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FOP president: Ohio lawmakers ignoring 'concerns of the men and women who keep your family safe'

·3 min read
Brandy Jones takes a photo for Elyasha Smith for an identification card during a concealed carry weapons (CCW) license during an all-female CCW class at New Prospect Baptist Church Saturday, February 8, 2020.
Brandy Jones takes a photo for Elyasha Smith for an identification card during a concealed carry weapons (CCW) license during an all-female CCW class at New Prospect Baptist Church Saturday, February 8, 2020.

Ohio lawmakers are working to remove the licensing and training requirement for people to carry a concealed weapon.

Some call it “constitutional carry,” and assert that the Second Amendment is all that’s needed for citizens to take a hidden gun out in public.

The reality is a bit more nuanced than that.

When the delegates met at Philadelphia during the sweltering summer of 1787, the task before the Constitutional Convention was almost insurmountable.

How, in the face of the revolution just fought, could a coalition of states unite and govern nationally when individual freedom and state sovereignty were paramount?

More: Ohio Senate Republicans pass bill eliminating need for concealed carry permits

First, they cast the widest possible net for individual freedom.

They attached a Bill of Rights, which didn’t lay out the rights given to citizens by the government, but rather reiterated the rights that belong to the people. The understanding was that the government must act in a way respectful of freedom and liberty.

Second, delegates sought to limit national government power to certain defined areas like foreign policy and national defense.

Third, the framers of the Constitution – and the states they represented – agreed to compromise. This is no minor point.

Fast-forward back to modern-day.

More: Ohio Senate Republicans pass bill eliminating need for concealed carry permits

Ohio’s concealed carry law is a prime example of modern-day legislators following the example of the founders. It’s a clear nod to individual freedom, embedded in the gun rights of the Second Amendment as well as similar protections in the Ohio Constitution.

Amy Johnson of Mt. Auburn holds an unloaded 44 Magnum during a concealed carry weapon (CCW) class at New Prospect Church in Roselawn. Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. 'We need to learn as women.. know I need knowledge on gun safety and gun laws'.  Johnson said.
Amy Johnson of Mt. Auburn holds an unloaded 44 Magnum during a concealed carry weapon (CCW) class at New Prospect Church in Roselawn. Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. 'We need to learn as women.. know I need knowledge on gun safety and gun laws'. Johnson said.

But it also takes seriously the government’s responsibility for public safety and, in that equation, it’s the ever-present compromise.

Under current law, to conceal-carry a gun in Ohio, citizens need a permit, which includes taking several hours of training.

Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio President Gary Wolske speaks at a press conference Dec. 2, 2021, advocating for legislation to boost employer contributions to the police and fire pension system.
Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio President Gary Wolske speaks at a press conference Dec. 2, 2021, advocating for legislation to boost employer contributions to the police and fire pension system.

People who receive a permit have responsibilities, like alerting police to the presence of a weapon during a traffic stop. The law has worked well.

The barrier to getting a permit is low, but public safety is preserved.

The system was negotiated carefully between gun rights advocates and organizations like the one I lead, which represent police and public safety. That collaborative process was good government at work.

Compromise is as extinct as the dinosaurs under Senate Bill 215.

Legislators don’t want to hear the concerns of the men and women who keep your family safe. They aren’t interested in the balance between public safety and individual freedom.

More: Retired police captain: Americans sick of 'complacency,' leaders must 'do something' about gun violence

The 24,000 members of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police are interested. Many police personally own guns, use guns recreationally, and strongly support the rights of law-abiding citizens to do the same.

However – because it keeps everyone safe – we support the current legal requirement for people to tell officers during a traffic stop or other interaction that they have a weapon in easy reach.

Gary Wolske is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, an organization that represents 24,000 members law enforcement from across the state.
Gary Wolske is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, an organization that represents 24,000 members law enforcement from across the state.

Senate Bill 215 eliminates the need for concealed carry permits, training, the need to notify police, the duty that a licensee keeps their hands in plain sight, the requirement to carry documentation, and disallows an officer from detaining anyone with a firearm.

This isn’t putting public safety first and it’s not putting public safety officers first.

In 2020, Ohio sheriffs suspended or revoked 2,047 licenses. Over 1,700 license applications were denied. The system works. Those who believe they’ve been wrongfully denied gun rights can appeal the decision. In the meantime, bad people with bad intentions are restrained.

More: Amelia Robinson: Instead of celebrating Christmas, far too many are 'dying by the gun'

Our founders got it right in 1787.

Their model has stood the test of time and history. The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police strongly urges legislators to look to the founders’ model. Maximize individual freedom.

Glock, a firearms manufacturer widely known for its series of pistols, makes several popular models often carried by CCW license holders. The Glock 22 pictured here is carried by many Ottawa County Sheriff's deputies.
Glock, a firearms manufacturer widely known for its series of pistols, makes several popular models often carried by CCW license holders. The Glock 22 pictured here is carried by many Ottawa County Sheriff's deputies.

Put public safety first. Reject Senate Bill 215.

Gary Wolske is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, an organization that represents 24,000 members law enforcement from across the state.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: What does Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio say about “constitutional carry”