One is a fifth-grade teacher, another a stroke victim who walks
with a cane.
Not exactly the folks you would expect to be packing heat.
But both recently took firearms training so they can become
eligible to carry a concealed weapon come April.
That's when Ohio's new ``concealed carry'' law takes effect --
for those who qualify and are trained.
It's not surprising that some Ohioans want to carry guns. But it
is surprising to shooting instructors just who some of those people
Bob Campbell is one of the unlikely students.
The 64-year-old Mantua man suffered a stroke five years ago. As a
result, he walks with a cane and has weaker vision in his left
``I can't run and I can't fight anymore,'' he said. ``If the
state will let me carry a gun, it makes it a whole lot better.''
Campbell said his physical condition has not affected his ability
to shoot a gun.
Sue Andrews hasn't told her students about her firearms lessons
at A&A Shooting Club in Nelson Township. She and Campbell both
trained at the range through Targething, a year-old firearms
training company in Portage County.
Andrews, 52, said she won't shy away from the concealed- gun
subject if her fifth-graders bring it up.
``I'm sure it's going to bring up a lot of issues, good and
bad,'' said the James A. Garfield Intermediate School teacher. ``But
that, to me, is what education is about.''
Ohio is the 46th state to permit carrying hidden guns.
Those who apply forconcealed-weapon permits must be at least 21
years old. They will have to pay a fee, undergo criminal background
checks and take 12 hours of firearms training.
Hidden guns won't be allowed in school zones, on college campuses
or in public places that serve alcohol.
``I really don't know if I will carry a concealed weapon,'' said
Andrews. ``But I feel like the class has empowered me to know what
to do in handling a gun responsibly.''
Another Targething student, Craig Wilson, 74, said he definitely
intends to pack his gun when the law allows.
``A gun is an equalizer,'' said Wilson of Farmdale in Trumbull
County. ``You've got too many people out here just shooting up
people when they want... like this guy in Columbus who's shooting.
In this world anymore, people just don't care.''
Campbell predicts criminals will think harder about pulling a gun
on a victim who might be armed.
Targething Vice President Amanda Suffecool said interest in
gun-safety classes has picked up, and the buzz seems directly
related to the law.
She's noticed a large number of seniors, some with physical
``I've had three guys in wheelchairs,'' she said. ``I've had a
multitude of guyswith canes.''
The firearms training, held on the weekends at various sites
around the area, includes shooting drills and lectures on the law,
consequences of shooting someone and gun safety in general.
Instructors stress that drawing a gun is a last resort.
``My wish for every one of my students is that they will carry
their guns and never have to use them,'' Suffecool said.