Lebanon, Ohio–City Council members in Lebanon, Ohio are worried that the signs telling the public that their meeting place is a gun free zone might prompt a mass shooter to target them.
A proposal was made that those members of the City Council who already have their conceal-carry permits would be allowed to wear them into the City Hall building for their evening council meetings.
After all, this would save money on having to pay a security guard.
The point was raised by Councilman Joe Shafer. He said, “I’m not a social-justice warrior. This has nothing at all to do with that.”
But his question prompted research into the laws governing City Council meetings. Joe Shafer and the Vice Mayor Mark Messer both raised a concern that their ‘gun free zone’ signs were essentially putting a target on the backs of the City Council members. After all, they often meet after hours when the court was not in session and all other personnel had gone home.
After doing legal research, the City Council drafted new legal code that would counteract the current ‘gun free zone’ that governs the city office building. It would include taking down the “gun free zone” signs that the State of Ohio currently requires them to display. The members of the City Council could carry during their meetings, and with the exception of the court room, any other citizen with a concealed carry permit could carry in the multi-use city office building as well.
Vice Mayor Messer made the valid point that mass shooters often seek out these gun free zones–knowing they won’t face any opposition. When listing several shootings that made the national headlines, Messer said, “They’re all gun-free zones. Imagine that.”
If the newly drafted code is passed into law, Lebanon would be one of only a small number of cities in Ohio to allow the members of City Council to carry at meetings.
Joe Shafer doesn’t care if it sets a precedent. He cares more about protecting himself and the other members of the City Council. He said, “During our meetings, we have a lack of security when court isn’t in session. That leaves us vulnerable.”
We couldn’t agree more, Mr. Shafer!
And Shafer isn’t a Nervous Nelly, either. “I don’t get nervous in there without my firearm, but you never know when something’s going to happen.”
But What About Lawsuits??
Of course, several actual Nervous Nellies had concerns that the city would be liable if one of the City Council members ever used a gun in self-defense in a city building and they faced a lawsuit. But one member of the city council–who owns a gun store–shot that down. Wendy Monroe said, “Even if a whack-job comes into a meeting, that’s a criminal offense,” Monroe said. “Why is the city out?”
Another member suggested that only the members of the City Council itself be allowed to carry. But Mayor Amy Brewer saw right away that that idea wouldn’t fly. “Nope,” she replied.
It’s interesting that insurance companies don’t want guns carried by citizens for “liability reasons.” We would if they could change their tune if the city or building owner could be held financially liable if somebody was harmed by a mass shooter in their gun free building? We’d bet money on it.
It’s a tragedy that the world has gotten this many feet deep in legal muck and mire. It’s only common sense that everybody should be able to defend themselves on public property. After all, the taxpayers are the ones who paid for the building and the salaries of everybody inside of it!
But thanks to our entangled legal system and the stranglehold of insurance carriers, the very people who are footing the bill aren’t being allowed to carry a gun on the premises.
Best of luck to you, Joe Shafer and the rest of the City Council. This grassroots opposition to gun control is where it’s at! For every city council that’s willing to nullify State or Federal gun law, a gun fairy gets it’s wings.