
Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey testified: “Allowing virtually anyone in Ohio to conceal weapons on their person without training or background checks will make Ohio less safe.”
The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association testified, “There must be a minimum training requirement for someone … with the awesome right of carrying a weapon that can deprive another person of their life.”
Second, Senate Bill 215 would even allow persons convicted of misdemeanor assault on a police officer to legally carry a concealed handgun, even though now such individuals cannot legally carry a concealed handgun under Ohio Revised Code section 2923.125.
The Fraternal Order of Police criticized this provision, saying it “would open the door to … convicted criminals to carry a concealed weapon.”
The Buckeye Firearms Association has admitted that an advantage of carrying a concealed handgun is, “you hope to have the element of surprise.” There is no valid reason for the Senate to give a person convicted of misdemeanor assault on a police officer the right to carry a concealed weapon.
Third, the senate bill would shackle police and endanger the public by preventing the police from stopping and questioning suspicious individuals carrying a gun “no matter how temporary in duration” the detention was, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld such stops.
The Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association said: “With the passage of this bill a person could feasibl[y] have a car load of … AK-47’s and AR-15’s, and the officer initiating a traffic stop would not be able to question … what they were looking at.”
Fourth, by eliminating the requirement for a concealed carry license, Senate Bill 215 would effectively make it impossible for police to enforce the law. The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association explained, “Without a concealed carry permit requirement, a law enforcement officer … will have no way of determining whether that person is carrying a concealed weapon legally or illegally.”
Finally, the senate bill would further endanger police by: (1) eliminating the current responsibility of a civilian carrying a concealed handgun stopped by the police to promptly notify police that he is carrying a concealed firearm; and (2) switching the duty to the police officer to ask if that civilian is carrying a concealed weapon.
The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police said, "To remove the duty to notify is setting us all up for confrontation and potentially tragic failure.”
The General Assembly should not do the bidding of the Buckeye Firearms Association and allow unqualified individuals to legally sneak up on others with a concealed handgun. The General Assembly should reject Senate Bill 215, because it is anti-police and anti-public safety.
Doug Rogers was a partner in the Vorys law firm in Columbus for over 20 years, during which he represented the Fraternal Order of Police in federal court in Ohio and Oklahoma. He also was an adjunct professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Opinion: Concealed carry without permit would endanger police