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Taft, Legislature left Ohio workplace shooting victims defenseless

Thursday, November 6th, 2003

BELLEVUE, WA—Thursday’s workplace shooting in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio underscores the need for Buckeye State lawmakers to craft a sensible concealed carry law, and for Gov. Bob Taft to stop blocking the measure, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today.

Two people were killed and three others wounded at Watkins Motor Lines when a man identified as a former employee entered the company’s office and opened fire. The suspect is identified as Tom West.

“These five people were left essentially defenseless by Gov. Bob Taft’s political gamesmanship, and the Ohio Legislature’s unwillingness to pass meaningful legislation over his objections,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “Yet, instead of working toward this end over the past couple of years, the Legislature has been in virtual gridlock on the subject.

“I fully expect opponents of concealed carry to find some twisted way of blaming the Watkins shooting on the recently-affirmed constitutionality of open carry in Ohio,” Gottlieb continued. “But this incident, like any other involving a determined perpetrator attacking individuals he knows are unarmed, underscores the necessity of laws that enable people to have the means at hand to defend themselves. The shooter in this case, as in so many others, violated every existing gun law on the books.”

Gottlieb called the Watkins shooting “a particularly cowardly act.”

“Concealed carry opponents have substituted nonsense for common sense in their efforts to write a law for Ohio citizens that is so complicated, and in some respects, manifestly unsafe in its requirements, that it appears deliberately designed to discourage people from exercising their self-defense rights,” Gottlieb stated. “The result of this tortured extremism is a target-rich environment filled with unarmed victims for every lunatic with a grudge.

“Ohioans have waited long enough for meaningful self-defense legislation,” Gottlieb concluded. “Ohio lawmakers who have blocked passage of a rational concealed carry law should be held accountable by voters at the next election, and that goes double for Bob Taft.”