2015 - The Year in Review

While there is far too much to cover in a single article, we reflect on some of the important events of 2015.

January:

The year begins with news of yet another police-involved shooting with a person who turned out to have an airsoft gun. The shooting occurs in California, the state that Ohio Rep. Alicia Reece has modeled her 'toy gun control' proposal after, offering the latest proof that passing such laws cannot stop these incidents from occurring. 

Another Ohio school makes headlines by announcing that it it is considering adding armed staff members to its safety plan. Buckeye Firearms Foundation announces that over 300 teachers have been trained through its FASTER (Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response) program, and that more than 30 Ohio schools have gun policies to defend students.  

BuckeyeFirearms.org begins a series of articles detailing forthcoming changes in Ohio firearms laws, thanks to passage of HB 234 in late 2014.

BATFE reverses position on pistol stabilizing braces like the Sig Sauer SB15, stating that it considers shouldering any pistol with a stabilizing brace as making a firearm subject to registration and other requirements under the National Firearms Act.

Buckeye Firearms Association endorses Sean Maloney for NRA Board of Directors.

Top officials of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) admit wrongdoing under Operation Choke Point, and said they would cease practices that had the effect of discrimination in the provision of financial services and products to firearms related businesses.

February:

Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) re-introduces a bill seeking to correct several problems with current law regarding concealed handgun licenses' behavior in school zones. The same bill passed the House in 2014 with an 81-2 vote, and in the waning days of the lame duck session, the bill's language was inserted into HB 234 in the Senate, Sadly, Republicans in the Senate Civil Justice Committee amended the language back out at the last minute before passage.

News from the trial of suspended Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly (D) involves not the CHLs he wrongly refused to renew, but CHLs witnesses have testified were improperly issued by the Sheriff - all without payment and some without the proper background checks.

BuckeyeFirearms.org updates readers on the fact that, since leaving Ohio for Washington D.C., former governor Ted Strickland has headed an anti-gun rights think tank. Strickland, who is in the early stages of a run for U.S. Senate, quits the organization the following week.

Rep. Ron Maag, R-Lebanon, introduces HB 48, which would allow licensees to carry concealed guns on college campuses, places of worship, day-care facilities, private airplanes, school safety zones and certain government buildings.

President Obama's BAFTE announces its intention to ban commonplace M855 ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.”

March:

Buckeye Firearms Association's FASTER Saves Lives program is on hand as Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA) holds its “Are you prepared?” school facilities and safety conference in Columbus, Ohio. 

After receiving more than 80,000 letters of opposition, and after a majority in both the Senate and House — 52 senators (including Ohio's Rob Portman (R)), 238 House members (including Ohio Reps. Steve Chabot, Brad Wenstrup, Jim Jordan, Bob Latta, Bill Johnson, Bob Gibbs, Mike Turner, Pat Tiberi, Dave Joyce, Steve Stivers and Jim Renacci) -  joined to oppose the Obama administration's move, the BATFE withdraws its proposal to ban commonplace M855 ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.”

New reciprocity agreements take effect thanks to modifications made via HB 234, allowing Ohio's concealed handgun license to be recognized in more states than ever before.

April:

Buckeye Firearms Association's Sean Maloney is elected to the 76th seat on the NRA Board of Directors during the 2015 NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville.

The Cleveland City Council passes a watered-down version of gun control legislation that had been proposed by Mayor Frank Jackson in 2014. After passing the law, Council President Kevin Kelley stated that "the legislation was not designed to stop gun violence. Rather, it is a reflection of council's values and is good public policy intended to encourage responsible gun ownership." When the proposals were first introduced, Kelley sung a much different tune, saying "gun violence has taken far too many lives in our community. The City of Cleveland must act aggressively to address this issue."

Senator Rob Portman casts disappointing vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as U.S. Attorney General. The National Rifle Association opposed Lynch's confirmation to the same position that has been used by Eric Holder to subvert Second Amendment rights and abuse gun owners for the past six years.

78,865 NRA members and gun rights supporters descended on Nashville, Tenn. for this year’s NRA Annual Meetings.

More states announce recognition of Ohio's concealed handgun license, thanks to changes made to Ohio law via HB 234.

May:

Columbus police shoot a concealed handgun licensee through the window of his car after a fight broke out nearby. An internal review is launched.

A House committee holds several hearings on various firearms-related bills. Buckeye Firearms Association's Sean Maloney testifies on behalf of the organization in support of HB 20 (Rule Modification for Concealed Carry in School Zones) and HB 48 (Eliminate many 'no-guns' victim zones).

The Cincinnati-based federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a district court's ruling allowing a lawsuit against a City of Toledo police officer to proceed. The suit claims that TPD officer David Bright illegally detained Shawn Northrup for openly carrying a semi-automatic handgun.

