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Posted: 11/21/2002 6:16:21 PM EDT
The following provides vital information that needs to be distributed as widely as possible - especially in Ohio. The Ohio Senate is letting the Ohio FOP secretly re-write CCW legislation (HB274) that has been crafted over the last 18 months. HB274 had several serious problems, but might have been salvageable. The FOP re-write will surely load down an already seriously flawed bill with even more anti-gunrights provisions. Please read this information, then call your friends and pass it along. Call 614-466-8842 or 1-800-282-0253 to find your Senator's and Representative's contact information. Call your Senator and Representative and ask them to vote against HB274 if the Senate modifies it in any way. While HB274 has passed the House, if the Senate modifies it the bill will have to return to the House for another vote - so it's important to contact both your Senator and Representative. Follow-up your call with a letter if you can. ### NEWS For Immediate Release People's Rights Organization Calls For Ohio Lawmakers To Kill Concealed Carry Efforts This Session -- Already Flawed Bill About To Get Worse; Finan's Swan Song Disappointing -- Police Union Attempting To Line Its Members' Pockets? COLUMBUS, Ohio, November 20, 2002 - The People's Rights Organization today urged its members to call Ohio lawmakers and tell them to drop their efforts to pass concealed carry legislation this year following published reports that a labor union, and the NRA, are negotiating in bad faith on vital citizen safety measures and shutting the public out of the process. "Based on the timetable the Ohio General Assembly has for adjournment this year, there will be no time for Ohioans to comment on the legislation, good or bad. But the powers that be intend to say, 'take it now or forget it.' If only half of what we've heard actually makes it into the bill, Ohioans will be far worse off than they are today," says Dennis Walker, People's Rights Organization secretary. At issue is the 11th hour entry of a public employee labor union on the concealed carry issue. For 18 months the union has not contributed anything, other than to say it didn't like the current legislation. It appears both houses of the legislature intend to roll over for the union and push bad legislation through in order to get it off the table. "Teamster-like tactics are being used to strong-arm lawmakers into a position from which they feel there is no escape, and this issue smells like a rotten fish," Walker says. "Lawmakers looking for a quick way out of this quagmire are trying to tell everyone that all fish, or laws, stink. All laws do not stink. But when backroom deals are being made that could compromise the public's safety, and the Fraternal Order of Police union, to whom many lawmakers are politically indebted, is given carte blanche to write laws, the people lose out. What is worse is that the Ohio House may rubber stamp whatever comes out of the Senate in an attempt to make this highly political issue go away. Too many compromises were made in the past. There is a time when people have to stand up for their rights and say, ' No, this is too much.'" The People's Rights Organization, a non-profit 2nd Amendment rights education center and statewide advocacy group, says it is prepared to take legal action on any law coming out of the current backroom deal-making if it infringes on civil rights. The organization, a long respected leader and advocate of firearms rights, particularly concealed carry legislation, filed and won two costly federal lawsuits against the City of Columbus in the 1990s over unconstitutional laws. It also is a plaintiff in the thus far successful Hamilton County lawsuit now before the Ohio Supreme Court that would overturn Ohio's antiquated prohibition against concealed carry. For nearly 18 months Ohio lawmakers have been working on two concealed carry bills. Work on the issue actually stretches back seven years. As in past years, People's Rights Organization representatives have worked closely with state legislators to craft appropriate and reasonable language that would afford lawful Ohioans the right to use a firearm to protect themselves away from their homes. Currently, negotiations between Sen. Finan, the NRA and police union are being held in secret. The following is information the People's Rights Organization has at this time: PRUDENT PERSON -- The current prudent person defense, which would enable an otherwise qualified person to be able to legally defend themselves at a moment's notice with a firearm, even though they don't possess a concealed carry permit, will likely be removed at the insistence of the police union. The ramifications of such a change is that a woman who occasionally has to work in a high crime area, but who usually doesn't feel the need to regularly carry a firearm, might no longer have this legal protection if she is attacked and uses a gun to defend herself." TRAINING - The police union is demanding an increase in the amount of training for citizens seeking a concealed carry permit. In the past, the police union, which exists to negotiate salary and benefits contracts, has said it wants harsh qualification restrictions and costly annual re-qualifications for Ohioans should a concealed carry permit bill ever pass. Most other states have a simple renewal process where a fee is sent to the state every four or five years - just like a driver's license. People's Rights Organization also has heard police union leaders comment that the union would like to see a requirement for as much as 40 hours of initial training. Every state surrounding Ohio has concealed carry, with Michigan requiring the most training at eight hours. Why does the police union, the NRA, and the Ohio General Assembly all believe that the people of Ohio are so untrustworthy that we require as much as five times as much training as the people of Michigan? The People's Rights Organization believes the leadership of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action might also be considering turning its back on its cadre of NRA trained and certified instructors in order to claim that it has single-handedly achieved right-to-carry in Ohio. "Training for concealed carry should be reasonable and appropriate," Walker says. "We fully understand the importance and purpose of firearms training. The training being demanded by the police union is far beyond reasonable. At 20 hours, or 40 hours, it is vastly more than required by any other state in the area." Finally, People's Rights also is concerned that the police union may be attempting to craft legislation that will only permit police to teach concealed carry classes. If this is true, it is a bold attempt by the police union to give its retired members a reason to continue as dues-paying members of the union. While the police union may be looking for ways to provide new income opportunities for its members, People's Rights Organization's non-profit safety education arm, PRO-Training, is staffed by more than 25 female and male, -certified firearm and crime avoidance instructors - all volunteers -- who donate their time as a community service.
