2020 - BFA in the News

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December 23, 2020
The Highland County Press - DeWine asked for gun control; lawmakers gave him a ‘make my day’ bill

If passed, Senate Bill 175 would hand a major victory to gun advocacy groups like the National Rifle Association and the Buckeye Firearms Association who have pushed the proposal for years.

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Rob Sexton, a Buckeye Firearms Association spokesman, said his organization has been pushing for stand your ground for about a decade. As Ohio has broadened its gun rights during that period, he said the counter-arguments that the new policies will lead to a “wild west” type culture have never panned out.

“When it comes to duty to retreat, we’re really talking about evening the playing field for the victim,” he said.

December 21, 2020
TheGunMag.com - Ohio Gun Owners Expect Full Investigation Of Goodson Shooting

Chad Baus, editor of the BFA website has called on members of the Buckeye Firearms Association to seek out facts in the case. According to a story on WOSU’s website, Baus says, “I am encouraging Second Amendment rights people to join in the call that we get all the facts and we get a fair and impartial investigation in this thing, because Casey deserves that as much as any other concealed handgun licensed holder.”

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In a telephone interview, Baus told TGM the case has a high degree of tension because Goodson was Black.

“Honestly this year in particular and even the George Floyd situation just got me as a person to start asking questions of my black friends that I’ve never asked before,” Baus said. “I’ve never had conversations with them before about the matters of the day, how they really feel, are they bothered unnecessarily with traffic stops, and whatnot. And then I started asking questions about their Second Amendment rights in particular and ‘Do you weigh in the color of your skin in a potential encounter with law enforcement into whether or not you decide to carry?’ And without fail every single person I talked to said ‘Yes I do weigh that in, yes I do have to add that into my consideration of whether or not I carry.’”

Baus noted that “Every single one of them also had stories about law enforcement encounters that just stuff I have never had to deal with as a white man.”

Baus then said that some people he spoke with did choose to exercise their Second Amendment rights, but other people said ‘It’s not worth the risk.’

“In my estimation,” Baus said, “they felt like ‘I’m probably more likely to have and uncomfortable or perhaps unsafe encounter with law enforcement than I am to be needing my firearm for a self-defense reason.”

Baus then explained why he is speaking out.

“The Second Amendment community is very pro-law enforcement,” he observed. “We know that our law enforcement officers are there to protect us and we are thankful for the job that they have. They have a tough job and we believe in them and want to back them up.

“We have seen some of these cases where the initial reports and then the eventual conclusions about what had happened very widely differ,” he continued. “So we hear some things initially and it’s widely reported in the media and people get really worked up, but then later on when the facts of the case are investigated and determined, it is determined that what was initially reported wasn’t accurate. And so there is also a feeling in the Second Amendment community and idea that we need to wait and see, that we just don’t know and we can’t determine what happened here until we know.”

Baus stressed the importance of not drawing conclusions until all the facts have been revealed.

“I am just becoming convinced that we definitely need to be very careful,” he said. “We do not know what happened right now with this situation…”

He maintains gun owners and activists “ought to be able to speak into this without passing judgment on the case.”

“I think that we ought to be able to say ‘This is a concealed carry license holder and what is being reported is concerning and we need to pay attention to this,’” he stated, “without throwing the officer under the bus before knowing the facts and before we judge Casey’s actions as the law enforcement are claiming without all the facts because we don’t know. But we ought to be able to speak to this, I believe because there are people who want to exercise their rights and are afraid to.”

December 18, 2020
Associated Press - Ohio ‘stand your ground’ bill, expanding right to shoot to kill in self-defense, heads to DeWine's desk

After campaigning on the merits of the legislation, Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., abstained from voting. House Speaker Bob Cupp. R-Lima, attributed it to a potential “conflict of interest.”

Lang owns a business that sells liability insurance for gun owners should they shoot to kill in self-defense. He operates the business along with two executives of Buckeye Firearms Association, a local gun-advocacy organization.

One of those two, Dean Rieck, testified in support of the same legislation before a Senate committee last week.

“If you honestly believe you are about to die, it is cruel and absurd to expect you to attempt escape, delaying your own self-defense and putting your life in even greater danger,” he said.

December 17, 2020
WCMH (FOX Columbus) - Ohio lawmakers debate ‘Stand your ground’ and other gun measures

“When a person is attacked in their own home, for example, they’ve got a right to defend themselves immediately if they are in fear for their safety,” said Rob Sexton, Legislative Affairs Director with Buckeye Firearms Association. “But when you are outside of your home Ohio law requires that a person under duress seek avenues of escape before they would be legally allowed to defend themselves.”

Opponents of the bill say it will promote violence, especially in public places.

