Blog 8/10/22

Ohioans’ right to protect on the ballot this November

By Mike Lowney

Dayton Daily News

The debate over school security is taking center stage again in the wake of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. Ohio is leading the way with substantive reforms that, unlike many of the measures being debated in Washington D.C., would genuinely make schools safer.

Governor Mike DeWine recently signed a new school safety bill into law that gives teachers, principals, and other school staff the option to carry a concealed firearm in their classrooms after meeting training and education requirements. Notably, while the law requires up to 24 hours of training for teachers before they can carry, it emphasizes local control by giving local school boards the authority to decide whether to allow their teachers and school workers to carry firearms. This is an important step in the right direction to better secure our schools and protect our children from the realities of the world we live in today.

Unsurprisingly, the Governor and his allies are receiving backlash from the anti-gun community, including some teachers’ unions, who have bought into the false sense of security that making schools a “gun free zone” will keep them safe. As we continue to witness tragedies unfold in our nation’s schools – we can see that criminals do not follow the laws of “gun free zones.”

Earlier this year, Ohio also became the twenty-third state in the U.S. to allow citizens to carry a firearm without a concealed carry license permit – a law that reflects growing support for gun rights as record numbers of Ohioans, and Americans, are purchasing firearms to defend themselves and their loved ones in the face of rising violent crime nationwide. Infact, the demand for concealed-handgun licenses in Ohio jumped 78% in 2020 over the previous year, and continues to climb as the number of homicides in Ohio rose last year to its highest mark in three decades.

It’s important to note that these gun owners are not your stereotypical gun owner, and represent all demographics. David Becker with Miami Armory told the Dayton Daily News last year that new gun owners were coming from all walks of life, including more women and people who would have previously been anti-gun. Becker said his store saw well over 40 percent more sales in 2020 than in 2019, and roughly 75 percent of people coming in were first-time gun owners.

While Governor DeWine and other elected officials at the state-level fight for public safety through sound policies, efforts must also be met at the federal level to support responsible gun ownership. That is why this November’s elections are so critical – we need new leadership in Congress to pass reforms like national concealed carry reciprocity, which would allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves at all times and not be subject to criminal prosecution for crossing the wrong state line.

Considering all that is at stake for our freedoms and the safety of ourselves and our children, Ohioans and all Americans will play an important role in the ballot box this November to ensure our leaders – both at the state and federal level – have our best interest at heart over party politics. Ohio is on a path toward success, and it is our hope the nation will follow.