2017 – The year ahead

With the New Year, so begins new legislative sessions at the federal level and in Ohio.

Republicans control the U.S. Congress, Senate and White House, and most state Governorships and state legislatures.

The anti-gun, anti-freedom zealots got their wish in a presidential candidate proud of being anti-freedom and their platform was soundly defeated.

Campaigning as unabashedly pro-gun, President-elect Donald Trump shocked the “news” and talking heads with a decisive victory.

How will these and other events shape the year ahead?

One would think that Republicans who tend to be pro-gun would seize this moment and repeal some of the failed gun control laws, but history shows they are normally afraid to do anything the media is apt to criticize.

After eight years of attack at the federal level, many gun owners will relax and cease to be politically active. But Ohio Republicans are still suffering from the horrible influence of Voinovich/Taft/Davidson, so we must fight against that tendency. There are important battles to fight and win.

It has been said that the best time to save money is when you have some. The best time to advance our cause is when we have a receptive political environment. This year represents some of the best opportunities many of us have ever experienced. We must seize our opportunities and advance our cause.

Guns will be discussed in several levels in Washington D.C. Trump will nominate a justice to replace Anthony Scalia on the Supreme Court. He will be hard pressed to find someone as strong on our issues, but I predict the new justice will be solid on our issue.

We will see guns debated again in the U.S. Senate. But instead of debating Obama’s overreaching gun grab, they will be discussing national concealed carry. States should continue to set their own rules for carrying guns and obtaining licenses, but they should have to accept other states licenses just as they do driver's licenses. With Presidential leadership, I think this passes this session - hopefully this year.

It has been decades since the federal government passed significant improvements to firearms laws. They should be looking at repealing the restriction to buying handguns across state lines, and the prohibitions on carrying on federal land/buildings. With concealed carry now the law in all 50 states, there is no reason why the estimated 14,500,000+ license-holders should be disarmed at the post office.

In Ohio we have many legislators lining up to run various pro-gun bills. Dr. Terry Johnson (R) is in his last session as a state representative, and is expected to run a significant bill. We may see several others members run various bills to restore rights. I will not be shocked if some improvements are made in 2017 instead of the usual wait till the last day of session for gun bills.

Demand for concealed handgun licenses (CHLs) will remain strong. The threat of President Obama/Clinton have subsided, but active killers, terror threats and common sense will continue encouraging responsible people to obtain their CHL.

Strong demand for FASTER Saves Lives © program will continue. Districts that already have authorized staff will expand a successful program. Districts that have waited will authorize staff for the first time, and several districts will announce they have armed staff. The media will barely mention it as it becomes “old news.” Ohio will be recognized as a leader by other states looking for better ways to keep their children safe. Trauma care will get more attention.

By the end of this year we will see jockeying for the 2018 elections. Most notable is an open Ohio governor’s race. Republicans Jon Husted, Mike DeWine and Mary Taylor as well as Democrat Richard Cordray have all indicated interest in that office. Josh Mandel, Matt Huffman and Pat Tiberi are three Republicans looking to unseat Sherrod Brown (D) for a U.S. Senate seat. There will be interesting candidates for two upcoming Ohio Supreme Court seats as well as many other important races.

No matter what actually happens, you can stay informed by signing up for Buckeye Firearms Association’s free newsletter.

Jim Irvine is Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association Political Action Committee (BFA-PAC). He is also Board President of Buckeye Firearms Association, and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award," the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award," and the SAF's 2015 "Defender of Freedom Award."

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