“Stand your ground is incredibly dangerous, actually increases gun violence, and disproportionately affects people of color,” said Mayor Whaley.

Sexton said this bill is merely about the safety of law-abiding citizens.

“No one wants to seek out a life-or-death situation because there’s no guarantee you’re going to come through it so I don’t believe these types of laws increase crime, I think they simply give a victim a fighting chance,” said Sexton.

December 16, 2020
WSYX (ABC Columbus) - Ohio lawmakers discussing additional 'stand your ground' rights for gun owners

"For those of us who obey the law, we need to take steps to protect ourselves," said Rob Sexton, with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

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"We feel very strongly that if you are under attack, the best way to save the lives of your family, is to do what you think is best first," Sexton said. "If there is any avenue of retreat take it, there are situations where that might not be possible."

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"If I am legally where I am allowed to be, and I have fear for my safety of a loved one, then I should be allowed to defend myself," Sexton said.

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Governor Mike DeWine sending a clear message to lawmakers, he is not interested in looking at the legislation until legislators take action on some of his anti-violence and gun reform proposals he put together as part of his Strong Ohio plan that was announced following the mass shooting in Dayton last year.

"I think it's premature to wonder where he is at, we need to do our job to get it to him first," Sexton said.

December 16, 2020
WOSU (NPR Columbus) - Buckeye Firearms Association Wants Answers In Casey Goodson Jr. Shooting

A column published by one of Ohio's most powerful gun rights organizations says Second Amendment supporters should demand answers about the shooting death of a Black man in Columbus.

Franklin County Sheriff's deputy Jason Meade shot and killed 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. on December 4, claiming he was waving a handgun. Goodson's family says he was holding a bag of sandwiches and unlocking the door of his home. Law enforcement says Meade never mistook a sandwich for a gun.

While hundreds of people have rallied in downtown Columbus demanding answers, Chad Baus with the Buckeye Firearms Association believes gun owners should be seeking those answers as well.

“I am encouraging Second Amendment rights people to join in the call that we get all the facts and we get a fair and impartial investigation in this thing, because Casey deserves that as much as any other concealed handgun licensed holder,” he says.

Goodson did possess an up-to-date concealed carry license. Sean Walton, a lawyer representing Goodson's family, said Goodson eagerly educated his family about gun safety and laws.

Baus says that people who advocate for gun rights can be hesitant to weigh in on police-involved shootings.

“We’re very pro-law enforcement. We realize that the law enforcement officers are trying to keep us safe – that’s why they exist,” he says. “So oftentimes the Second Amendment community seems really hesitant to speak into these situations too soon, because we don’t have all the information.”

Baus says the shooting brings to light questions surrounding the right to legally carry a gun and a person's skin color.

“There are many people who are concerned about even being able to exercise their Second Amendment right because of the color of their skin and because of their fears about how that interaction could go if they have to interact with law enforcement,” he says.

Baus notes this is not the first time a Black man, licensed to carry a gun, has died at the hands of law enforcement. He thinks it’s an issue the entire community needs to address.

“We are one big family, we always like to talk about that, so let’s be a big family and let’s talk about [the fact] that part of our family is suffering,” he says.

December 15, 2020
WRGT (FOX Dayton) - Dayton city leaders oppose 'Stand Your Ground' bill as it heads to Senate vote

Supporters call it an expansion to the Castle Doctrine.

"It expands beyond an existing duty to retreat which is removed from people when they're in their homes or their automobiles but we all know a lot of violent crime occurs when you're outside your home," said Joe Eaton, a Director with Buckeye Firearms Association.

Eaton said the change would be for safety and protection in court.

"It's really horrific to think that somebody would want to require you and I as a regular citizen to watch our friends and families be murdered and have a duty to turn around and leave them," he said.

December 15, 2020
Dayton Daily News - Will Ohio get a ‘stand your ground’ gun law?

“If you honestly believe you are about to die, it is cruel and absurd to expect you to attempt escape, delaying your own self-defense and putting your life in even greater danger. Ohio’s Duty to Retreat law is an injustice to victims of crime and an outrageous legal requirement,” said Dean Rieck, director of Buckeye Firearms Association, in written testimony favoring SB383.

December 15, 2020
Columbus Dispatch - Ohio gun-rights group questions investigation into death of Casey Goodson Jr.

A gun-rights advocacy group is calling into question the investigation into the death of Casey Goodson Jr. at the hands of a Franklin County Sheriff's Office deputy, saying the concealed-carry permit held by Goodson raises new issues.

Buckeye Firearms Association, which traditionally has not commented on shootings involving law enforcement, posted an article on their website that was written by former association secretary Chad Baus, who is the editor for the group's website, BuckeyeFirearms.org.

