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Ohio's DeWine asked to ensure open carry training after shooting jokes by police

Will Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine use his office and influence to ensure police are trained in protecting and showing proper respect for the right to open carry firearms under state law?
Will Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine use his office and influence to ensure police are trained in protecting and showing proper respect for the right to open carry firearms under state law?
Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images

A recent Facebook discussion between presumptive Ohio police officers lends a chilling twist to the recent controversial Texas Chipotle open carry story, one that recalls a similar police attitude from a few years back, and one that endangers law enforcement as well as citizens, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was told today in a letter both mailed by this correspondent and communicated to him online.

“I am writing to express concern that Ohio law enforcement is not receiving proper training regarding the duty of sworn officers to respect and protect the right of the people to openly bear arms in public,” DeWine was told. “Some have exhibited ignorance on occasion, as well as contemptuous attitudes that endanger the public and may create blowback. I am also offering a solution to help ensure the law is observed and that dangerous situations and unwarranted responses will not be initiated by the authorities.”

Those attitudes included laughing about double-tapping the open carriers, a term gun owners recognize as the placing of two shots into a target in quick succession. That recalls a similar comment made years back by a California police detective laughing about shooting open carriers and then getting two weeks off, and further laughing because the legal climate in California denies concealed carry permits to so many.

Significant progress has been made in Ohio over the past few years so that repeats of incidents of openly carrying citizens being ordered onto the ground at gunpoint have not been reported, the letter acknowledges. Nonetheless, the “joking,” assuming that’s what it was, is still inappropriate and chilling.

“How hard could it be for the state's top law enforcement officer ... to write a memorandum recognizing the legality of peaceable open carry, and then sending it to every police and sheriff's department in the state, as well as to the Highway Patrol?” DeWine was asked after being reminded the same questions were asked of his predecessor, and of the attorney general before that. “One would assume flow-down communications explaining your interpretations and positions on law enforcement issues are already established and routine.

“And how hard would it be for the individual LE departments to transmit this information to their sworn personnel?” the letter continued. “ If you're already requiring employees to sign acknowledgments such as they understand sexual harassment rules, etc., and are placing such proof of training documents in their personnel files, how much more effort would be required to have each officer sign and date a simple acknowledgment that he or she understands that open carry is lawful?”

The letter concluded warning DeWine that allowing the situation to continue would pose dangers not only to citizens, in terms of being harassed or worse, and to the state, in terms of liability, but to police themselves if citizens are put into a position of having to defend themselves in accordance with the law and with established court precedents.

“So why not just use the influence of your office to minimize negative consequences for all concerned?" it asked.


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