Should Ohioans have the right to carry concealed weapons?
Charles Tassell, President of Blue Chip Young Republicans: Attention all churchgoing people: The government has deemed that some religions have been dangerous. Therefore all practitioners of a faith must register with the government. Those religions with any dangerous histories -- e.g. Catholic (Inquisition), Lutheran (World War II Germany), Baptist (southern Ku Klux Klan) -- shall be banned entirely.
Furthermore, agents of the press must register with officials. Various forms of media that lack proper "cooling off" times such as radio and on-the-spot TV reporting shall be immediately eliminated. Of course, the dangerous unlicensed trading of ideas in community conferences or on the Web between individual citizens shall cease immediately.
Preposterous? Not if you view the attack on one section of the Bill of Rights as an attack on other sections. Courts have repeatedly upheld the right of a citizen to carry a gun.
While "rights" have become a dime a dozen, manufactured by every group or Democrat pandering for votes, to argue that size, shape or appearance of the weapon are more important than the right to have the weapon is foolishness on par with Clinton's argument over the word "is."
The fact is citizens are safer with weapons than without. Yes, occasionally people are hurt by accidental discharges -- even kids. That is horrible. And it is all the more reason that parents and teachers should teach kids about proper gun care.
After all, society has no problem over-riding parents' moral concerns about teaching a child about sex, while we hide our heads in the sand and create boogey-men out of guns, when the real problem is not the piece of metal but the trash pulling the trigger.
People kill -- not ideas, not guns, not even words. People. We must face the fact that 19 laws were broken in the Columbine case. Laws do not stop criminals.
The police are there to assist citizens and enforce the laws. That enforcement starts after the law is broken. There are no personal police bodyguards, but there are detectives to figure out what did happen.
Unless we want to live in a police state, citizens need to be able to defend themselves from what President Bush refers to as "evil people": those who will stop at nothing but the loss of their own lives to take what they want or force their will upon others.
The freedoms this country was founded on are messy. They are inundated with personal responsibility, but the alternative is to live in an Orwellian state of droneness that is antithetical to the American spirit.
Brendon Cull, Communication director of Hamilton County Young Democrats: Last week in Lowell, Mass. a woman decided to beat another woman for bringing 13 items through a 12-item lane.
Now change the headline to Cincinnati, and add a gun to the scenario. Do we really want our local neighborhood Kroger to become a firing range? I don't think so.
As the concealed-carry debate heats up, citizens of Ohio should be cautious about moves that allow anyone to "pack heat" anywhere they go.
The political far right refers to studies that show concealed-carry states had decreasing crime rates. Yet the same studies show that crime decreased across the country. Statistical and numerical debates only cloud a simple issue, which is whether our citizens need to carry guns to church, to grocery stores or to City Hall.
In a time where increased security is essential, concealed carry threatens our personal and institutional safety and security.
No amount of training or government oversight can prevent the senseless acts of violence that will increase if Ohioans can walk around with a gun in their purse or on their belt.
Americans have the right to own guns. No one should take that away. Instead the Ohio General Assembly should focus on crime prevention, community policing and laws that make it more difficult for children to misuse weapons.
With the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police taking stances against concealed carry, Ohioans should write their representatives and insist no laws be passed to increase gun purchasing and gun violence.
At least shopping at Kroger will be safer.
Hillery Shay, Worker for democracy: This is an interesting question for me. While I dislike guns intensely, I have to say that I would never interfere with anyone's right to carry one.
Furthermore, I grudgingly have to agree with the old libertarian line that if the government has guns, then I want guns as well. Not that it will do us any good, but it kind of makes you feel better.
I find the notion of a concealed-weapon law, however, rather bizarre. It has always seemed to me that if the purpose of a concealed-carry law is to deter crime, then why not have people carry their weapons in plain sight? Isn't knowing that someone has a gun more of a deterrent to crime than wondering if they may or may not have one?
Isn't that a wonderful image, all of us walking around with our guns in holsters, deterring crime? I mean, if we're going to carry weapons, we should at least be up front about it.
The police have, and look how well it's worked for them.