In the column, Baus questioned the decision by U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin to call the shooting of Goodson on Dec. 4 "justified" before the facts were all known. Baus said the action calls into question the credibility of the entire investigation.

Tobin has since apologized for making the statement. The investigation into the shooting is being handled by Columbus police, who were not involved in the incident, and the FBI.

"Incidents like Goodson's ... cause me, as a white person, to wonder — what would it be like if, instead of being seen by most officers as one of the 'good guys' when they learned I was carrying, I was instead immediately seen as a threat?," Baus wrote. "What would it be like if my family literally feared for my life if I was carrying (or even if I was unarmed) and got pulled over on a run to the pharmacy or grocery because I 'fit the description?' Would this change my decision to exercise my Second Amendment right to bear arms?"

Goodson, 23, was shot and killed on Dec. 4 by Deputy Jason Meade. Goodson had a valid concealed carry permit in Ohio and a firearm was recovered at the scene of the shooting on the city's Northeast Side.

Where the firearm was recovered from and whether Goodson had pointed the firearm prior to the shooting remains under investigation.

December 14, 2020
Highland County Press - Senate committee passes ‘stand your ground’ bill as lame duck deadline approaches

Lobbying groups representing gun owners support the proposal. Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association, called the duty to retreat an “outrageous” legal requirement.

“If you honestly believe you are about to die, it is cruel and absurd to expect you to attempt escape, delaying your own self-defense and putting your life in even greater danger,” he said.

December 10, 2020
BearingArms.com - 2A Activists Demand Answers In Death Of Casey Goodson, Jr.

The Buckeye Firearms Association has now weighed in on the case, and on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co BFA’s Sean Maloney joins me to talk about the attention that Goodson’s death is starting to receive in the Second Amendment community, as well as an update on several pieces of pro-2A legislation in the Ohio statehouse.

As Buckeye Firearms’ Chad Baus writes:

"Most will agree that it is best to withhold judgment until all the facts come in. But I hope that all concealed handgun license-holders will agree that this situation is very concerning.

"First, let me say that I agree with the family’s attorney in this: no law enforcement spokesperson should be saying the shooting was justified before an investigation has been done. Such statements cause a lack of trust for family members and others as to whether a fair and impartial weighing of the facts will be done at all.

"Cause for additional concern is the fact that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation declined a request by Columbus police on Monday to lead the investigation and questioned the decision to wait three days before requesting help."

It’s important to note, as Baus did, that we don’t have all of the facts here. Still, as Maloney told me, the wildly different accounts of what transpired before Goodson was shot are reason enough for skepticism. Maloney says that he’s pleased the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Cincinnati field office of the FBI are now taking part in the investigation, and he wonders why the Columbus police department didn’t immediately request the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation take charge of the investigation into the shooting.

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The Buckeye Firearms Association’s Sean Maloney says he expects to see a number of Second Amendment supporters in Columbus this weekend for protests and rallies in support of Goodson and a full investigation into his death. Like Maloney and Goodson’s own family, I hope these protests are peaceful, and that Casey Goodson’s family can soon get the answers that they deserve.

December 8, 2020
Columbus Dispatch - Ohio Republican lawmakers fast track bill eliminating duty to retreat

For gun owners, the change is a matter of safety and fairness.

"I have this right in my home. I have this right in my vehicle. But for some reason, Ohio removes this right in all other locations," Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association, told lawmakers.

December 5, 2020
Dayton Daily News - Lawmakers set to expand gun rights in Ohio, DeWine’s reform plan unlikely to pass

The bills have support from gun rights groups such as the Buckeye Firearms Association but are opposed by gun control groups such as Moms Demand Action.

December 3, 2020
WEWS (ABC Cleveland) - DeWine’s anti-gun violence bill faces deadline

The Buckeye Firearms Association — the local gun lobby — immediately came out against the bill last year. Legal analysis from the group argues the voluntary background check will “become a de facto mandate” and the new penalties for gun crimes from people legally prohibited from owning one are “grossly inappropriate.”

December 2, 2020
Gongwer News Service - Duty To Retreat Bill Could See Senate Committee Vote Next Week

Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said the duty to retreat test creates a dangerous requirement to attempt to escape before defending your life.

"If you honestly believe you are about to die, it is cruel and absurd to expect you to attempt escape, delaying your own self-defense and putting your life in even greater danger. Ohio's duty to retreat law is an injustice to victims of crime and an outrageous legal requirement," he said.

He told Sen. Thomas that he had not seen a specific case in Ohio but that the duty to retreat is unnecessary because it is already factored into the law and "simply confuses things."

November 30, 2020
BearingArms.com - Ohio Court Strikes Down Cincinnati’s Bump Stock Ban

Congratulations to the Buckeye Firearms Foundation and Ohioans for Concealed Carry on the legal victory.