The Obama administration signals its opposition to a proposal that would allow the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) 100,000 M1911 .45 caliber pistols to U.S. citizens of age, who belong to shooting clubs affiliated with the program, after passing a background check, and satisfying all federal and state laws.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order prohibiting enforcement of provisions of D.C. law that effectively grant to the police chief the discretion to decide who may lawfully exercise the right to bear arms in public for self-defense. This follows on the heels of an earlier ruling in which the District lost the argument that the right to “bear arms” does not apply outside the home, leading to the hasty enactment of an “emergency” may-issue concealed carry licensing scheme. 

June:

HB 48 (Eliminate many 'no-guns' victim zones) receives further committee attention. The Republican-led committee introduces a substitute bill, which removes language which would have allowed concealed carry on college campuses, in places of worship and certain government buildings, in exhange for "opt-in" language which would to allow authorities governing college campuses and certain government buildings the ability to allow concealed carry. In his testimony on the bill, Buckeye Firearms Association's Jim Irvine notes that the substitute bill removed several items we feel are important. The committee eventually passes the substitute bill.

The Lake Co. Sheriff's office revokes at least 170 concealed handgun licenses after an investigation concluded the classes didn't include range time.

Changes which would effect gun owners are among the Ohio Senate's proposed changes to the 2015-2016 biennium budget bill. The bill removes the media access loophole to concealed handgun licensee's confidential information, and allows active-duty members of the military to possess concealed firearms without an Ohio license, so long as they have a valid military identification card and has received small arms training as part of their service.

Buckeye Firearms Association's Sean Maloney announces he is seeking reelection to the NRA Board of Directors and asks for support's help to win another term. 

A high-profile attack on a the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC draws attention to Ohio's ban on concealed carry in places of worship, and to a Republican-led committee's removal of places of worship from HB 48, a bill that seeks to eliminate many 'no-guns' victim zones.

Civitas Media, which owns some 88 newspapers in 12 states - including 38 here in Ohio - and which in 2014 discussed the use of "public records act requests" to "build state-by-state databases that list those who have the right to carry" firearm licenses, uses its newspapers to blanket the state with an editorial criticizing the proposed removal of the media access loophole contained in the 2015-2016 biennium budget bill. Governor John Kasich eventually signs the bill.

July:

Linda Walker, Vice President of Buckeye Firearms Association and a member of the NRA's Board of Directors, is featured on The Outdoor Channel's "NRA All Access" on an episode is entitled “Real Estate Agents: Why I Carry.” 

Former California State Sen. Leland Yee, a gun control advocate rated "A+" by the Brady Campaign, pleads guilty to weapons-related racketeering charges in an organized crime case and faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

After yet another terror attack against our military personnel on United States soil (this time at a recruiting facility in Chattanooga), Americans wake up to the fact that our military facilities are "gun free" victim zones. Amidst calls for change as armed citizens volunteer to protect our servicemen and women, the Army's chief of staff says "the military has to be careful about over-arming itself." 

Ohio governor John Kasich joins a crowded Republican presidential field. His 43 minute speech does not address Second Amendment issues.

WBNS 10TV (CBS Columbus) reports that a gun control program launched by Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman (D) is a complete failure, and a whistleblower reports that FBI agents have asked him about allegations of corruption inside Columbus City Hall. The whistleblower says he saw financial abuses in the Gun Stoppers program committed by Lee Roberts, who Buckeye Firearms Association exposed in 2012 as a Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) staff member working in a tax-payer funded position created for him by Coleman's office.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Obama administration is pushing a plan to submit the names of up 4.2 million recipients of Social Security benefits to the FBI’s National Instant Check System, or NICS, the massive database used for criminal background checks on gun buyers.

August:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that a new financial disclosure filing reveals that former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democratic candidate for U.S. senator, earned $250,386 from April 2014 to March 2015 working for the Center for American Progress, a liberal, anti-gun think tank.

Buckeye Firearms Association conducts an unscientific straw poll of our website readers. The poll, which limited visitors to one vote, asked "If the nomination were up to YOU, who would you choose to run against Clinton [on the Republican ticket]?" The winner, by a 1.8% margin, was Texas Senator Ted Cruz, with 23.3%  of the vote. Following in second place was New York businessman Donald Trump, with 21.5% of the vote.

Buckeye Firearms Foundation’s (501c3) Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) program concludes its third summer of classes and reports that amazing progress is being made toward safer schools all across Ohio.

A deranged former journalist bent on revenge and a twisted desire to start a race war, murders two of his former colleagues on live television.

A BuckeyeFirearms.org article draws attention to the rabidly anti-self-defense Coalition to Stop Gun Violence becoming the latest gun control extremist group to advocate calling police any time they see a gun owner in public, a dangerous practice known as "SWATting."

September:

A BuckeyeFirearms.org article highlighting the rabidly anti-self-defense Coalition to Stop Gun Violence's call for supporters to engage in the "SWATting" of gun owners gains widespread attention viaFoxNews.com and WND.com.

