BELLEVUE, WA – Ohio lawmakers and Gov. Bob Taft should take a lesson from legislators in Minnesota, and that state’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty, by passing a concealed carry bill immediately, and signing it into law.

That was the call today from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), as debate continued over whether Ohio residents should have the same self-defense rights as citizens in 35 other states. Minnesota lawmakers passed a landmark concealed carry bill Monday and Gov. Pawlenty signed it.

“Ohio residents should have the same rights as their fellow Americans, from Florida to Alaska,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “We are renewing our call on Gov. Taft to abandon his irresponsible opposition to sensible concealed carry reform. Ohio residents are no less trustworthy than citizens of Minnesota, New Mexico or Colorado, all three of which have adopted new concealed carry statutes.

“The fact that Ohio’s prohibition has been declared unconstitutional by two lower courts, and is now before the state Supreme Court is a warning bell for Ohio legislators,” Gottlieb added. “They need to act quickly.”

CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron added that state lawmakers should move quickly to pass HB 12, the current concealed carry measure now under consideration in Columbus.

“With Minnesota’s new law, there are now 35 states with so-called ‘shall issue’ laws,” Waldron said. “Ohio should join this growing roster. Armed citizens have proven in many cases to be not merely responsible with their firearms, but have actually prevented crimes and saved lives, including their own.”

Both Gottlieb and Waldron criticized the elitist, pro-criminal rhetoric of concealed carry opponents.

“Personal safety should not be a political football, subject to the prejudices of anti-gunners in the legislature,” Waldron observed. “Right now, Ohio residents are pretty much at the mercy of thugs, and opponents of concealed carry reform want to keep it that way. That’s not just irresponsible, it’s criminal.”

Gottlieb summed it up: “Ohio residents who value their personal safety need to call their representatives, and Gov. Taft. Tell them to stop giving criminals the upper hand.”