Monday, September 29, 2003

Armed activists say guns protect



By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

NORTHSIDE - Sunday strolls don't usually have rules - except when guns are involved.

• Guns are to be holstered at all times.

• No guns with over 15 shots.

• Be friendly to people you meet along the route.

Those were some of rules that Vernon Ferrier gave to about 80 people before they walked through Northside Sunday to push for a law allowing citizens to carry concealed guns.

"We are all law-abiding citizens who aren't a threat to anyone, with or without firearms," said Ferrier.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the state's 144-year-old ban on carrying concealed weapons.

The walkers now hope the state legislature will act to add Ohio to the 45 states that allow hidden guns.

Not all residents welcomed the armed pedestrians.

"You shouldn't be walking around with guns in my neighborhood," Mike McCleese called out to the walkers.

McCleese, who is against a concealed-carry law, and neighbor Stephanie Sunderland, who supports such a law, both said that the neighborhood was not the place for a protest aimed at the state legislature in Columbus.

But Hal McKinney, who shot a man in a Northside bar during a robbery last May, thought it was the perfect place to push for something that he says saved his life.

McKinney, a former citizen's patrol member, was carrying a concealed gun when the robbery occurred.

"It saved my life and everyone's in that bar," said McKinney, who participated in Sunday's march.

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E-mail bkelly@enquirer.com




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