Supporters of legislation that would allow Ohio citizens to carry concealed weapons said they hope three “defense” walks planned for Sunday in the Lima, Columbus, and Dayton areas will bolster their efforts.
Charlie Triplett of Bluffton said he expects about 100 gun-carrying marchers to participate in Lima's march, beginning at 2 p.m. in the AutoZone parking lot on Cable Road, just south of State Rt. 309.
The Ohio Supreme Court last month ruled that the state's law banning concealed weapons is constitutional. On Sept. 28, Vincent Ferrier of Cincinnati organized the first “defense” walk in protest of that ruling.
Organizers said participants plan similar walks to show displeasure with the court's ruling.
“These are truly grass-root efforts,” said Chad Baus of Archbold, a spokesman for the group Ohioans for Concealed Carry. “We did not organize these. But when Mr. Ferrier did his walk, people from around the state called us and asked what they could do. We facilitated communication between the groups and told them if they did certain things, we would help publicize it.”
Mr. Baus said one of the things was to notify law enforcement of their decision to march openly with their weapons. He said the organizers did not want the marches to be antagonistic.
Allen County Sheriff Dan Beck could not be reached for comment on the Lima march.
“Ohioans, though, need to see what the law currently requires,” Mr. Baus said. “Then, they can make up their minds on if they want Ohio to look like the Old Wild West, or to have the weapons concealed as described in House Bill 12.”
Mr. Baus said House Bill 12 would required training and provide some restrictions for those carrying concealed weapons. He said current state law requires no training.
Mr. Triplett said he organized Lima's walk outside of the city limits because city officials would have required them to take out a permit, possibly delaying its effort to protest.
He said the protesters will walk from the AutoZone area to Sherwood Drive.
The Columbus-area walk will be in Gahanna at 2 p.m. The Dayton-area walk will be in Xenia beginning at 1 p.m.
“We have the right to bear arms, and that right is guaranteed by the Constitution,” Mr. Triplett said. “You can get arrested walking down the street today if you're carrying a loaded weapon. We want to show people we still have that right [to carry weapons].”
Mr. Baus said protesters don't want to reinvent the wheel, but want Ohio to catch up with most other states, which allow carrying concealed weapons.
“All we want is what 45 other states already have,” Mr. Baus said. “I could see if we were one of the first states trying to pass a law like this, but we're actually one of the last. These laws haven't caused the problems people are predicting, and it won't here.”
Mr. Baus said he hopes a walk will be planned soon for Toledo as well.
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