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Police Union Backs Bill Loosening Gun-Free Zone Restrictions

gun free zone decal
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio

A bill moving through the Ohio House, which would let off duty peace officers carry weapons into gun-free zones, now has the support of police officers.

Police officers always have a responsibility to take action whether they’re on duty or not – that’s according to the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents officers. The FOP says the bill will help protect gun-free zones from attackers.

Opponents say the proposal violates the rights of property owners who make the decision to restrict guns. Democratic lawmakers also questioned the bill's definition of "peace officer," which can apply to a wide range of officials.

Michael Weinman of the FOP says he understands that argument, but says it doesn’t make sense in the event of an attack.

“If I was on duty, they’d want me in that establishment,” Weinman says. “So I can’t understand what the difference would be you know off duty and on duty when it comes to something like that.”

Those against the bill, which now include the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, say property owners would have considered these scenarios before making their choice to be gun-free.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.