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Video Shows Open-Carry Gun Walk in Downtown Kent

Group NEO Carry holds walks to normalize gun carry laws

Nine members of a pro firearm group recently walked through downtown Kent, handguns on their hips, to promote Ohio's open carry gun law.

The group, called NEO Carry, held a similar walk in downtown Akron. During the walks, members simply stroll through populated urban areas handing out fliers about the group and state gun laws.

Brett Pucillo, a Kent native who now teaches in the Youngstown City School district, is a co-founder of the group. Pucillo is the man carrying the camera whose voice you can hear on the video.

Pucillo said the group's goal is to promote education, and they plan to offer classes ranging from gun safety to the basics of shootings taught by instructors certified by the National Rifle Assocation.

"One of the biggest questions we get is 'Why do you do this?' ... I refer to a quote from the NRA: 'A right is like a muscle; if you don't exercise it, you will lose it,'" Pucillo said in an email.

The Kent walk was originally scheduled for Dec. 16, just two days after the deadly shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, CT. NEO Carry rescheduled the walk to Dec. 23, 2012, at the recommendation of Kent City Councilman Garret Ferrara.

The video shows the group, which notified the Kent Police Department in advance of the event, meeting near Buffalo Wild Wings and then walking past businesses on Franklin Avenue, Main and Water streets.

Kent Safety Director William Lillich circulated information among downtown business groups prior to the demonstration to inform business owners of the potential for members of NEO Carry to walk into their stores while carrying handguns.

"The police department has no reason to feel that this organization presents any threat to the community," Lillich wrote in the advisory to business groups.

Ohio law does not regulate or prohibit residents from openly carrying firearms. Though private property owners or tenants can post notices prohibiting firearms on their premises, as many Kent businesses do.

Pucillo said that most people were distracted by holiday shopping and paid little attention to the group as it walked through downtown last month.

"Many people did not notice that we were even carrying our firearms," he said. "We passed out over 50 fliers, and the majority of people did agree to take a flier, although fewer people were willing to stop and discuss our group than in Akron. Some people were surprised to learn that open carry was legal, but hardly anyone seemed to mind."

Kent Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lori Wemhoff said she heard from a few business owners who were grateful to receive advance notice of the event, but she didn't hear any complaints afterward.

"I never heard a thing about it," she said.

Click on this link to see a list of Kent businesses that welcome or prohibit firearms.

NEO Carry, founded in 2012, has 110 members and 125 followers of its Facebook page. The group also maintains a YouTube channel.

Pucillo established the group with his brother in 2012, according to its website, to "promote the second amendment, gun rights, and the legal carry of firearms through public demonstrations, law enforcement partnerships, online resources, firearm training courses, and education."

NEO Carry differs from larger, statewide groups such as the Buckeye Firearms Association because they focus their educational and outreach efforts in local communities, Pucillo said.

"This is not to say that we do not work with other local and state groups," he said. "Buckeye Firearms, Ohio Open Carry, and Ohioans for Concealed Carry all work together in an online presence to promote each other’s organizations and spread as much education about responsible gun ownership as possible.

"The northeast Ohio communities that we have interacted with so far have been welcoming of our group," Pucillo said. "We have received the cooperation of both Akron and Kent police departments, and they seemed to appreciate us informing them of our walks beforehand. This saves them from any undo alarm in the case that someone might call the station frightened at having seen a firearm."

NEO Carry plans more walks similar to the one held in Kent in other Northeast Ohio communities but most likely not until after the winter. The group also is working with individuals in southwest and northwest Ohio to establish similar organizations.

When approached by people critical of the group or its actions Pucillo said they try to respond politely to questions or criticism.

"We simply thank them for their time and continue walking," he said. "For those that are inclined to start a conversation on the subject ... We listen to their views and when they are done talking, we try to dispel as many myths as possible and give them proven facts."