November 25, 2020
Cincinnati Enquirer - Appeals court: City of Cincinnati must pay $168K over 'invalid' trigger activator ban

Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, one of the groups that sued the city, said state law is clear.

"Cities in Ohio can't pass gun regulations," Rieck said.

Rieck's organization has sued multiple cities, which he said "pass laws to see what sticks and force people to sue them…to get them to obey the law."

November 19, 2020
Ohio Capitol Journal - Bill allowing arming of teachers passes Ohio Senate

Supporters of the bill included the Buckeye Firearms Association, which conducts a 26-hour firearms training specifically for school personnel, and the National Firearms[sic] Association.

November 18, 2020
Dayton Daily News - School staff carrying guns won’t face major training requirements, bill says

Madison Local Schools required employees to take a 27-hour training course offered by FASTER Saves Lives, an affiliate of the Buckeye Firearms Association. In 2018, parents in the district mounted a legal challenge, seeking to block the school district from arming staff without peace officer training or 20 years experience as a police officer.

Senators adopted the bill on a 21-10 vote and sent it to the Ohio House for consideration. It is opposed by groups that favor gun restrictions while it is supported by the Buckeye Firearms Association and National Rifle Association.

November 12, 2020
Vice.com - Biden Hates the Idea of Arming Teachers, But It's Way Too Late to Stop It

...a pro-gun lobbying organization called the Buckeye Firearms Association runs trainings for teachers and school staff who want to be armed. They claim to have trained over 3,000 staff members from 18 states.

November 11, 2020
SpectrumNews1.com - Gun Rights, Gun Control Activists React to Biden's Projected Victory

Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for the Buckeye Firearms Association, has noticed the spike in gun sales in 2002.[sic]

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it increases more over the next couple of months, although it’s hard to imagine it getting a whole lot more brisk than it already is. There’s no doubt that there’s a threat on the horizon in terms of the Second Amendment and in gun ownership, so I wouldn’t be surprised if sales picked up even more.”

Sexton says COVID-19, civil unrest, and the election of Joe Biden, who’s advocated for stricter gun laws, could contribute to a spike in gun sales.

November 10, 2020
Dayton Daily News - Dayton part of lawsuit alleging BCI gun background check system is ‘broken’

Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said all parties involved on the plaintiff’s side have a long history of wanting gun control and have tried to “infringe” on gun owner rights.

“We have said for years that we prefer compliance with existing laws rather than the passage of new laws,” he said. “But we are obviously and understandably suspicious of the real motives behind this suit.”

“Everytown for Gun Safety especially pursues radical gun control in all parts of the US, and does so often in a highly deceptive manner,” he said.

Like everyone else, the Buckeye Firearms Association doesn’t want violent criminals to have guns, but most criminals obtain firearms through the black market ― not from legitimate gun dealers, Rieck said.

November 9, 2020
WSYX (ABC Columbus) - Ohio Attorney General responds to gun background check lawsuit filed by Columbus & Dayton

"It's much to do about nothing," said Gerard Valentino, with the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.

"They should be ashamed of themselves for bringing this suit," said Valentino, "spending this money and using resources, and this ridiculous gesture, as opposed to doing what they are supposed to be doing."

October 19, 2020
Dayton Daily News - Local sheriffs adjust after Ohio gun permit law changes

The law change is prompting area sheriff’s offices to review how they handle the applications, and that’s good, according to Jim Irvine, a longtime Second Amendment advocate and lobbyist.

Irvine told the Dayton Daily News that the changes were needed to allow legal gun carriers to comply with the law.

He also said allowing Ohioans to go to any sheriff’s office in the state could increase competition among sheriff’s offices and lead to better services.

October 2, 2020
MahoningMatters.com - Ohio bill would protect gun dealers from shutdowns

The legislation received strong support from the Buckeye Firearms Association, the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, according to a news release from Obhof.

September 28, 2020
Highland County Press - Ohio schools ask state Supreme Court to support armed personnel

They estimate a school resource officer’s salary to be $50,000 per year. They also say sending a school employee to FASTER, a training given by pro-gun lobby Buckeye Firearms Association and marketed specifically to teachers and school staff, costs “a couple thousand dollars.”

“Unsurprisingly, the resource discrepancy between districts in Ohio is largely exacerbated between larger, suburban and urban districts and smaller, rural districts,” the brief states. “This money gap, though, has a direct impact on the ability of a school district to safely protect its students and staff.”

The FASTER program is later called the state’s and country’s “preeminent active school shooter training program” more than once, and the districts say nearly 200 school districts in Ohio have been sent to it. The attorney writing on behalf of the districts, Jonathan Fox, is named as Buckeye Firearms Association member in a story on the BFA website.

