House Bill 526, or the bill which would make it very hard for home owners to store firearms withing reasonable reach for self-defense, was defeated by the amazing opposition brought to Columbus by every Statewide group we share common goals with. The NRA also played a small role in this process. Newspaper articles later went on to say the bill failed because a "right to carry concealed weapons" bill was attached to the Safe Storage bill. The truth is the issue was dropped by the Committee Chair when she realized she didn't have enough votes to get the bill out of the committee.
While this was a victory for Ohioans For Concealed Carry and all Ohio gun owners a new threat has established itself. Senator Eric Fingerhut, a man bent on disarming law-abiding citizens in an attempt to grab the spotlight of politics and emotional sensationalism, has created a Gun Safety Initiative Committee. This group is trying to place a mandatory safe storage law on the 2002 Ohio Ballot as a voter initiative. This means the anti-gun forces will be hammering the 2002 election scene with scary images of children dying because trigger locks are not mandatory. You can rest assured if Fingerhut can get this issue on the ballot it will be a major friend of the media. For more information on this issue be sure to look into these two sites, the second one being a parody: Gun Safety Ohio (dot com) and Gun Safety Ohio (dot org).
Since the beginning of our fight in the summer of 1999 the original founding members staffed quite a few gun shows in Northern Ohio, including the Summit County Show, The Medina County Show, The Ohio Gun Collector's Association, and many others. As more members came along more shows started to get staffed. Gun shows allow us to speak face to face with people who know exactly what we're fighting for. We've been able to educate people on the existing laws, existing legislation, and how to get "out of state" permits as an Ohio Resident. In the process we've collected amazing amounts of signatures and cash donations. The only way we'll be able to continue these shows is with the help of more members. We also need more people interested in speaking before groups, before law-makers in Committee, and for a variety of tasks behind the scenes operating the "business" of Ohioans For Concealed Carry.
In August of 2000 quite a few "great things" happened. First, a man named Patrick Feely had concealed carry charges against him dropped. Mr. Feely is a member of our group and has paved the way for four additional plaintiffs to file a lawsuit against numerous police departments in Hamilton County, Ohio. Their fight is simple: Ohio's laws against carrying a concealed firearm violate the Ohio Constitution. When the original temporary restraining order was filed Hamilton County was "virtually" a vermont style carry area. An appeal brought this down, but the case continues. In an effort to drum up support we held a rally on Fountain Square. This rally attracted a large amount of support, every local television station, numerous newspapers, and an amazing amount of donations and support from our members. The case is still pending due to Handgun Control, Inc. trying to become invovled, but the chances of a win in this fight are good.
In the year 2000 a smaller group of guys from within Ohioans For Concealed Carry started to construct signs inspired by the Burma Shave Sign Theory. While the normal Burma Shave Signs used to be 4-5 segments or so angled towards traffic all of our current signs are single sheets of plywood. Nearly five locations in Northern and Northwest Ohio were up by the winter of 2000, but one sign located on the Ohio Turnpike brought us lawsuit threats by The Ohio Turnpike Commission. Interestingly enough, the Ohio Turnpike Commission, while acquiring the land it needed to build the turkpike in 1954, decided to pay land owners extra money in exchange for placing bans on "advertising devices of any kind" within their deed restrictions. Excluding the OTC set back, these signs have become a serious potential for our groupd and help us attract numerous new members. When the turnpike sign came down we actually heard from people who were upset because they liked to see the sign on their way in to work!
Thank you for taking the time to read through this short history of Ohioans For Concealed Carry. If you're a member and you notice any significant information lacking please be sure to let us know. If you're new to our cause and our group please consider joining today, and tell all your friends about us!