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Dr. Frank Holtzhauer

Saturday, October 1st, 2005

Dr. Frank Holtzhauer, Professor of Public Health Policy at Ohio State University, is the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month for October.
 In nominating Dr. Holtzhauer for the Award, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said that the Ohioan “certainly distinguished himself recently in the battle to prevent the Columbus City Council from banning an extensive number of semiautomatic firearms.  Although unfortunately we’ve lost that fight for the moment, it’s important to honor those who put up a good fight to preserve the right to keep and bear arms.  Dr. Holtzhauer certainly deserves this recognition.”
 According to the pro-gun Peoples Rights Organization (PRO) in Ohio, when Dr. Holtzhauer testified before the Columbus City Council against the ban, he “definitely unnerved Council with his remarks.”  He was so articulate, said PRO, “that Council Member Charlata Tavares felt compelled to state that she didn’t believe that Dr. Holtzhauer represents the healthcare community in Columbus.”
 In his testimony, Dr. Holtzhauer presented a number of items of fact.  He noted, for instance, that, “sixteen years ago I completed a study that involved interviewing 50 murderers in Ohio prisons who used guns to kill and 100 matched neighborhood controls that reported owning guns, but did not kill another.  There were many interesting findings, but one take away was the fact that it was not the gun; it was a bad person that was the murderer.  I asked them – they did not care about the laws of society.”
 Among the other items Dr. Holtzhauer cited in his testimony are:
“All of the credible studies conducted or reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control during the past 15 years cannot show any benefit of any recent gun laws.”
“The Urban League study of the assault weapons ban published a few years ago concluded that they were unable to detect any reduction in two types of murders closely associated with assault weapons.”
 “A recent study by the National Institute of Justice states ‘we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.’”“Recent studies show a decrease in crime in states that have passed concealed carry laws.”
 “A recent debate at Ohio State featured Jim Kessler.  Mr. Kessler worked as an aide to then Congressman Schumer and was a key architect of the Brady Bill.  I heard Mr. Kessler say the following in response to a question on the federal ban, ‘We do not need another symbolic gun law.  The assault weapons ban was 80-90 percent show.’”
 “Council states ‘assault weapons typically fire ammunition that can penetrate an officer’s body armor and kill or severely injure the officer.’  With the new definition of assault weapon by Council to include semi auto shotguns and semi auto pistols, Council’s statement that I just read is 100 percent misleading and bordering on a false statement.  Shotguns and semi auto pistols do not typically penetrate body armor.”
“The number of officers killed wearing body armor is not going up contrary to allegations.  That number in 2003 is 31.  This number has ranged from 35 in 1994 to 27 in 1997 and 1999.  Fortunately for our officers the trend is flat.”
 Dr. Holtzhauer stated flatly to the Council that, “the data clearly do not support the direction you are attempting to take public policy in this community on this issue.  As a researcher I am frankly dismayed at what can only politely be called cherry picking of the data to support your position.  Your job as public policy makers is to consider in a balanced manner the best available data on the subject…
 “There is a cost to all legislation.  I have yet to see or hear of any cost benefit or cost effectiveness calculations put forward with this proposed legislation.  Since 20 percent of officers were killed with their own guns you should consider using these funds for better retention holsters.  The funds used to register law-abiding citizens’ guns could fund perhaps several more officers for the city.  More judges and more jails would go a long way in reducing law enforcement killings.  This is not conjecture, as the data shows this to be true.”
 Dr. Holtzhauer worked 32 years in public health practice starting as a field epidemiologist, then Epidemiology Director and finally Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Health.  There was a 13-year interlude when he worked as Assistant Health Commissioner in Columbus.  He also worked six years as a local police officer, three years as the weapons officer.  He served as a commissioned officer in the military.