September 23, 2020
Columbus Dispatch - Ohio Senate passes NRA-backed bill banning closure of gun stores, even in pandemic

“People are justifiably afraid of the many events that have taken place this year, and they’ve seen law enforcement efforts to protect the law abiding severely restrained,” Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for the Buckeye Firearms Association, said in committee testimony earlier this month.

“Special-interest campaigns aimed at banning firearms and restricting access to them is also at an all-time high. And we cannot assume that the current support for the Second Amendment that exists in the General Assembly will always be there.

September 20, 2020
WKRC (CBS Cincinnati) - Cincinnati lawmakers urge child gun law after accidental shooting death

The Buckeye Firearms Association has spoken out against the bill saying it's based on myths.

The association also says children would be better served being educated about gun safety and the bill infringes upon Second Amendment rights.

September 04, 2020
SpectrumNews1.com - DeWine's Push for Gun Legislation Met with Some Concern

Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director with the Buckeye Firearms Association, has issues with the bill.

“The bill purports to say, well, we’re going to do voluntary background checks between friends or family members and that sort of thing, but the truth of the matter is, if you are a person who doesn’t then use the background check and the background check exists, then you open yourself up to liability if anything were to happen up and down the line,” said Sexton.

That includes a section related to mental health. The organization believes SB 221 would expand the exceptions of doctor-patient privilege and allow police to require health care professionals to produce records.

“We’re at a time when we are trying to raise awareness in our country about encouraging people needing to seek treatment if they do have mental health issues, but instead, you’re going to ask them to choose, ‘Gosh, if I try to get help, am I going to open up a door in which I’m going to wind up losing my gun rights?'"

August 10, 2020
WKEF/WRGT (ABC/FOX Dayton) - Diving into the state's new gun permit tracking system

Joe Eaton, with Buckeye Firearms Association, said revoking permits has been a major challenge.

"There is a severe lag in reporting disqualified information to the correct authorities," he said.

A permit being revoked in the state of Ohio largely depends on a felony conviction or an adjudication of mental incompetence by the court.

The AG's report said courts and health providers weren't quickly reporting data to the state.

Eaton also said, though, that the report shows it has somewhat been working with 41 people flagged out of almost 700,000 permit holders.

"Also, just as important is making sure that information that is not correct comes out of that database," he said.

August 10, 2020
Dayton Daily News - Report finds disqualified Ohioans had concealed-carry permits

“We’re always saying, ‘Why introduce new laws if you’re not enforcing current laws?’ … Why not enforce the laws that are already on the books and see what happens first?” said Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association.

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Rieck said he thinks the report shows that the current licensing system is working well, as only about .006 percent of licensees were part of the report.

“Of the 41 people who were named out of the 700,000, not only is there no evidence that they committed any crime, they actually went out and got a license,” he said. “The people we need to worry about are the ones who aren’t following the law at all.”

August 8, 2020
TeamTrumpOnline - Team Trump Online with Hogan Gidley

Buckeye Firearms Association President Linda Walker was a guest on "Team Trump Online" with host Hogan Gidley.

August 3, 2020
Dayton Daily News - DeWine on gun reforms: ‘We have done something but it’s not enough'

The Buckeye Firearms Association and National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action oppose SB 221.

“We’re obviously grateful (lawmakers) have not passed unnecessary gun restrictions on gun owners this year in the aftermath of the Dayton shooting,” Rob Sexton, lobbyist for Buckeye Firearms Association, said earlier this summer. “We’d ask that there be a greater examination of enforcing existing laws.”

August 2, 2020
Columbus Dispatch - Despite ’do something’ cry, gun legislation still stalled a year after Dayton mass shooting

Gun rights groups such as the Buckeye Firearms Association have said that’s OK because even the governor’s plan, which Democrats criticized as watered down, would be “a deprivation of liberty and loss of fundamental rights.”

July 20, 2020
Toledo Blade - Vote set for teacher firearm training bill

The bill is backed by the National Rifle Association and the Buckeye Firearms Association.

“... this (12th District) decision will prevent any school district in Ohio from allowing staff to go armed to save the lives of school children in the event of an active killer situation,” said Rob Sexton, the latter's legislative affairs director.

July 20, 2020
Dayton Daily News - Lawmakers consider loosening training requirements for armed school staff

Madison Local Schools required employees to take a 27-hour training course offered by FASTER Saves Lives, an affiliate of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

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SB317, which is scheduled for a committee vote on Tuesday, is supported by the National Rifle Association and Buckeye Firearms Association. It is opposed by Everytown for Gun Safety, Ohio Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action. It could receive a Senate floor vote Tuesday afternoon.

