July 16, 2004
Elyria Chronicle Telegram
Get your gun permits
Nearly 500 Lorain County residents
have signed up for concealed carry permits
by Cindy Leise
ELYRIA They walk among us
and we dont have a clue.
The gun might be in a pocket, a
purse or a holster.
Thomas Bowen, a retired Elyria
police captain, has a couple of holsters,
but he usually just tucks his
gun into his pocket during the summer
You can carry a gun and nobody
will even know it, he said.
Bowen, 58, who owns an apartment
complex on Middle Avenue,
said he rarely feels the need to
carry his gun, but there are times
he feels more comfortable with it.
The same goes for Lorain City
Councilman Gabriel David
Wargo, 69, and his wife, Bernice, 66.
A gun gives you control over
what may or may not happen,
David Wargo said.
If I go down, Im going to go
down fighting, Bernice Wargo
Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.
Its been about three months
since the first concealed carry permit
was issued in Ohio. The law
allows those with a good record to
carry a gun concealed on their person
and within plain sight if they
are driving. Guns are prohibited
from a number of locations such as
government buildings, and businesses
can post signs prohibiting
guns on the premises.
The Lorain County Sheriff s
Department, which has issued
about 800 permits, reports few problems
with the concealed carry law. Five permits have been denied because of background checks that showed felonies or violent misdemeanors such as assault. One applicant who failed to get a permit had
a pretty significant theft charge
in his background, according to
Sheriff s Capt. James Drozdowski.
Another permit was suspended
after a temporary protection order
was issued against the permit-holder,
In Lorain County, the only real
problem seems to be that the
records room is a little too busy processing
the permits. Drozdowski
said theyre averaging 20 per day.
The states concealed carry law
requires that applications be
processed within 45 days, and there
have been a few times Lorain County
has exceeded that time frame by
a few days because of delays in
background checks, Drozdowski
The department kept those individuals
informed and they didnt
seem to mind too much, he said.
Several weeks ago, Lorain County
cut back on the hours when concealed
carry applications are accepted. The new hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
A steady stream of people still
makes its way to the Sheriff s
Department to pick up licenses.
Former Army Ranger David
Rodgers said he thought Ohios
required 12-hour training class was
a good refresher, even for those
people like him who are very familiar
You may forget some of the finer
points, said Rodgers, 52, of Cuyahoga
Rodgers said women were among
the most attentive in his training
They pay attention they want
to learn right the first time, he said.
The law allows people to apply in
their own counties or adjoining
counties, and a lot of the Lorain
County licenses are being issued to
residents of Cuyahoga County.
Cuyahoga County Sheriff Gerald
McFaul only began accepting applications
after a gun activist sued him. Cuyahoga County only accepts about a dozen applications per day, a clerk said.
Of the 790 permits issued in
Lorain County, 290 were to people
from Cuyahoga County. Ten were
issued to Medina County residents,
three were issued to residents of
Huron and Ashland counties and
two were issued to residents of Erie
In Cuyahoga County, just one of
dozens of permit holders is from
Only a small fraction of permit
holders are women, but a surprising
number of couples such as the
Wargos have received licenses.
It has been a few decades since a
gun saved David Wargos wife from
possible harm, but it seems like yesterday
to David Wargo.
He returned from work at B.F. Goodrich, only to find that some men had broken a window and a door of his home before they
were stopped at a second door by Bernice, who was armed.
They saw she had a gun and took off, David Wargo recalled.
Wargo said his son, David W., and
daughter-in-law, Cynthia, also got
The concealed carry law survived its first test on Wednesday, when the Ohio Supreme
Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by
the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.
The coalition argued the law bars those who have been institutionalized against their will for mental illness, but there was no database to check those involuntary
commitments prior to April 8.
Toby Hoover, the coalitions executive
director, said the high court said the lawsuit should have been filed in a lower court. She said the coalition may continue to question
the constitutionality of the law based on the lack of a significant database for those institutionalized against their will.
The law says it will do something
it cannot do, Hoover said.
Hoover, whose first husband died in a store robbery shooting, said she fears more guns in the public will translate into more
shootings. Innocent bystanders or people who might have a problem with permit holders could get shot, she said.
But David Wargo, a former Common
Pleas Court bailiff, said it is time that ordinary law-abiding citizens have a chance to defend themselves.
The permit-holders are the law-abiding
citizens, he said. The lawbreakers
are the ones who make people afraid of guns.
Inside: Complete list of permit holders.
The paper took up one and one-half pages publishing the names of an estimated 800 concealed handgun licensees.
The Elyria Chronicle Telegram was one of the first to violate the stated intent of the Taft media exception provision to the protection of private CHL-records. Taft and the Ohio Newspaper Association said it was about providing a check and a balance to ensure the "right" people were obtaining licenses. The Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, along with a handful of others, are clearly abusing this provision.
Rep. James Aslanides (R-Coshocton), the bill's sponsor, said in conference committee and during a short floor speech on January 7, 2004 that he would lead an effort to roll back the media access if the "privilege" is abused.
"If they abuse the privilege, we can cause them to lose the privilege," he declared, pointing out that the Pennsylvania Legislature struck a similar provision after a newspaper published a list of permit holders.
Sen. Steve Austria seconded this warning, adding that publishing the names of license-holders would be the exact kind of abuse they're referrring to, since publishing these names would threaten the safety of the very men and women who have chosen to bear arms for self-defense.
Rep. Aslanides has already expressed interest in modifying the law to correct this abuse. Sen. Austria has not, as far as we are aware, provided public comment in the wake of these newspapers' actions.
Both men are up for re-election this November.
SPITE: Two Ohio newspapers violate privacy of county CHL-holders