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by Jim Shepherd
With yesterday's passage of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, the Obama administration added more fuel to the fire of critics who refer to the "imperial presidency" rather than the "current administration." Reversing previous national policy to endorse a gun control treaty that would essentially allow the United Nations to have the final say on any firearms exports, the administration put its full weight behind the measure.
It's brought more than a few blasts from unhappy members of the firearms industry in the past few days, but it's also gotten the attention of the United States Congress. And Congress says that while the president might well sign the treaty, it will be dead on arrival at the Senate. If the Senate doesn't approve the treaty, Mr. Obama's signature will, essentially, be meaningless from a legal standpoint.
That hasn't kept anti-gun groups from crowing about the "setback for the pro-gun bloc, especially the NRA". And it only points out the growing division over gun rights between the administration and the Congress and the administration and the people.
The following op-ed by Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair Ken Hanson was originally published by The Columbus Dispatch. Republished with permission.
by Ken Hanson
We, the people, have the constitutional right to own semiautomatic rifles and the standard-capacity magazines designed for those rifles. The plain words in the U.S. and Ohio constitutions establish this, so long as those words are given their ordinary, everyday meanings.
This is why proponents of gun control engage in sophistry at every opportunity. For example: "You don't need an AR-15 to hunt." Fortunately, hunting has nothing to do with the question. Government could ban all hunting tomorrow. Or: "If an AR-15 is an 'arm' for constitutional purposes, then the people also have the right own rocket launchers." It is far easier to argue that a gun is not an "arm" than to justify why the citizen's right to own that arm should be abolished.
The proper question to ask is whether the government has the enumerated power to regulate or abolish the means of exercising this constitutional right.
The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet staked a position on the right to own a rifle that happens to look scary to a certain segment of society, nor the magazines for those rifles. The 1939 U.S. Supreme Court case United States vs. Miller was the darling of gun-banners for 70 years. This case, in which only the federal government filed a brief and appeared at oral argument, established, at most, that the only right to own a firearm was the right to own a firearm relevant to military service. (Careful what you wish for.)
The 2008 case, District of Columbia vs. Heller, established an individual right to own firearms for self-defense — nothing more, nothing less. The Heller decision also held that Washington, D.C., must issue Dick Heller a license to own a firearm without demonstration of any need. In 2010, the McDonald vs. Chicago ruling extended the Heller decision to the states.
Where, then, is the Supreme Court's ruling that semiautomatic rifles, and the standard-capacity magazines for those rifles, are outside the protection of the Constitution?
NSSF objects to U.S. government abandoning position that U.N. treaty must be based on international "consensus"Submitted by cbaus on Tue, 04/02/2013 - 15:00.
NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation today strongly objected to the last-minute reversal of the U.S. government position regarding the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. In the closing hours of negotiations on Thursday, March 28, the government abandoned its previous insistence that the treaty be approved only through achieving "consensus" of all the member states. Requiring consensus had been the United States position going back to earlier administrations.
At the end of the session, a U.S. government spokesperson told reporters "It's important to the United States and the defense of our interests to insist on consensus. But every state in this process has always been conscious of the fact that if consensus is not reached in this process, that there are other ways to adopt this treaty, including via a vote of the General Assembly." The spokesperson went on to say that the United States would vote "yes" on the treaty in the General Assembly, regardless of the positions of other member states. By abandoning the requirement for consensus the United States is assuring passage of the treaty by the United Nations.
"This abrupt about-face on the long-standing United States requirement for 'consensus' illustrates that the Obama Administration wants a sweeping U.N. arms control treaty," said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. "We are troubled by the timing of the Obama Administration’s decision to abandon consensus on the eve of the Senate debate on pending gun control measures. The United Nations treaty would have a broad impact on the U.S. firearms industry and its base of consumers in the U.S."
by Chad D. Baus
Yet another murder occurred over the weekend in a so-called "gun free" zone in Ohio, and church officials are thankful the death toll wasn't higher.
From The Star Beacon:
Children screamed in terror and hid under the pews at Hiawatha Church of God in Christ on Sunday, witnesses said, as an Ashtabula man was shot and killed by his son just after the Easter service.
Richard Riddle, 52, was leaving the church on Hiawatha Street with his wife at about 1 p.m. when his son, 25-year-old Reshad Riddle, approached him and fired a single round from a handgun, instantly killing Richard, church associate pastor Sean Adams said.
