(Thursday, April 11, 2002)--Today, Gun Owners of America praised this week's Ohio appeals court decision which declared the state ban on carrying concealed firearms to be unconstitutional.

"Guns save lives," said GOA Director of Communications Erich Pratt. "The Ohio court decision not only respects the right to keep and bear arms, it will allow good people to defend themselves."

The Ohio Constitution closely tracks the federal one and states that "the people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security."

"The Ohio Constitution is absolutely correct on this issue," Pratt said. "Citizens do have a right to bear or carry arms. And doing so is crucial for their 'defense and security.'

"Dr. Gary Kleck of Florida State University has shown that every day, almost 1,500 citizens defend themselves with a firearm away from home. While many of these self-defense cases go unreported, others still make the papers and can be read on websites such as http://www.keepandbeararms.com/ and www.gunowners.org.

"Ohio legislators should follow the court's lead and pass a law recognizing the right of citizens to carry firearms. A comprehensive national study determined in 1996 that violent crime fell after states made it legal to carry concealed firearms. The results of the study showed that states which passed concealed carry laws reduced their rate of murder by 8.5%, rape by 5%, aggravated assault by 7% and robbery by 3%.

"Concealed carry is an idea that works," Pratt said.

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