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Op-Ed: Gun rights are the people’s rights

by Joe Eaton

5:35PM Monday, October 5 2015

Editor’s Note: Program Director Joe Eaton submitted the following op-ed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer in response to an anti-gun rights screed published recently by that news outlet. As it happens, Eaton’s op-ed appeared at the day after yet another mass murder in a “no-guns” zone.

Guest columnist Robert Grow, in his Sept. 25 op-ed, “Ohio, let’s stop pandering to the gun lobby,” seems to mistakenly believe that the “body politic” and “the government” are ‘prostituting’ or doing the bidding of the gun industry.

I have been involved in the gun-rights movement for well over 25 years and never in this entire time have I met this mysterious ‘gun industry’ when I am meeting with Ohio lawmakers, testifying in committee, working on campaigns or otherwise lobbying for improvements in Ohio’s gun laws.

What/who I have met there are tens of thousands of other concerned Ohioans, many of whom are aware that the Bible does indeed say “Defend the widow and the orphan.” What these every-day Ohioans are also aware of is that the Bible does not command this of the government, but of each and every one of us.

Mr. Grow also seems to mistakenly believe that lawmakers can do anything to prevent violence and tragedies such as the one he mentioned at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  No one allowed 6-year-olds to be massacred except for the one person carrying out the violent act.  Any politician and any other person would have certainly done everything possible to halt the murder of those innocent children — including sacrificing their lives, as Dawn Hochsprung, Mary Sherlach, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino, Anne Marie Murphy, and Victoria Leigh Soto all proved on Dec. 14, 2012.

What lawmakers can do is to tell all future Dawn Hochsprungs and Mary Sherlachs that you have the God-given right to choose any tool and any means to defend yourself and the children you care for. Should a violent criminal attempt to take more innocent lives, every person should have the choice to do something besides stand between the violence and the innocent and die.

In fact, here in Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, a 501(c)(3) educational charity, decided after the tragedy at Sandy Hook that it would not fold its arms, close its eyes or otherwise refuse to do anything.

What the foundation did do was reach out to the national experts on mass public killings, school violence and active killers and determine what the experts recommended could be done.

The experts all said the same thing: Despite all efforts to catch these criminals ahead of time, once the murders start, the only thing that matters is TIME.

The quicker someone stops the killing and starts caring for the injured, the more lives will be saved. Police departments and others want to help, but the simple truth is that they cannot be there in time no matter how badly they want to.

Since 2013, the program — started by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation at no cost to any Ohio school that chooses to have armed staff as part of its school safety plan — has spent more than $350,000 providing free firearm, crisis management and emergency medical training to more than 400 teachers and other staff. The school district selects the staff while national experts on school violence and active killings do the training, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation pays the bills and the schools implement the program to fit their situation.

These schools understand that they have a certain number of staff who will do anything to defend the children in their care and they want this limited number of loving, caring and motivated protectors to have every means they are comfortable with to do something besides die in front of their children.

So here we are, almost three years since the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary shocked, outraged and disgusted our nation. Some of us are doing everything we can to make sure Ohio schools are safer while others continue to complain that the government is negligent.

Mr. Grow may wish to remove his consent to be governed, but government or no government, it will forever remain the responsibility of each individual to provide for the safety and security of ourselves, our family and those around us however we think most appropriate. Time will tell which one is the right choice.

Joe Eaton of Franklin, in southwest Ohio’s Warren County, is the volunteer program director for

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