Navigating the new political landscape
by Jim Irvine
We've had our election and will have the same president, same Republicans in control of Congress and same Democrats in control of the Senate. Ohio is a similar picture to Washington. Same Governor, identical balance in Senate and GOP picks up one seat to hold 60 of 99 House seats. So what's new?
Lame duck, or the rest of the session after an election, is always different. Time is tight. All bills not passed by the end of the year die and the process must start anew next year. Legislators who lost, or who are term limited out are cashing in all their chips. They have supported various bills/issues over the years in exchange for a promise of support for their personal wish list. Now is the last chance to get their pet idea enacted, and time is short.
Without the need to ever face the people again, President Obama can do whatever he wants. We may get to find out exactly what he meant when he told Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, "After my election I have more flexibility."
As reported by David Cordrea, President Obama has expressed a willingness to work with the UN on an arms control treaty. Senator Diane Feinstein has also moved to ban all "assault rifles, high capacity magazines and pistol grips," according to the Market Daily News.
It is clear that anti-gun forces at the Federal and International level have become energized by last week's election results, and we have a major fight on our hands going forward.
With the Federal government more hostile than ever, we must all turn to our states' governments to be strong. In Ohio, getting HB495 passed in lame duck is a top priority. Failure to pass this critical bill would guarantee a train wreck as concealed handgun license applicants, trainers, and law enforcement would be forced to guess and hopefully come to some agreement on what would satisfy the "demonstrated competency" requirement that comes into play in January.
HB495 also fixes an incorrect definition of a "loaded" firearm, allows for automatic reciprocity with other states for concealed carry licenses, and deletes nearly 1,000 words from the ORC without making any substantive changes to the law. Making the bill easier to read, understand, comply with and enforce is good for everyone.
The bill will soon be assigned to a committee and begin its progress through the Senate. Make sure your Senator knows your feelings on this important bill.
January 2013 will bring new legislative sessions in the federal and most state governments. We will face threats and opposition the likes of which we have never seen. We may be forced to play more defense than offense, but we must stand and fight to retain our rights.
We have already started reaching out to new Ohio legislators. A hostile federal government demands that we have a strong state government to act as a barrier to overreaching federal agents. We must strengthen our state laws to protect gun owners.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."