About 150 parishioners were leaving the church in recessional. They ducked down at the sound of the gunshot, pushing their children and grandchildren under the pews as Reshad Riddle entered the church, still carrying the gun and yelling that the shooting was "the will of Allah. This is the will of God," Adams said.
"It was terrifying," Adams said. "The children were screaming, and people were dialing 911. We were afraid to breathe."
...Ashtabula police Chief Robert Stell said dispatchers received multiple calls from inside the church and immediately called law enforcement mutual aid from every available agency to the scene.
"The initial call we received was more along the lines of a mass shooting," he said. "We knew that shots were fired in the church, and we thought there were multiple people down. We called other agencies to assist because it was described as a mass shooting and we weren't sure if there were multiple shooters or multiple people wounded."
As was reported by the Associated Press, witnesses feared the worst:
"Tragic as it is, it could have been so much worse," Rev. Steve Sargent, associate pastor of the Hiawatha Church of God in Christ in Ashtabula, said Monday as he pointed out where the gunman moved through the sanctuary.
Michael Wofford, 59, a worshipper who attended Sunday's service with his wife and two grandchildren, said he feared a shooting rampage after the gunman finished his spiel from the pulpit area.
"Is he going to just walk out of the church or is he going to start shooting people at random," Wofford asked in the church vestibule. "Sooner or later he's going to run out of words. It could have been much worse."
In Ohio, if a church member with a concealed handgun license brings their firearm to church as a means of protection against such an attack, the law calls for him to be arrested and charged with a felony of the fourth degree, and a conviction would earn him up to $5000 in fines and 18 months in prison.
How did it get this bad in the Buckeye State, where, once upon a time, state law encouraged citizens to bear arms at church services? Will it take a church massacre (or massacres) in Ohio before the Republicans controlling the General Assembly do anything about it?
by Ken Hanson, Esq.
COLUMBUS, OHIO - The Newton, CT school shootings were a tragedy. Nationwide, the debate has ignited over what to do in response to these shootings. In response, big-city school districts have dismissed arming teachers in favor of more anti-bullying programs, locked doors, door buzzers, security cameras, "no guns" signs, gun bans, candle-light vigils and a supply of sacrificial animals as an offering to appease angry spirits.
"School safety is not cheap, but what cost do you put on a child's life?" asked Columbus Superintendent Gene Harris. "When will the Ohio General Assembly finally establish an equitable system of school funding, a system that will allow Columbus schools to have as many "no guns" signs and door buzzers as New Albany?"
When asked about arming teachers, a security provision that is budget neutral, Harris dismissed the idea. "More guns are not the answer. We need more "no guns" signs and anti-bullying programs, and we need them now."
by Ken Hanson, Esq.
WASHINGTON, D.C. Faced with political and legal threats to existing, and proposed, gun-control laws, activists have borrowed a page from those who blazed the trail before them – the American civil rights movement.
"It really crystalized, for me, when people laughed when I suggested homeowners randomly fire guns in the air to deter crime," said Vice President Joe Biden. "It simply motivated me to recommit my efforts towards advancing this agenda." The Vice-President then explained that there is a clear parallel between our current debate over banning guns and the American civil rights movement.
The Obama administration declared March 28, 2013, a national Day of Action in support of gun-control. The plan, per a press release from the administration, is to motivate literally dozens of activists in all 50 states to put Sharpie markers to drugstore poster board and stand on random street corners for around an hour in support of gun-control. In larger cities across America, the plan is for the activists to at least walk in circles, so that it qualifies as a "march."
Dear Ohio NRA Member:
The U.S. Senate is currently scheduled to vote on several anti-gun bills during the week of April 8. One, the so-called "universal background check" bill being pushed by Senator Chuck Schumer, would criminalize the private transfer of firearms between law-abiding citizens. This legislation would make it illegal for a family member to transfer a firearm to another family member without the federal government's approval. According to a recent Department of Justice memo, the effectiveness of a universal background check system "depends on gun registration" -- which is illegal under federal law. In addition, no background check system will ever be truly "universal", as criminals do not submit to background checks.
Please contact Senator Portman and encourage him to oppose this anti-freedom legislation. Ask him to support real solutions that will reduce violent crime and keep our children safe -- fixing our broken mental health system; securing our schools; and prosecuting violent criminals.
HB495: Definition of "unloaded" gun is now fixed for all Ohioans; "No Guns" signs come down in Statehouse parking garageSubmitted by cbaus on Fri, 03/29/2013 - 07:00.
by Ken Hanson and Sean Maloney
HB495, sponsored by Rep. Terry Johnson (R) and passed into law last December, became effective March 27, 2013, and is now the law of the land. The reforms make three changes to current law:
- Eliminates the "demonstrated competency" requirement for second and future CHL renewals, making CHL training similar to a hunting license.
