MARCANO: “They love the NRA more than ... police.”

Mike Tenore has a powerful message for all of those politicians who say they support law enforcement, and then turn around and pass a dangerous constitutional carry law.

“They love the NRA more than they love police,” said Tenore, a retired Dayton police officer.

Let that sink in.

Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a law that allows Ohioans to carry handguns without a permit, and it takes effect in 90 days. The law also says anyone carrying a concealed weapon doesn’t have to tell police that they’re carrying a gun unless directly asked.

Let that sink in.

The bill will make Ohioans less safe. It’s also a legislative middle finger to law enforcement, and we should oppose anything that puts them in more danger, as this bill does. I’ll let those inconvenient things called “facts,” and Tenore’s insight, tell the story.

Let’s start with Wisconsin. That state passed a permitless carry law a decade ago, so what happens? Gun deaths rose by a third (2012 to 2019 vs. 2004 to 2011), according to Pew Charitable Trust research.

Some 295 officers died in the line of duty in 2020 (the last year stats were available), the most since 1930. Forty-five of them died by gun. More than 2,700 officers were assaulted with firearms.

Back the Blue? Apparently, only when you need their votes.

Removing the carrying a concealed weapon license provision is bad enough; removing the gun training provision, as this bill does, seems nuts and has been opposed by gun advocates.

Why? Nearly 500 people in the United States each year die from an accidental gun discharge. I don’t know how many of those were from gun safety issues, but logic tells you that we could have saved some people if they had gun-safety training.

Granted, the minimal CCW training covers the bare bones. I took it as a refresher last year and saw people struggling with how to check for a round in the chamber, loading a magazine, and holding a gun.

We’ll unleash a new generation of gun owners who have no idea how to safely handle a weapon, and that’s dangerous.

“I don’t care if it’s the middle of the day or late at night,” Tenore said. “Obviously, it’s a lot harder to determine who’s in a car, what they’re doing, whether there’s furtive movement, whether they’re trying to hide something, or what they’re doing.” (Furtive movement means going for a weapon).

“So, you know, I think it’s a little foolish,” Tenore said.

I wanted to ask state Rep. Phil Plummer, our state representative, and former Montgomery County Sheriff how he would explain his support for a bill that endangers the lives of officers. As usual, I got crickets.

State Sen. Niraj Antani, in a statement when the bill passed, lauded the bill’s passage as a “great and historic day for the 2nd Amendment in Ohio.”

That’s a good sound bite but I wonder: How?

Many Republicans agree constitutional carry is a bad idea. Only 35% support it, according to Pew Research. Constitutional carry and gun safety are the rare issues Republicans and Democrats agree on.

Allowing people to carry concealed guns with no permit or training is like letting someone who can’t drive get behind the wheel of a race car.

Only bad things can happen.

And before I forget. I have always had great respect for Gov. DeWine but learning he signed HB 215 seemed like a betrayal to every Dayton-area citizen. In the wake of the Oregon District shooting in 2019, he promised gun reform.

He has not lived up to his promise. He could have sent a message by vetoing the bill. He could have sent it back demanding a training provision, as well as safeguards for law enforcement. But that would have jeopardized his already shaky standing with some Republicans.

Politics over lives, right?

So the next time you hear some politician going on about constitutional carry, ask them these simple questions.

How is this good for the police? How does it make sense to let anyone carry a concealed gun without training?

And for Gov. DeWine, how is it you’ve so easily discarded your promise to Dayton?

Ray Marcano is a long-time journalist whose column appears on this page each Sunday. He can be reached at

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