Link Posted: 11/21/2002 6:18:17 PM EDT
GUN REGISTRATION -- One of the police union's demands in the past, in return for concealed carry support, is for Ohioans to prove their proficiency with the specific firearm they intend to carry. The only way to track this is to record serial numbers from firearms, which is tantamount to gun control. "This is de-facto gun registration, a measure the Ohio General Assembly has historically worked long and hard to avoid," Walker noted. "We urge People's Rights Organization members in every county of Ohio to contact their Senators and demand that the police union get out of this process. We also urge them to contact their district lawmaker in the Ohio House of Representatives, in case a new bill crafted by the police union makes it out of the Senate. Legislators and organizations that support any such dangerous registration schemes will be well publicized to Ohioans." The police union also has previously indicated that it believes Ohioans permit holders should be forced to buy a costly insurance bond in case the individual either accidentally shoots someone or shoots the wrong person. In addition, due to the current political climate following the Washington D.C.-area shootings, there is an outside chance that the police union may suggest that sample cartridge casings and fired bullets from permit holders' carry sidearm be collected and put on file with authorities. This is a camel's nose under the tent. How long would it be before all guns sold in Ohio are required to be "ballistic fingerprinted?" In the few states that have such requirements, the result has been an increase the cost of firearms, restrictions on their availability, a soaking up of valuable police resources and finances, and yet not one crime has been solved. "The question is why a public employee labor union is telling Ohio lawmakers how law-abiding people may protect themselves," Walker notes, "and why the NRA is so willing to go along?" "We are sorely disappointed that a highly respected lawmaker like Senate President Richard Finan would indenture himself to the police union and NRA, trash 18 months of work in the Ohio House, and push highly questionable legislation when he is about to leave office due to term limits. This is nothing more than a hijacking of the process on a long overdue public safety measure. We call on the Ohio Senate and Ohio House to represent the People of Ohio and not cave into a single powerful public employee union." HB 274 has already been described by every pro-concealed carry organization in Ohio - with the exception of the National Rifle Association - as a bad bill. The changes proposed and suggested in the past, if implemented, will only make it worse. HB 274, which passed the Ohio House of Representatives in March, has been on hold in the Senate while the Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments on a Hamilton County lawsuit that temporarily overturned the state's antiquated prohibition against concealed carry. Contrary to published reports, the Supreme Court is moving on this matter and written arguments in the case, in which the People's Rights Organization is a co-plaintiff, are being filed with the Court this month. ABOUT PRO The People's Rights Organization (PRO) is Ohio's most active grassroots group in the fields of Education, Legislation and Litigation. PRO is a leading non-profit provider of instruction in the defensive use of firearms for private citizens, having taught monthly courses on Personal Protection with a firearm to women and men since 1989. PRO teaches firearm safety, personal protection, provides crime avoidance instruction, and youth gun accident prevention programs. Since its founding in 1989, the non-profit, non-partisan organization has spent significant resources to educate Ohioans about their rights, promote safety strategies for women and men, most important of which is safe gun handling, personal protection training and personal safety strategy development. During the past seven years, more than 1,500 Ohioans have learned safe gun handling, home firearm safety, basic marksmanship and Ohio law regarding self-defense through monthly PRO-Training classes. ### For more information, EDITORS please contact: Dennis Walker Secretary The People's Rights Organization Email: d-walker@juno.com Tel: 614.348.5566 Tel: 614.268.0122
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