May 28, 1999

Colonel Kenneth B. Marshall

Ohio State Highway Patrol

Dear Colonel Marshall:

The Cincinnati Enquirer recently published your editorial opposing HB 165 (right-to-carry concealed weapons).
I was pleased to see this because I did not know why the Ohio State Highway Patrol would oppose HB 165.
You outlined three reasons. I have addressed each:

1) Citing "road rage" you asked, "Do we really want to increase the number of loaded guns in vehicles?"
This question alludes to the "wild west" concern.
This concern is without merit. If I remember correctly, only about one percent of those eligible to obtain a permit to carry concealed weapons actually do so. Therefore, the increase in the number of loaded guns in vehicles will not substantially increase. Furthermore, to my knowledge, there has never been an illegal shooting due to "road rage" or a "wild west" incident anywhere in the country by an individual legally carrying a concealed weapon.

2) You stated, "Concealment does not equate to deterrence." Although I agree with your bank guard example, it is not a valid analogy. FBI crime statistics are very clear on this issue. Violent crime has dropped substantially in every state that has enacted concealed carry legislation. Criminals do not know who is armed and who isn't. Many therefore, turn to non-violent crime. There are numerous examples of citizens fighting back. And a reduction in the crime rate immediately followed.

3) You stated that HB 165 requires an inadequate training course. Okay, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on that issue. I hope that you get involved in designing an appropriate training course for us non-professionals.
You also pointed out the unfortunate fact that some law enforcement officers are killed with their own weapons taken by assailants. I agree that this is a danger. However, being unarmed during an attack is a much greater danger. Again, the statistics are clear that an armed citizen is able to protect himself, his family, and even innocent strangers better than an unarmed citizen.

I intend no disrespect sir, but your above arguments don't hold water.
Please don't get me wrong Colonel Marshall. I support the Ohio State Patrol. If your fine organization needs additional weapons, equipment, facilities, or personnel, in order to fight violent crime, please let me know. I will gladly ask my state legislator (Sam Bateman) to initiate funding to get you what you need.
Also, I can back up all of my above arguments with statistics and specific examples. I did not include them here simply because I'm trying to understand why we are on opposite sides of this important issue.
In what way could HB 165 be amended in order to garner your support?
I sincerely hope that your response to this letter will lead to a solution that will be acceptable to the Ohio State Patrol, the legislature, and to Governor Taft.
Thank you for giving this issue your consideration.

John E. Becker