- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2016

More than a dozen gun rights advocates held an open carry walk Monday at Ohio State University in response to last week’s knife attack by an Islamic extremist.

Organizer Jeffry Smith, a firearms instructor from Cincinnati, named the walk “No More Sitting Ducks” because of the group’s opposition to gun free zones.

“The purpose of these walks, in general, is to advocate for conceal and carry … legal conceal carrying in Ohio,” he told The Lantern, OSU’s official student newspaper. “Secondarily, to engage in dialogue with people about firearms rights and privileges.”

The group met at the Ohio Union on N. High Street at about 11 a.m. Monday and walked quietly across campus — guns in full view. The university’s gun policy only prohibits students from open carrying on campus, but none of Monday’s protesters were reportedly students. OSU said it was contacted in advance about the walk.

“The organizers proactively notified the university of their intent to conduct this educational walk involving the legal possession of weapons, which will occur on and around campus,” said Dan Hedman, spokesman OSU’s Office of Administration and Planning, The Lantern reported. “The Ohio State University Police Division will have a visible presence during the event to promote safety and to protect the rights of all members of the university community.”

Mr. Smith, walking with a Tavor rifle and two Glock handguns, has organized seven walks on university campuses over the past two years, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

This walk was organized specifically in response to the Nov. 28 car ramming and mass stabbing by Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali refugee whom authorities said was inspired by Islamic State terrorist propaganda. Eleven people were injured in the attack, and Artan was fatally shot by OSU Police Officer Alan Horujko before he could hurt others.

“The reason I did this one today was specifically in response to last week’s attack, to say, ‘Hey guys, you students here are sitting ducks for a person with evil intent’,” Mr. Smith told The Columbus Dispatch. “Thank God there was a police officer right there with a gun to stop that guy, but had there not been…”

He said the point of Monday’s demonstration was to engage people in conversation and educate others on the importance of gun ownership.

The display caught the attention of Eastmoor Academy teacher Amanda Clark’s class, which was there on a campus visit.

“They were scared at first,” Ms. Clark told a local NBC News affiliate. “They’re, like, moving over to the side because they had — first of all, I’m sure none of my students have never seen a gun in real life. … I always tell my students to ask questions first to find out what’s going on.”

An OSU professor also confronted the group, saying more guns would make the campus less safe.

“You do not need to parade your guns,” professor Richard Fletcher told the demonstrators, NBC reported. “I defend your rights to have your firearm, but not on this campus.”

The demonstrators said they support pending legislation to allow people with licenses to carry concealed handguns on Ohio college campuses, which would also give universities the option to approve or reject the measure. OSU President Michael Drake said he is still opposed to such legislation despite the recent knife attack.

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