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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

The right to pack heat

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2006 at 12:11 PM

I am a CCW permit holder and a competitive rifle and pistol shooter. I carry my sidearm whenever I go to visit friends and family in less than savory neighborhoods, as the police are stretched thin and people are on their own should anything unfortunate happen. I have to travel many miles out of my the way to avoid violating local firearms laws in certain cities when I go to shoots. It is appalling that I could be arrested in some local neighborhoods for carrying a competition arm that is perfectly legal in most others. Imagine getting pulled over and arrested on your way to work because the city you just entered outlawed your Honda Civic the week before. What if Columbus decided that they would no longer honor the state drivers license on I-71? This is why we need preemption on gun control. If you have never tried to comply with the current CCW law regarding carrying "in plain sight" in a vehicle, it is a hassle. You never know for sure if you are complying with the law or not because it leaves the definition of plain sight up in the air. "Plain sight" lends itself to more trouble and danger than it arguably avoids. The more you are forced to handle the pistol unnecessarily, the more likely the chances are of having a negligent discharge. In making the firearm visible while in your car it is impossible to explain to all passersby that the pistol on my belt is legally possessed and that there is no need to panic. The police officers I have spoken with have stated that they do not believe the current "plain sight" restriction has any positive impact on safety. I have never spoken to an Ohio State Highway Patrol officer about the issue, but I have a very hard time imagining the rank and file officers support it. CCW holders are not the ones with criminal intent. We need not be feared, as some would have you believe. We are not vigilantes or criminals. In order to get a permit, you must meet certain standards that preclude the most dangerous people from legally carrying a concealed weapon. To a man (and woman), we have never been convicted of any drug offense or felony. We have no mental defect or disabilities and we pass criminal background checks. You must also attend a two day class that focuses on safety prior to applying. To paraphrase Ohioans for Concealed Carry, how much do you know about other Ohioans? I contend that those that can get a permit are among the best Ohio has to offer. They should be treated, and trusted, as such. This is why I believe HB 347 should be made into law. Christopher Long Westlake
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