Warning: I’m armed, but not dangerous

Erica Weisburn

Suicidal drunks, domestic violence and child custody matters are all in a day’s work for my father. He is currently a sergeant for the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, and ever since I can remember he has been involved in law enforcement.

Not too long ago, I would watch him put on his bulletproof vest, grab his gun, kiss me on the cheek and walk out the door knowing the risk of him never walking through it again.

Occasionally, he would come home and share stories about interesting calls he answered that night. Most of them revolved around the same situation, just different people. From him arresting an intoxicated person for hitting his or her spouse or breaking up a bar fight, the stories were always intriguing, and hardly life-threatening.

However, being a cop’s daughter isn’t just like having a front-row view of “Cops” or “Law and Order.” It can be quite stressful.

In some cases, my father had found himself in dangerous positions. He was once up against a man holding a shotgun. My father didn’t have time for back-up and the lives of other people were at risk. So, he took matters into his own hands and fortunately, no one was injured.

To this day, my father has never been shot, and I feel he is one of the lucky ones. However, when the Ohio Carry Concealed Weapons Law was passed in April 2004, my heart sank.

Infuriated, I asked myself, “How can they just let anyone carry a weapon? Isn’t that just asking for massive bloodshed and violence?”

I was certain that soon enough my father’s luck would run out.

I was naive. In reality, murder rates haven’t increased. Actually, they have decreased.

According to the Cincinnati Post on June 30, 2005, “The FBI announced that the number of murders nationwide fell by 3.6 percent last year, the first drop since 1999. The trend was consistent; murders kept on declining after the assault weapons ban ended.” Also, the number of concealed carry weapons permits issued is low.

Maybe it’s the fear of not knowing who has a gun that causes people to hesitate starting fights. Or maybe people just like knowing they have the right to carry a gun, but actually have no desire to.

Either way, I’ve learned that giving law-abiding citizens the right to bear arms isn’t that risky.

The requirements for getting a permit are strict and intensive.

People must undergo a criminal history background check and 12 hours of firearm training. They also pay $45 for the license, according to Ohio Attorney General’s Report.

The number of places that recognize the permits is also low. From school zones to restaurants, businesses have the right to overrule Ohio’s law, and they do.

Ignorance to the law isn’t bliss, it’s stupidity undercover.

Knowing the facts, the next time I walk past a person with a gun strapped to his or her side, I won’t run for cover.

I no longer fear for my father’s life, well, at least no more than normal. I’ve learned that weapons shouldn’t be feared; only people have the power to kill.

Erica Weisburn is a junior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].