July 15, 2020
WBNS (CBS Columbus) - Gun advocacy groups say more police, less gun laws will help Columbus crime

“I would say to the mayor, do your job and let [the] Columbus Police Department do their job as well,” Dean Rieck said. “We don’t need new gun laws.”

Rieck is the executive director with Buckeye Firearms. He says Ginther’s comments are nothing more than trying to pass the buck.

“He’s trying to put the blame on other people saying let’s pass laws, let’s do this, let’s do that, rather than just go to where the crime is happening and deal with it.”

Wanting clarity on what changes might look like for Ginther and his office, his staff replied to 10TV News with this:

“Specifically universal background checks and banning assault rifles. As you are probably aware, the state has banned municipalities from instituting their own common sense gun laws even when it’s what residents want.”

According to Columbus Police, out of the eight shootings this past weekend, none of them involved an assault rifle.

“That’s just not going to have an effect,” Rieck said. “All that’s going to do is further the burden, the people who are obeying the laws right now with their privately owned firearms.”

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Rieck says how to stop violence is to go to the neighborhoods where it’s happening and let police do their jobs.

“If there’s a fire in your kitchen, you get the fire extinguisher and you go to the kitchen,” he said. You don’t go out to your garage and change the tires on your car."

June 22, 2020
ColumbusUnderground.com - Legislature Considers Reducing Amount of Training to Arm Teachers

The Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) supports the legislation, calling the proposed bill “necessary” after the court decision said even volunteers would need the peace officer training.

“This flawed interpretation would require more than 700 hours of training, much of it completely unrelated to the situation the district is trying to address,” said Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for BFA in testimony supporting SB 317. “Worse, this decision will prevent any school district in Ohio from allowing staff to go armed to save the lives of school children in the event of an active killer situation.”

Sexton said appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court would be costly and time-consuming, so the “better solution…would be for the General Assembly to make the law crystal clear.”

In his testimony to the committee, Sexton didn’t mention the Buckeye Firearms Foundation’s Faculty/Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response (FASTER) training, that they promote specifically to school districts for teachers, administrators, and other personnel. The program is 26 hours over three days “that exceeds the requirements of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy,” according to the website for the program.

The BFA includes in its promotion materials for the FASTER program an interpretation of Ohio law by then-Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

In 2013, DeWine wrote to the chairman of BFA, giving an opinion on whether school boards have the authority to arm administrators, teachers, or other staff. In the letter, he said Ohio law doesn’t prevent districts from arming employees.

“But, if that teacher is required to, in essence, become a security guard as well, the teacher must either have a basic peace officer certification from the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) or he or she must have 20 years of experience as a law enforcement officer,” DeWine wrote, citing the same part of Ohio Revised Code the 12th District Court would later cite in the Madison Schools case.

June 21, 2020
Dayton Daily News - Ohio lawmakers are debating 33 gun bills. Will any of them become law?

Rob Sexton, lobbyist for Buckeye Firearms Association, said: “We’re obviously grateful (lawmakers) have not passed unnecessary gun restrictions on gun owners this year in the aftermath of the Dayton shooting. We’d ask that there be a greater examination of enforcing existing laws.”

Sexton said the pandemic and protests have highlighted the need for Ohioans to protect themselves if and when police are unavailable. The firearms association strongly favors passing measures that would allow adults to carry concealed weapons without permits or mandated training and that would remove the duty to retreat before using deadly force in self defense in public places, also known as “Stand Your Ground.”

Sexton noted that both ideas have been debated extensively in the General Assembly over several years.

“They have the ability to deal with either issue quickly, if they choose,” Sexton said.

June 12, 2020
BearingArms.com - Pro-2A Bill Clears Ohio House Over Democrat Objections

An issue that is receiving bipartisan support in the Buckeye State is the failure of the criminal justice system to actually prosecute career criminals who violate the state’s gun laws. Buckeye Firearms Association['s] Chad Baus is out with a column today agreeing with Columbus Dispatch columnist Theodore Becker that gun control laws are “pointless” if they’re not actually enforced.

Becker’s column centers around the recent bust of a drug and gun trafficking ring. 48-year old Christopher Conley is now facing a variety of federal charges, but Becker notes that Conley’s repeatedly been able to avoid consequences for his crimes over the years.

Between 1992 and 2012, Conley was charged four times with carrying a concealed weapon without a license and the more serious charge of having a weapon under disability.

The weapons-under-disability charge was dropped the first three times, in what appeared to be plea deals in exchange for guilty pleas to carrying a concealed weapon.

As Baus says in response:

"Theodore Decker and the Columbus Dispatch seem to have finally stumbled on the truth – gun laws ARE pointless if not enforced. Hopefully they’ll bring this point up the next time they’re interviewing officials who refuse to enforce existing law, yet repeatedly claim the need for still MORE gun control laws."

