2018 – The year ahead

2018 is looking like a year of questions and controversies. It will be a year of conflict and change. Some of those changes will be good, some bad, and some we will probably not know yet as the year draws to a close.

We have spent the past year with continuous stories about how fractured and divided the Republican party is under President Trump, yet the year ended with the GOP coming together to pass tax reform not seen in generations.

The threat of nuclear war has been renewed by North Korea, and while ISIS/ISIL where hammered last year, the potential for lone jackal attacks has increased. Drug and opioid use and abuse will see overdose-related deaths rise to record levels. With drug abuse also comes crime. It’s a good time to be armed.

In Ohio we have a pending Governor’s race. On the Republican side, Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have joined forces and appear to be the team to beat, but Jim Renacci and Amy Murray insist they are the best ticket for Ohio and believe they will surprise the way President Trump did. It is worth noting that Renacci is the only candidate to back Trump in last year’s Ohio primary. Will Trump come back to Ohio and help Renacci win, or will Renacci come up a little short as Trump did in the Ohio primary last year? Or will dark horse Mary Taylor complete a team that will surprise everyone?

The Democratic Party has a very busy field. Who will actually run and who was just talk? We’ll know in the next month. Richard Cordray seems to be the early favorite, but several others could surprise. Will Cordray follow the path of Governor Strickland from D.C. to Governor, or has his time in Washington seen him follow Strickland’s path from pro-gun to anti-gun?

Come November, will Ohio elect a distinguished politician, or a business man or non-political person? Will the opposition party retake the U.S. Congress/Senate, or will Trump defy convention again and lead the GOP to victory? Will Ohio re-elect the most liberal Senator in Sherrod Brown or will Josh Mandel, Mike Gibbons or Melissa Ackison prevail?

Will the State legislature pass significant legislation this spring, or will it drag out until lame duck as has become normal? Will we get what is promised in lame duck or will it be more broken promises? Will BFA PAC continue to give “A” grades and endorsements to legislators who continue to put us last? Should we accept a record of scattered improvements, or push harder to right that which is wrong?

With all the questions, there are a few certainties. Much of the national media will continue to be more propaganda than news. Local news continues to do a better job covering the issues and we expect that trend to continue, especially on firearms related coverage.

The Democratic National Committee led by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi will continue its war on freedom, including the right to keep and bear arms. Sadly it seems like a majority of their party approve of this insanity and will continue to follow them down that destructive path.

The Republican National Committee has long viewed not losing as winning. They talk pro-gun and pro-freedom, but have done little to advance firearms rights over several generations at a national level.

Don’t expect this to change this year, but hopefully they can at least agree that a state-issued carry license should be accepted by every state just like a state issued driver’s license.

State and local politics is different, with candidates caring less about the party and more about their constituents. This is where you have the most influence. Gun owners need to use this influence this year, starting in the May primary elections.

Many gun owners disengaged last year. Strong majorities seen as “pro-gun” created apathy and whether we look at Ohio or national legislation, we didn’t see a single piece of our legislative priority enacted.

One thing never changes – gun owners control our own destiny. While other groups are happy to influence elections, we can run the tables. But we haven’t because we divide ourselves. We need to re-unite and drive our agenda, locally, statewide and nationally.

Our issues strikes an emotional cord on both sides. In politics, all things are related. Education is important, but winning the hearts and minds of others is our key to long term success.

There is sure to be some stress and controversies for us this year, but when the dust settles I think we will look back and be proud of the successful year we will help shape.

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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