i love doughnuts January 14, 2013 at 08:38 PM
brett, i'll forgo the invite to walk with your group and instead, continue to flex my political and anti-gun muscle at the ballot box. where - i remind james thomas - the citizens of ohio recently elected both a DEMOCRAT senator and a DEMOCRAT president. keep licking those wounds, james.
James Thomas January 14, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Doughnuts, and Returned a Majority Republican State House of Representatives and State Senate. Keep facing reality.
i love doughnuts January 14, 2013 at 08:52 PM
i would choose "my" victory over "yours" any day, james.
Matt Fredmonsky January 14, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Comments were removed for violating Patch's terms of use. http://kent.patch.com/terms
David de la Fuente January 14, 2013 at 09:41 PM
James Thomas, Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives received 3 million more votes across the country than Republican candidates did. But because Republicans are in charge of drawing congressional boundaries in many states and Democrats dominate urban areas, it's much easier for them to game the system and draw a few super-safe Democratic districts and leave the rest of the state to Republicans. If Rs didn't play those games, they wouldn't be in charge of anything, at least according to the voters of this country.
David de la Fuente January 14, 2013 at 09:45 PM
James Thomas, you are dangerously ignorant of history. When Lyndon Johnson implemented the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s, those intolerant Dems went and joined the Republican Party. LBJ himself saw it coming at the time and said he had lost the Democrats the South for a generation. Members of both parties have problems with various parts of the Constitution, but it's just that -- BOTH parties, not just Democrats.
Brett Pucillo January 14, 2013 at 11:49 PM
I would certainly expect you to continue to vote, however that means you can not join us for a reasonable discussion? I plan on voting as well, but will happily hold conversations the other 729 days I am not voting.... The offer stands to anyone on here who would like to voice their opinions or concerns. We would love to have you come out with us and have a calm, polite, and rational discussion on all of your grievances. All I would ask is that you stay away from hateful comments such as "scared white guys" and "clown posse" as they do nothing for your cause and just show a lack of emotional control and maturity.
Daniel Plecha January 15, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Why don't the people who are opposed to the second amendment work to amend or repeal it, instead of pretending it doesn't mean what it plainly says?
William January 15, 2013 at 05:47 AM
It makes no difference weather a Democrat or Republican is in office since the Bill of rights allows us the opportunity to voice our opinions and allows those who choose to carry a gun! Ohio has a Constitution and has a bill of rights as well. Ohio has upheld that Open Carry is a right! These Gentlemen did nothing more than exercise that right. They caused no harm or panic and made no attempt to enter a place of business that didn't want them! Ohio law allows Business to place signs on their business to stop those with handguns from entering also they may also ask them to leave at anytime! Since we did not hear that from any shops in Kent, I will assume that they caused no issues. Its simple folks, they are not telling you to carry a gun so why tell them not too!
Desmo January 15, 2013 at 02:05 PM
It just shows that both parties are the wrong choice.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! January 15, 2013 at 03:35 PM
I hope you're all as gung ho to protect and "exercise" the 14th amendment and a woman's right to choose as you are guns.
Desmo January 15, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Momma should have a gun on her hip.
Chris (Kit) Myers January 15, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Well, Brunold, you rant and rave about gun owners and carriers as if they are all nutty gun-toting men out there just aching to shoot someone. You say that you hope they are as gung ho to protect and "exercise" the 14th amendment and a woman's right to choose. Well, let me tell you something, Brunold, there are a lot of female gun owners and I feel that they have a right to choose to protect themselves against a six foot four inch, two hundred forty pound thug who is out to rob or murder or rape or assault, and perhaps stuff them in the trunk of a car. Not a pretty thought, is it? Well mister, it happens. Do you object to a ninety-five pound woman being able to protect herself? You liberals just so often fail to be able to think things through. You talk women's rights and in the next breath you would throw them to the wolves.
Jeff Mittiga January 15, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Apparently, it would have been legal for this group to march through Kent openly carrying assault rifles and there is no requirement to give advance notice to the police or city government. Seems like that situation could cause panic in the streets. People who follow this NRA ideology are interfering with my right to live in a more nonviolent society. I would ask our state senators and representatives to break away from control by the gun lobby and take a close look at this open carry law in Ohio. I believe there should be no right to openly carry a gun in a populated area. This should fall under the law where people can be charged with inducing panic.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! January 15, 2013 at 11:59 PM
I'm a 112 lb woman and I don't feel the need to carry a gun. I do have a close friend who lost her mother to a senseless drive by shooting. She wasn't afraid. She was standing in her living room. Her family were the ones that became so afraid they moved. And so you're saying women should be afraid of men? Men seem to be the thugs raping and assaulting women, stuffing them in trunks, and robbing them. I'm all for women's rights. I understand their plight. I have a uterus. Everyone seems to want to tell me what I can and can't do with it. When are women going to demand to control what men do with their penises? That seems to be where the real issues stem from. From the macho need to arm themsevles and waddle around in public to raping and assaulting/murdering women.
David de la Fuente January 16, 2013 at 12:08 AM
