Does wearing an empty holster make you a threat?

(This post is brought to you by Shane McGonagil from the Leadership Institute.)

For students at Ohio State University, this seems to be the case.

After a series of standoffs between Ohio State University officials and Buckeyes for Concealed Carry on Campus over whether or not concealed carry should be implemented as a safety feature at Ohio State University, comments by President Gordon Gee have led to an inevitable hostility towards the student group and its leader Mike Newbern.


On Wednesday April 3rd OSU President Gee held a public safety forum, and when asked why he wouldn’t allow concealed carry he replied:  “You and I can debate that all day long and you have clear arguments,” Gee said, addressing his remarks to Newbern. “But, I am in charge and we are not going to do it.”

Some feel that this and previous remarks by Gee calling the Buckeyes for Concealed Carry “vigilantes”, that this led to what was to happen next.


On April 4th the Buckeyes for Concealed Carry on Campus participated in a nationwide “Empty Holster Protest.” They received positive press for the event — however, just hours after the event ended, Mike Newbern decided to visit a scheduled Trayvon Martin candle light vigil to commemorate Trayvon.

After only moments of having been at the event, police officers swept into the crowd with weapons drawn, forcibly removed Mike from the event, and took him to a police cruiser where they stripped him of his belongings — which included his empty holster and his camera case. They then detained him in handcuffs and left him in the back of a squad car for an additional 30 minutes.

The police said that they had received reports that Mike Newbern, a certified firearms safety instructor, might be armed. The empty holster protest was highly publicized, and Mike’s holster was clearly empty, which diffuses any argument that Mike might have been a suspicious character.

Mike felt he was a target because of his status as president of the Buckeyes for Concealed Carry on Campus, and for the negative attacks on his organization by President Gee.

“We are very vocal in our struggle and I have become the face of our cause,” Newbern said. “By invoking the most violent and most vivid imagery possible, they attempt to paint our progress towards self-defense as anything other than the natural rights that they are. And in this instance, the administration’s toxic dialogue ran to its natural conclusion, which could have been prevented through more civil discourse.”

The Buckeyes for Concealed Carry on Campus need your involvement and your help. If you would like to help the organization or start your own Students for Concealed Carry on Campus organization, please contact your Regional Field Coordinator today.

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