Sunday, September 21, 2003

Man to put gun, debate in open



By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A Northside man suing for the right to carry concealed weapons will strap his handgun on his hip Sept. 28 and lead a group of like-minded gun owners up and down his neighborhood streets.

Vernon Ferrier ishoping his "Gun Walk'' might light a fire under the Ohio Supreme Court in Columbus, where justices have been considering the concealed-carry issue for five months.

"I'd like to kick them off the fence,'' he said. "We haven't heard anything since April.''

He's also trying to make the point, he said, that carrying openly is ridiculous and defeats the goal of being able to surprise a would-be criminal. And while he says he's not trying to taunt the police, he also wants to prove it is legal to carry a weapon openly. Officers, he said, initially told him he couldn't.

"I'd like for that 80-year-old woman walking down the street to be able to have a gun in her purse,'' Ferrier said. "It doesn't work the same if she's got it out where someone can see it.''

Ferrier is part of a group of Cincinnatians that sued every municipality in Hamilton County, the city of Cincinnati, the county and the state in July 2000, charging that the ban on concealed weapons violates their constitutional rights.

Northside is a neighborhood keenly aware of the concealed-carry debate.

In May, resident and citizens-on-patrol member Hal McKinney, shot a man in Junker's Tavern during a robbery. The shooting - and the grand jury's decision not to indict McKinney - drew national attention.

Chuck Klein, another plaintiff in the suit, hadn't heard of Ferrier's plan.

"I don't think anybody can hurry the Supreme Court up,'' he said.

Ferrier, a 62-year-old hairdresser in Hyde Park, notified Cincinnati police of his plan.

"Just as long as they don't break the law,'' said Lt. Kurt Byrd, spokesman for the department.

Ferrier will start at 1 p.m. on Florida Avenue with a safety meeting. He wants to make sure "no one even jaywalks," he said.

"I don't want people showing up with T-shirts that say, like: `Kill 'Em All and Let God Sort 'Em out,' '' he said. "These are responsible people.''

E-mail jprendergast@enquirer.com




SPECIAL REPORT: COLLISION COURSE
Brent Spence Bridge obsolete, dangerous
Do you drive the bridge? Rate the 'Fear Factor'
Photo gallery
15 deficient bridges: How Brent Spence compares
Accident stats show big rigs get a bad rap
History of the bridge
Who was Brent Spence?

ENQUIRER COLUMNS
PULFER: Dana Siegel gets the glorious gift of a second wind
BRONSON: A soldier returns from WMDs to BMWs
CROWLEY: Broadsides continue over sub
GOOD THINGS: Students help teacher turn 100

TOP STORIES
Oktoberfest today: Chicken dancing
German teens rate Oktoberfest 'like McDonald's'
Man to put gun, debate in open
Tourism officials excited by sub
Poor urged to go to polls

CINCINNATI-HAMILTON COUNTY
Jury award criticized
More to Madeira fest than fun, games
Montgomery, Sycamore: The next section's for you
Post-game rowdiness raises concerns
Regional Report

BUTLER-WARREN-CLERMONT
Speed trailer slammed by speeder
Mason schools to seek bond issue
Fairfield to break ground on community arts center
Survey gives Miami low marks on diversity
Miami lines up big names for lecture series

OBITUARIES
Nancy Neumann promoted peace
John Peter owned Norwood cafeteria

OHIO
Ohio Bicentennial Notebook
Ohio Moments
Policeman accused of church break-in
Man freed from prison in child pornography case

KENTUCKY
Accused Covington teacher identified
Tobacco debate frays nerves
Murder warrants issued in 3 slayings