- Fixes the definition of a "loaded gun" to match the commonly accepted definition.
- Allows law-abiding gun owners to have their firearms stored in their cars in the state-owned parking garages such as the one under the Statehouse.
There are now ways to have a loaded magazine in your vehicle.
The definition of "unloaded" is amended in R.C. 2923.16(K)(5) and (6).
The new law allows anyone to have a loaded magazine or speed loader in the vehicle. THERE IS A TWO TIER approach to this.
For someone who does not have a Concealed Handgun License, that person may have loaded magazines or speed loaders in the vehicle so long as:
- The magazine or speed loader does not fit any firearm being transported in the vehicle; or
- The magazine or speed loader is in a compartment reachable only by leaving the vehicle; or
- The magazine or speed loader is in a closed package, box or case that has multiple compartments (i.e. a gun case) as long as the magazine or speed loader is in a separate compartment in the closed package, box or case from the firearm, OR, if the closed package, box or case only has one compartment, the magazine or firearm is separately enclosed in something using a snap, buckle, zipper, button, hook and loop etc. (My best stab at this is it is a one compartment gun case, the gun or the magazine/speed loader would need to be in some sort of pouch that is closed.); or
- The magazine or speed loader is on the person of the occupant in a pocket that is closed using a snap, buckle, zipper, button or hook and loop.
For someone with a CHL, they may have a loaded magazine in the vehicle anyway they wish, so long as any magazine for a non-handgun is not inserted into the non-handgun. (i.e. a loaded rifle magazine may be anywhere in the vehicle as long as it isn’t inserted into the rifle.)
In addition to that important change, two other changes were made.
Messages of thanks pour in from school employees after attending Buckeye Firearms Foundation-funded training opportunitiesSubmitted by cbaus on Thu, 03/28/2013 - 15:00.
In addition to its much-publicized Armed Teachers Training Program, Buckeye Firearms Foundation is supporting various types of educational opportunities all over the state of Ohio. Following are just a few of the many responses we have received from people who have attended the training.
...I received a rare chance to be a guest of yours for the teachers conference Saturday morning [March 16]. I would like to personally thank you for that great opportunity. This was my first time seeing Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman speak and surely not the last. What a great guy, and strong freedom fighter for our rights! Every word he spoke touched a prism of my heart that I truly wasn't expecting.
During these times of struggle, and an outright war for what we are God, and lawfully, given, it warms my heart to see a group of individuals so dedicated and driven to fight for what is rightfully ours, the second amendment!
In the face of the recent rash of mass murders, you not only rhetorically and generically say "It's unconstitutional to start banning and registering firearms!" you also stand for a more radical approach. That approach being arming and empowering teachers, administrators, and school board members with KNOWLEDGE. The knowledge about firearms and firearm safety. About situational awareness, building safety and security, and about crisis management! I could see the transformation unfold before my eyes, from SHEEP to SHEEPDOG [that day]!
You and your administration at BFF have an awe inspiring gift. You touch my very soul from start to finish. You inspire me to keep fighting the good fight not only for our fellow Americans, but for the future generations, the children, of this great nation as well. You are doing such great things and I will forever continue to support and pray for you all.
Again, I want to give you a personal and heartfelt, thank you so very much, for the opportunity to be your guest at the teachers conference yesterday. I will forever be enriched by the emotion, and the knowledge that I was able to experience that day. I pray that you have a positive outcome with what you are doing this coming week, training the teachers, and that it is only the beginning!
First class for Buckeye Firearms Foundation-funded Armed Teachers Training Program held at Tactical Defense InstituteSubmitted by cbaus on Thu, 03/28/2013 - 07:00.
by Chad D. Baus
The first Armed Teachers Training Program class was conducted this week at Tactical Defense Institute in Adams County. The Columbus Dispatch has published the first coverage of the training, which was funded by Buckeye Firearms Foundation.
From the article:
Arming teachers in classrooms is the best way to stop more mass murders, said Jim Irvine, the president of the Buckeye Firearm Association.
"Gun control is purely political and has no place in this conversation," Irvine said. "It doesn't work."
This is why the Buckeye Firearm Foundation, a non-profit with the association, paid $30,000 for two dozen Ohio school teachers, administrators and maintenance workers to learn how to handle a gun should a shooter invade a school.