Dennis Willard, a spokesman for former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, says the former governor now supports so-called "universal" background checks, continuing the Senate candidate's process of turning his back on the gun rights community that previously supported him.

The annual Buckeye Firearms Foundation Youth Shoot is a rousing success. Years of growth have expanded the event to nearly 100 Scouts and non-scouts. 

Buckeye Firearms Association president and co-founder, Jim Irvine, is recognized by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) for his tireless service to the cause of gun rights. Irvine is awarded SAF's 2015 "Defender of Freedom Award" by SAF founder Alan Gottlieb at the Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC). 

October:

A mentally ill man brings multiple handguns and a long gun to the "no-guns" Oregon campus of Umpqua Community College and kills nine defenseless people, and wounds about that many more. Buckeye Firearms Association's Chad Baus calls for an end to a policy followed by some in the gun rights community of "going dark" - of refusing to provide comment - in the immediate aftermath of a multiple-victim public shooting. Gun ban groups seek to capitalize on the tragedy through fundraising. 

Even as Hillary Clinton states on the campaign trail that “the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment,” reinterating her belief that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right to bear arms, and that not just Australia but also the U.K. is “a good example” of a country responding to a “mass killing,” confirming her support for gun confiscation, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports women have emerged as one of the fastest-growing demographics of new gun buyers and concealed carry permit holders in the country, and in the process, they have become a driving force in the shift in American attitudes from pro-gun control to pro-gun rights.

Buckeye Firearms Association's political action committee (BFA-PAC) issues endorsements in several local contests which pique the interest of the endorsement committee, some because they are between pro-Second Amendment candidates and out-and-out anti-gunners, and others because we wish to support candidates in positions that could one day lead them to the Statehouse, Governor's mansion, or Supreme Court bench.

November:

The cash-strapped City of Cleveland choses to destroy thousands of dollars worth of firearms in an annual publicicity stunt that has done nothing to stop the rising tide in homicides and violence committed in the city.

Buckeye Firearms Foundation's FASTERSavesLives.org draws worldwide attention after news breaks that around 40 school districts now allow teachers with concealed handgun licenses to carry their firearms in class. The news is picked up by FoxNews.com, the (UK) Daily Mail. and many more nationally and internationally-read websites.

Sub HB 48 (Eliminate many 'no-guns' victim zones) passes the Ohio House of Representatives with a 68-29 vote.

President Obama announces that he hopes to make gun control the top issue of his final year in office.

The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) sends a letter to Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football Leage (NFL), asking him to reconsider the League's ban on concealed carry.

Buckeye Firearms Association's Chad Baus exposes faculty at the publicly-funded Bowling Green State University for having used university resources to coordinate and conduct lobbying efforts against HB 48. A public records request also reveals one BGSU professor BGSU considers the National Rifle Association (NRA), which is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, to be "a murderous terrorist organization that is a threat to national security."

December:

News of a terrorist attack in San Bernadino, CA jolts the nation. Two Ohio county sheriffs take to Twitter in the hours after news of the attack to urge Ohioans to obtain concealed handgun licenses. Meanwhile, President Obama suggests that nationwide gun control laws - the same kind which are already in place in California - would be a proper response to the latest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

WEWS, Cleveland's ABC affiliate, reports that in the first month since Cleveland's controversial gun registry program went active, not one person has registered.

NRA's Chris Cox responds within 48 hours to the President's charges that the nation's gun owners are to blame for the terror attack in San Bernadino, noting that California has already adopted the president's gun control wish list, and observing that it is the president’s failed foreign policy has made us less safe.

In an error-filled blog post, a BGSU professor admits that the actions performed on university computers were in fact "lobbying activity" - something that university policy prohibits. He goes on to claim that support for gun ownership is racially motivated, ignoring polls suggesting that support for gun ownership is increasing across race, gender, age and party lines.

Buckeye Firearms Association President Jim Irvine calls out presidential candidates Donald Trump and John Kasich for having joined President Obama's call to rescind people's Second Amendment rights when placed on a government 'no-fly' list without due process. Irvine notes that he has experience with the problematic watch-list, having been confused with someone on the list for several years.

After having refused to cover the news of the BGSU faculty email lobbying scandal, Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune editor Jan Larson McLaughlin is fired for insubordination after having shared an editorial critical of the NRA and Buckeye Firearms Association - and that was rejected by her publisher - with her staff, leading them to write a letter asking the pubilsher to reconsider.

U.S. Senate candidate Ted Strickland joins President Obama's call to rescind people's Second Amendment rights when placed on a government 'no-fly' list without due process.

A Columbus Dispatch editorial observes that taking "no-guns" signs down will reduce odds of attack - a notable change in editorial attitude on gun rights and self-defense dating back to the newspaper's first issue in 1871.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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