2010 Second Amendment March featuring Yost and Husted sparks proposed rule change: Statehouse grounds to be no-guns victim zone?

by Chad D. Baus

The Columbus Dispatch reported recently that on October 20 the unelected Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board voted to prohibit concealed guns on the property surrounding the Statehouse.

From the article:

"The thought was that the board wants to be proactive as we continue to have more events outside," said Gregg Dodd, the board's deputy director.

"The board's intent is to make the Statehouse the people's house, inclusive and acceptable to everybody, and we just want to assure that all families that are visiting and the Downtown work force that it continues to be a safe gathering place."

Dodd did not explain how the board believes a policy banning people who are legally exercising a constitutional and statutorial right is more "inclusive," or why they believe ensuring that only criminals will have guns on the Statehouse grounds is more "safe."

According to the article, much of the impetus for the change stemmed from the Ohio Second Amendment Rally which was held last year in conjunction with a rally that occurred a week later in Washington, D.C. The article says the board wanted to bar attendees at the Second Amendment March from "packing heat," but was told by the attorney general's office that no policy existed for a ban.

The event featured speakers including Dave Yost (now Auditor of State), State Senator Tim Grendell and Jon Husted (now Secretary of State), and their comments made at the rally are highly ironic in light of the proposed rules change:

"We stand here today to declare that what God has given, no man and no government can take away."
- Dave Yost, then-candidate and current Auditor of State

"It is a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution." "You have rights and if you're a law-abiding citizen we shouldn't interfere with those rights."
- State Senator Tim Grendell

"When you take away a citizens right to protect themselves you end up with subjects to a dictatorship."
- Second Amendment advocate Nikki Goeser

"...It is a matter of standing strong to your principles even in the face of your friends, which is the hardest thing to do. To tell people who you know and are friends with that, 'I'm sorry, I disagree. My principles and the things that I stood for and believed in matter more."
- Jon Husted (then-candidate and current Secretary of State)

Video of that event taken by Columbus's NBC affiliate can be viewed here:

Dodd told The Dispatch that there were no incidents "whatsoever" during the rally. Nevertheless, the board is seeking to do exactly what Auditor Yost told several hundred legally armed attendees that day couldn't be done.

After the October 21 article was published, BFA immediately began researching the applicability of Ohio's statewide preemption law to boards such as this. In the meantime, The Dispatch contacted one of the organizers of last year's rally, and published his comments as a part of a follow-up article, entitled "Statehouse-grounds gun ban could face suit:"

Jeff Garvas, state president of the organization, said he hopes something can be worked out with the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, the agency that oversees the Statehouse and grounds.

"I won't rule out our organization taking them to court," Garvas said.

"The way state law is written, we're not allowed to come into the Statehouse with a firearm. We understand that and will obey that. But they have no authority outside the building on the grounds. They have no authority to restrict firearms in the parking garage."

According to the article, the revised rule says: "Firearms or other weapons, concealed or otherwise, are prohibited within the capitol buildings and grounds without the express written permission of the board, with the exception of those carried by peace officers in the course of their duty."

According to The Dispatch, the revision needs the approval of the Joint Commission on Agency Rule Review, which will hold a public hearing. JCARR is chaired by state representative Ross McGregor (R-72). The entire list of JCARR members and their contact information can be found here.

Buckeye Firearms Association supports any action to hold government entities responsible for violating citizen's rights, and will be glad to provide assistance if requested.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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