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Akron Police explain how new permitless carry law can create challenges in response to active shooters

“Someone legally permitted to carry a firearm being thrust into an immediate, rapidly evolving, tense situation, but now you insert additional firearms into a toxic scenario,” Akron Police’s Lt. Michael Miller said. “What is the average person proficiently trained to respond, to what degree?”
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 9:37 PM EDT
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Akron, Ohio (WOIO) - Akron Police are concerned Ohio’s new permitless carry law can create challenges for officers who are responding to a volatile situation, especially when an active shooter is involved.

“Someone legally permitted to carry a firearm being thrust into an immediate, rapidly evolving, tense situation, but now you insert additional firearms into a toxic scenario,” Akron Police’s Lt. Michael Miller said. “What is the average person proficiently trained to respond, to what degree?”

Akron Police are continuously training their officers on how to handle an active shooter. Under this new law, a challenge in an active shooter situation could be a citizen who’s not properly trained with a firearm taking things into their own hands.

“Most often plain clothes, no identifying marks that would tell them they’re the good guy, there’s no halos that anyone wears,” Miller said. “That alone creates the tremendous challenge for the police officer to discern between who’s who and you often have split seconds to make that decision.”

The law also allows people to not disclose to an officer when they are carrying, which can be a safety hazard.

“We’ll take all the necessary steps to legally interact with the citizen in a way to determine if they are carrying, determine who should be as the law requires someone legally allowed to do, so we’re not intending to violate anyone’s rights,” Miller said.

The school shooting in Texas among other recent mass shootings is a difficult reminder that law enforcement and the community need to be prepared.

Miller encourages everyone to first use non-lethal de-escalation techniques. If you do decide to lawfully carry a firearm, he advises receiving proper training.

“We just ask people to use all available reasonable de-escalation methods or techniques to avoid a certain situation,” Miller said.

Akron Police offers free handgun safety training courses. If you’d like to participate, you can call their Community Relations Office at 330-375-2390.

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