Gun Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility

Our Muster & Mingle on February 22nd was one of our best attended events yet, making it obvious that gun safety is very important to our veterans. We enjoyed dinner from Panera Bread, and although the weather was unseasonably warm, we certainly appreciated the warmth of their broccoli cheddar and chicken noodle soups. Panera has been an amazing partner for us since we began in 2019. We use their Day-End Doughnations of bread and pastries to supplement our food pantry and deliver the excess to various veteran organizations throughout the week. They also donated the meal for our first ever Muster & Mingle (in it’s current format) in January of 2022. We are very appreciative of the partnership with them, and if you want to learn more about all that Covelli Enterprises does for the community, you can visit them here.

The Miami County Sheriff’s department was our guest for the evening, and they spoke on gun safety. Sgt Nate Jessup, a Piqua High School, University of Northwestern of Ohio, and Edison Community College graduate spoke first. Sgt Jessup is a member of the Miami County SRT team, an OPOTA Firearms Instructor, and he previously worked in the Detective Section at the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. He explained the new legislation that was passed in Ohio on June 13, 2022 which resulted in 2 ways to legally carry a concealed handgun in Ohio. He also explained the difference in the two conceal carry options, and the pros and cons of each. The law preserved the state’s existing concealed-carry licensing program, which requires license-seekers to successfully complete 8 hours of training and then apply for a concealed-handgun license (CHL) from any Ohio County Sheriff’s department. The second conceal carry option is “permit less” or “constitutional” carry. This allows qualifying Ohioians who was 21 or older to carry without a license. Qualifying Ohioians are defined by : Over 21 years of age, who are not prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm under 18 U.S.C. 922 (g)(1) to (9) or under section 2923.13 of the Revised Code or any other Revised Code provision, and satisfies all the criteria listed in divisions (D)(1)(a) to (j), (m), (p), (q), and (s) or section 2923.125 of the Revised Code. Open carry is also legal in Ohio, but this was not affected by the new law. CHL holders undergo 8 hours of training which covers handgun operation, safe handling of firearms, 2 hours on a shooting range with a certified instructor. Students are also required to read and become with Ohio’s laws regarding self-defense and concealed carry. However, those who choose to become permit less carriers are NOT required to undergo that training. The Miami County Sheriff’s Office recommends anyone interested in becoming a permit less carrier to seek legal advice on injury or death resulting from unsafe gun handling and operation, Criminal Liability (including going to prison for using deadly force outside of Ohio’s self defense laws), Civil Liability if you are sued for using your firearm, and any potential legal costs.

Sgt. Jessup also spoke on some legal issues that can result after a concealed carrier’s use of their firearm. If law enforcement and prosecutors determine that a person’s use of deadly force is not justified, criminal charges may be pursued. If the victim is injured or dies as the result of a concealed carriers use of a firearm, charges can be filed ranging from felonious assault to aggravated murder. Even if a situation doesn’t lead to criminal charges or result in criminal conviction, the concealed carrier may still face civil liability. Until recently, Ohio law required that defendants claiming self-defense show that they had no way to safely retreat before using deadly force. But in 2020, the Ohio General Assembly eliminated the duty to retreat.

Det. Andy Leininger, an Army and Ohio National Guard veteran, who graduated from Piqua High School, Edison Community College, Franklin University, and Bluffton University, spoke next. Det. Leninger was hired by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in 2013, became a Narcotics Detective in 2016, and DEA TFO in 2019. He is a OPOTA Certified Firearms Instructor, a certified Glock Armorer, and a member of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office SRT Team. He spoke on general gun knowledge, explaining the differences between different types of firearms. He focused his presentation on the dangers associated with firearms. From loading incorrect ammunition, accidental/negligent discharges, lack of experience, and failing to comprehend the intentions of the firearm. Det. Lenininger talked about the safety that every gun is equipped with, an educated gun owner. He also discussed mechanical safeties, safes and proper storage, and holsters. He spent a lot of time answering questions from the veterans, which ranged from proper procedure if pulled over while carrying a firearm to clarifications on the new laws.

After Sgt. Jessup and Det. Leninger spoke, Deputy Rich Manns gave a presentation on the drones that are operated by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. He showed examples of how the drones are used in the county, from missing persons to accident scenes. The drones have a strong battery life, cameras, and microphone capabilities. He shared a story with us about a young women who was experiencing a mental health crisis who had run away from home. He was dispatched and within 10 minutes found her hiding in a corn field. Without the help of the drone, it would’ve been hours (if not not longer) before she was found and able to receive the help she needed. He showed us images from the drone, showing the infrared and thermal capabilities of the imaging. The thermal imaging even works in the bright daylight!

The drones allow the Miami County Sheriff’s Office more capability when responding to incidents and it is a more cost-effective alternative to a helicopter. Deputy Manns told us the non-emergency ways that the drone is used, such as documenting construction projects for the Miami County Commissioners and capturing historic images. Then came the moment everyone had been waiting for when he took the drone out of it’s case, A lot of people expressed surprise at it’s small size, given the complexity of it’s use and the clarity of its images. After explaining the controls and demonstrating it’s microphone, he flew the drone around the room and the veterans enjoyed seeing themselves on the big screen.

We are so grateful for everyone who attended this event and to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office for coming and speaking with our veterans. We are especially grateful to Sheriff Dave Duchek for taking the time to attend our event and speak with the veterans who were present. If you have any questions about he new “permit less” carry laws in Ohio, don’t hesitate to reach out to the MCSO here, they will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have! Please be sure to check out our Upcoming Events page to see what we have coming up and how you can get involved!

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