DAYTON, OHIO — Ever wander into a gun-free zone by mistake? We all know gun free zones are effective in name only but for law-abiding concealed carriers, they present a real problem. Getting arrested or caught with a firearm in a place specifically designated as a gun free zone can come with serious repercussions. One Ohio lawmaker wants to stop that.
According to WKSU 89.7 News, Republican State Rep. John Becker says that gun free zones can be a source of serious pain for concealed carriers. He has proposed a bill that would not make it a crime to be a legally licensed concealed carrier in a designated gun free zone. However, if asked to leave, the concealed carrier would have to comply with the request.
“It simply says for those people who have a concealed carry permit, if they were to inadvertently go into one of these gun-free zones, they could not be charged with a crime unless they refuse to leave,” Becker said.
As we all know, criminals aren’t deterred by gun free zones. Those signs mean nothing to someone intent on doing other people harm. This bill, if passed and enacted, would mean that violent criminals would have yet one more factor to consider before conducting violent acts in areas where concealed carriers are not legally allowed to be.
“We certainly see on a regular basis, an increasing basis, bad guys with guns going into these gun-free zones and there’s nobody there to stop them,” Becker said.
Of course, there will be push-back.
“To us this really seems like an attempt to bully business owners who want to support a culture of peace instead of fear by not allowing guns on their premises. What we are looking at under this bill is something that would blame victims of crime,” Jennifer Thorne said.
She’s the executive director of the Ohio Coalition against Gun Violence. They oppose the bill and nearly any other bill that seeks to protect law-abiding gun owners.
She and many of her fellow colleagues view gun free zones as effective deterrence to violent criminals. Gun owners and concealed carriers are somehow the bad guys in these scenarios.
Make no mistake, even if this bill does become law, concealed carriers will still not be allowed into areas designated as gun free zones. The distinction is that they will not be charged with a crime so long as they agree to leave the premises. So, in effect, they would still be violating a condition.
As a concealed carrier, it’s often times confusing and difficult to determine where a gun free zone begins and ends. Because these imaginary lines exist, we have to maintain a keen awareness of signage. It’s very possible to wander into a place and miss a small placard saying “No Guns Allowed”. Criminals don’t even have to look in the first place. But, for us, we’re held to a higher standard. We have training requirements, background checks, and have to maintain a clean criminal record in order to maintain our right to carry a concealed firearm upon our person.
For Ohio residents and those licensed to carry in Ohio, what Becker proposes isn’t the worst idea in the world. We need to punish violent criminals more and otherwise law-abiding concealed carriers less.
We have a responsibility to uphold to ourselves and our community. It’s nice to see that responsibility recognized with a bill like this.