Everything banned but guns

To the Editor:

Tents, ladders, coolers, canned goods, tennis balls and bicycle locks were banned in the area surrounding the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. But guns are fine.

The head of the Cleveland police union said he made a request to ban open-carry during the Republican convention following the recent fatal shootings of police officers in Louisiana and Texas. Kasich said he did not have the power to circumvent that state’s open-carry law.

A decade ago the municipalities had the power to regulate how guns could be carried. Now, do to a law passed in 2006, only the state legislature can do it. This has become a national debate, pitting city authorities, who contend with gun violence, against state lawmakers who answer to gun-loving voters and lobbyists.

Open-carry is unpopular with cops. Surveys in Texas and Florida found that the majority of law enforcement leaders opposed open-carry.

Colorado passed legislation in 2003 aimed at ensuring a state law on firearms supersedes local ordinance. Denver had a long standing ordinance banning open-carry, sued the state and won.

Dallas’ police chief drew criticism from gun rights advocates for saying open-carry carriers made it “challenging” for his officers to respond to a shooter who killed five policeman at a demonstration in July. Dallas police said up to 3- people were carrying rifles during the protest, complicating law enforcement attempts to identify the gunman. Not a single one of these people carrying firearms caught this guy and what he was doing. It drained law enforcement resources and subjected citizens to being unnecessarily taken into custody.

The co-founder of open-carry.org said they are sympathetic to law enforcement being concerned about their safety, but that doesn’t mean we give up citizens’ rights to make it easier to police large events. I’m not sure the families who lost loved ones in Dallas would feel the same.

Keep in mind that HB48 (guns everywhere) has passed the Ohio’s House of Representatives and will be voted on by the Senate. This bill could be another open-carry law very unpopular with police.

Call your state senator and tell them to trash this bill, District 5 Bill Beagle at (9614) 466-6247, beagle@ohio-senate.gov.

— George Riegle