June 10, 2020
WEWS (ABC Cleveland) - House considers ‘stand your ground’ bill; some citizens say it’s a racist legal concept

The committee chairman, Rep. George Lang, recused himself from the hearing, citing an unspecified conflict of interest. He owns a gun liability insurance company along with two executives from the Buckeye Firearms Association, a powerful gun lobby group in Ohio.

May 28, 2020
Columbus Dispatch - Gun-rights advocates target proposal to help at-risk youth

The pro-gun Buckeye Firearms Association also flagged Howse’s bill as a potential concern.

Rob Sexton, the association’s legislative affairs director, said the bill creates a program run by people “sympathetic to gun control.” There is “too much authority granted to people we don’t know if we can trust.”

Sexton acknowledged nothing in the bill’s text talks about taking guns from people, but said it could empower such efforts.

“The problem is that Ohio’s Director of Health is Dr. Amy Acton, who ostensibly issued the orders to shut down Ohio. Acton, a Democrat, worked as a volunteer on the 2008 campaign for Barack Obama, a staunch gun control advocate.

“But even more concerning is how this program would be implemented through health care providers, who as a group tend to advocate gun control. If the goal of the program is to sway youth away from crime and violence, why the narrow focus on guns? Guns don’t cause youth to commit crimes.

Acton’s office did not respond to messages seeking comment.

May 28, 2020
Gongwer News Service - Gun Debates Resurface In House Committees

Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for the Buckeye Firearms Association, said 17 states currently allow for concealed carry without a permit.

"The law abiding are not a threat to others in Ohio or in any other state. They do not become law abiding because of the presence of a license. Subjecting them to unnecessary requirements does not make them better people," he said.

"It just burdens them with extra costs and potential to get into trouble for unintentionally violating those unneeded laws or regulations. Meanwhile, those who would do us harm ignore these same laws. This type of law that purports to keep us safer, in fact does not."

Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) asked about several proposals from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, including one to require someone carry a firearm to reveal that information if asked by a law enforcement officer.

Mr. Sexton said his organization has no problem with putting the onus on law enforcement.

On the issue of Terry stops, which allow for a search and seizure if there is reasonable suspicion that an individual is involved in criminal activity, Mr. Sexton said under the bill the suspicion could not be based on the belief that someone is carrying a firearm.

May 27, 2020
WKRC (CBS Cincinnati) - Following the shooting death of 8-year-old, lawmakers push for firearm safety bill

The Buckeye Firearms Association says the bill is based on myths and they should focus their efforts on firearms education.

May 7, 2020
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Gun sales soar in Ohio during coronavirus pandemic

Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dean Rieck disputed the claim that the gun sale surge would contribute to violence. He said increased levels of depression, suicide and domestic violence are likely during the pandemic as people’s routines are disrupted, they are forced to stay home and they become stressed about jobs and income, but that guns wouldn’t cause violence.

“Gun sales always go up in times of crisis or concern, regardless of what the specific crisis or concern may be,” said Rieck. “So it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a spike in sales during the coronavirus situation.”

He noted that nationwide, gun sales spiked by more than 20 percent after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and said they also tend to rise after natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, as well as mass shootings, as gun purchasers seek to arm themselves before any potential crackdowns on firearms ownership.

“People tend to take action when something dramatic happens and shakes them out of their complacency,” said Rieck. “They focus on their health after a heart attack and fix holes in the roof after a heavy rain, for example, but not before. It’s the same with personal security. When the media is telling people that the economy will shut down and we may enter a recession or depression, they start to think about basic necessities, such as food, medicine, toilet paper, and means of self-defense.”

April 27, 2020
Springfield News Sun - Coronavirus: Gun stores see surge in customers, ammunition purchases

While Joe Eaton of the Buckeye Firearms Association, a gun owners rights advocacy group, cited concerns over government restrictions and “concern for families as criminals are known to take advantage of chaotic environments,” O’Sullivan attributed the rise in interest in gun ownership to multiple factors.

April 27, 2020
Dayton Daily News - Ohio gun sales skyrocket during coronavirus pandemic

“We have never in (our) lifetime seen this type of government restrictions on the U.S. population — so this could be driving additional concern for families as criminals are known to take advantage of chaotic environments,” said Joe Eaton, with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

March 31, 2020
WOSU (NPR Columbus) - Appeals Court Rules Armed Ohio Teachers Require Extensive Training

Gun rights group Buckeye Firearms began offering a three-day training program that was widely adopted – and was the training program used by the Madison Township school board.

