10TV: ''NRA Stuns City With Decision''

WBNS10tv.com is reporting that the National Rifle Association’s announcement that it was canceling plans to bring the Association’s 2007 Annual Meeting and Convention in the wake of passage of a municipal ordinance that would ban otherwise perfectly legal firearms "is a decision city leaders say was a shock."

From the story:

"Mike Mentel and your city council has embarrassed the city in the eyes of the nation by declaring the citizens who reside inside the city limits of Columbus have less freedom and less rights that those who live outside the city limits," says NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

The city says the NRA knew since last December it was working to ban assault weapons and chose Columbus anyway.

LaPierre says, "What changed is that they carried through with this ridiculous proposal."

According to 10TV, Mayor Michael Coleman, Democrat candidate for Ohio governor, says the city stands by the ban, despite the loss of a convention that would have brought estimated $15 to $20 million to the city.

As the NRA points out in their press release covering the decision, the City Council’s decision will have a negative economic impact on businesses in the greater Columbus area.

Earlier this year, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce said it estimated $20 million in revenue from hotels, restaurants, entertainment and other NRA convention related spending. In addition, Columbus would have received free publicity from major national and regional new organizations covering the NRA Annual Meetings.

Past conventions brought significant economic boon to NRA Annual Meeting host cities:

--->NRA’s 2005 convention brought $20 million in revenue for Houston, TX, and an overall $50 million impact for the local economy. The 450 exhibitors and 60,000 attendees sold out a total of eight hotels.

--->In 2004, NRA’s convention in nearby Pittsburgh, PA, brought 61,000 attendees and 360 exhibitors to the city, resulting in $12-15 million for local merchants.

LaPierre announced the NRA will push for preemption legislation in Ohio to protect the lawful gun owners by making gun laws uniform across Ohio. Ohio is one of only seven states that does not have this law to protect gun owners from a confusing and dangerous patchwork of firearms laws, and one of only three states left in the nation with home rule.

"The NRA is going to work with the people of Columbus and the Ohio Legislature to pass state preemption legislation and restore freedom to the people of Columbus," continued LaPierre. "When the Ohio Legislature enacts preemption, freedom will be restored to the people of Columbus. And when freedom comes back to Columbus, we will come back to Columbus."

Passage of a statewide preemption bill is the number one goal for the Buckeye Firearms Association in 2005. Such a bill would solve many of the most urgent problems facing gun owners in Ohio in one fell-swoop. No more ban on inexpensive pistols (an ordinance which strips the impoverished of their Constitutional rights) in Toledo. No more bans on bearing arms for self-defense on secluded jogging trails and parks Clyde and other cities. No more confusing local gun control laws that are simply impossible to comply with (or even to be aware of) as law-abiding citizens travel across Ohio.

As has been reported by the Associated Press, Representative James Aslanides will soon introduce a preemption bill in the Ohio Legislature which would prohibit cities from enacting their own gun laws like the one passed by the Columbus City Council. Aslanides' bill also would clarify that cities cannot ban gun from parks or other places not designated as "gun-free" victim zones under state law. The measure will also seek to restrict media access to Concealed Handgun License records, remove a ridiculous requirement for concealed-carry licenseholders to openly carry their firearms when in a motor vehicle, and reform other problems with current law.

Recently, Rep. Aslanides was informed of the newly-renamed Buckeye Firearms Association, and expressed his excitement at the prospect of having a strong Ohio-based pro-gun rights organization at his side to join the fight for statewide preemption.

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