Chris (Kit) Myers, that isn't what Brunold is arguing. I haven't seen him argue yet that people shouldn't be allowed to own guns; it's the frankly nutty desire to parade them around like big swinging pinks that betrays a sense of inadequacy. He was also arguing that it's conservatives who are the hypocrites, defending their inaccurate interpretation of the Second Amendment while willingly trashing equal rights for all, or women's right to choose. Your rage blinds you to the fact that I haven't seen any contradiction from Brunold whatsoever. Painting gun enthusiasts as nutty isn't the same thing as arguing that they shouldn't be allowed to own weapons. But nice try.
Daniel Plecha January 16, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Your belief that "there should be no right to openly carry a gun in a populated area" is hard to reconcile with our constitutional right "to keep and bear arms", but, much like the cause of reforming the electoral college, no one's stepping forward to do the heavy lifting; so nothing will change.
William January 16, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Jeff very interesting point you make but try as I may, I am unable to find this right you say that you have to a non violent society! You have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and the rights that are in the constitution and the Bill of Rights. The founding fathers felt so strongly that we should have the right to keep and bear arm they made it the 2nd amendment the only thing they felt more strongly about was free speech! Perhaps the Founding Fathers were smart enough to understand the only way you can keep speech free is with a gun! Also Jeff this right to carry openly is covered under our state constitution and has been upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court and they also have affirmed that legally open carrying a firearm in not a crime nor can you be charged with inducing panic! This is a very simple option for most people, You don't like guns fine don't buy, own or use them. But don't tell me what I can and can not do when it is a actual protected right! I do recommend that everyone read up on what your actual rights under the constitution are, because far too many people think they have more rights or entitlements than they actually do!
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! January 16, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Lions, wolves, and vultures don't live together in herds, droves or flocks. Of all animals of prey, man is the only sociable one. Every one of us preys upon his neighbor, and yet we herd together. John Gay
James Thomas January 16, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Mr. de la Fuente, your redistricting argument does not wash. The same districts that elected Ted Strickland in 2006 and elected a Democratic Majority in the Ohio House decisively ousted them in 2010, before any redistricting happened. I submit that they did so knowing full well that it would mean the Republicans would control the redistricting process. I know I did.
James Thomas January 16, 2013 at 09:02 PM
MaLoBrRe, in what way is a lion pride or a wolf pack a non-social entity? In what way is an Orca Pod not a social organization? By the way, vultures are not preditors they are scavengers.
Jeff Mittiga January 16, 2013 at 10:03 PM
I think our founding fathers would be extremely shocked to see that over 30,000 Americans die each year from gun violence. The right to bear arms was never meant to be without reasonable limits. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can disappear very quickly in a violent society.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! January 16, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Talk to John Gay about it.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! January 16, 2013 at 10:19 PM
"the only way you can keep speech free is with a gun" Woa. "But don't tell me what I can and can not do when it is a actual protected right!" Hope to see you supporting the 14th amendment sometime soon. Maybe we'll march down the street together. Hand in hand.
James Thomas January 16, 2013 at 11:42 PM
No MaLoBrRe(Brunold), since you posted the quote in support of your opinions the questions I raised go to you?
Chris (Kit) Myers January 17, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Yes, Jeff, and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can disappear very quickly when you are not equal to the adversary who would have his/her way with you. I do not walk around in fear but I think that I should have some say in whether or not I am one of the 30,000 people who die from firearm inflicted wounds. I also think a ninety-five pound elderly person in a wheelchair should have a say in his/her fate when accosted, and be able to take down the attacker with as many bullets as it takes.
William January 17, 2013 at 06:30 PM
MaLoBrRe, Perhaps I should explain, guns are a means to keep those who would oppress our citizens from doing anything! Guns and armed Citizens do more to keep us safer than people will admit! Look at what has happened all over the world to unarmed countries, They get invaded or terrorist cells set up house and use them as bases with no one to stop them. Speech is a protected right but where speech stops and becomes something that infringes on my rights is when they put that anti rights speech into the context of laws and bills aimed at removing my rights! By all means stand and scream how you hate guns fine by me but don't try passing laws to take away that right!
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! January 18, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Every one of us preys upon his neighbor, and yet we herd together.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! January 18, 2013 at 06:18 PM
Guns kill. Yep. That's all they do. Soon America will look like all the photos of the middle east that are plastered throughout the newspapers and media. Everyone with weapons. Children with weapons. Machine guns, grenades. Death. Destruction. Hate. Everyone running around killing each other. Everyone believing they are right. Maybe we should stop breeding like bunnies if we're so afraid of one another.
open carry April 06, 2013 at 08:56 PM
self defense is not only a right, it should be a morale obligation. you have to realize police cant be everywhere all the time, and usually show up in time to tag and bag. Hope for the best plan for the worst, you anti gun folks are just potential victims. just like in the scary movies, practice that scream so you will be the best victim you can be. A right is not a right if you don't exercise it.

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