There are no clear numbers on how many schools in Ohio allow armed teachers. But as of 2018, teachers from 225 school districts in 12 states had enrolled in the Buckeye Firearms-developed training program, known as FASTER.

According to Jim Irvine, who runs the FASTER program and is the former lobbyist for Buckeye Firearms Association, thousands of teachers have completed the firearms training program. He said the program has been successful and no district in Ohio has changed its mind after approving armed school staff and sending them through the FASTER program.

“Really what this is a tragedy for the parents and the children in that school district,” Irvine said. “That anyone is more interested in grinding a political axe than a child’s safety, I find disturbing.”

According to the appeals court, the state legislature will have to amend its law covering school security if the school board is going to keep using FASTER, or teachers will have to complete the state’s police officer training program.

March 29, 2020
Columbus Dispatch - ‘Corona Carry’

Fundraising goes on for gun rights groups, too.

Buckeye Firearms Association is offering a “4-Gun Corona Carry” raffle, a ”$2,996 prize package, including a Springfield Hellcat 9mm!”

But wait: There’s more!

“The prize package also includes a wide variety of ammo for all the guns, quality holsters, and some handy accessories.”

The 1,000 tickets are $25 apiece.

March 25, 2020
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Why are Ohio’s gun shops still open? State says it’s a nod to constitutional rights

Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for the Buckeye Firearms Association, applauded the state’s decision on gun shops, not just on constitutional grounds but also because many Ohioans will view it as an essential step for self-protection.

“Just like everything else, it’s a time to be careful. But it’s not a time to interfere with people’s ability to protect themselves,” Sexton said.

March 2, 2020
Cleveland Plain Dealer - New, renewed Ohio concealed-firearms permits dropped sharply in 2019

Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said that 2019 wasn’t a particularly unusual year if you look at overall permits issued. While the 132,365 new and renewed permits in 2019 was down from more than 168,000 total licenses in 2018, it’s only up slightly from the 131,000 or so valid licenses at the end of 2017.

“I really don’t think that we’re too far off (from the norm), once you start looking at the numbers," Rieck said.

February 24, 2020
Ohio Capital Journal - How an Ohio representative’s business could profit off the ‘stand your ground’ bill he co-sponsors

Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., runs Second Call Defense, along with two top executives of the Buckeye Firearms Association, the state’s most influential grassroots gun advocacy and lobbying group.

...

Sean Maloney and Dean Rieck, two executives with the Buckeye Firearms Association, serve as Second Call Defense’s counsel and marketing directors, respectively. Lang said he and Maloney co-founded the company in 2013, and that Rieck owns a small percentage of it. The Buckeye Firearm Association is an affiliate of Second Call Defense, according to a news release, and advertises its services online.

February 19, 2020
Gongwer News Service - Changes To Concealed Carry Notification Law Debated

Sean Maloney, with Buckeye Firearms Association, said people who are carrying openly are guilty of carrying a concealed firearm if they improperly transport it in a vehicle.

The responsibility to inform law enforcement officers that they are carrying does not apply to people who are not legally carrying a firearm, he said. The way the law is written creates "vast confusion," he said. Most people are not pulled over often and people forget about their duty to notify.

...

Jim Irvine said the current law is flawed because the disclosure requirement was inserted as a "poison pill" to complicate the enforcement of it. Enforcement is not common because the law is "ridiculous," he said, but it still happens sometimes at the discretion of law enforcement.

...

Aaron Kirkingburg, a concealed carry holder and firearms instructor, also voiced concerns with the interpretation of the duty to notify "promptly." He said a student of his was in an automobile accident and informed the first four officers to arrive on the scene, but failed to notify the fifth officer who arrived, more than 45 minutes later.

"This final officer that arrived on the scene decided that this was not a lawful act that this concealed carry holder had participated in," he said.

February 6 2020
Columbus Dispatch - Penalty for not telling police you have a gun in the car? New GOP bill says $25

Buckeye Firearms Association’s Executive Director Dean Rieck said in a statement to The Dispatch that it support’s Wiggam’s latest effort on conceal carry permits.

“This bill will fix the arbitrary and confusing standard of ‘promptly’ notifying a police officer when you are carrying a concealed handgun and make complying with the law easier and safer for gun owners,” Rieck said.

January 28, 2020
Chillicothe Gazette - Pike County becomes Second Amendment sanctuary

The point of second amendment sanctuaries is to send a message to state legislatures rather than to change enforcement of existing law, according to a news release from the Buckeye Firearms Association.

"Sanctuary resolutions send a signal to the government that citizens disagree with certain laws. And if local law enforcement and local prosecutors are on board, such a resolution is effective in principle, because if no one is being arrested and no one is being prosecuted, then the effect is that it is working, just like sanctuary cities," said the release.

January 27, 2020
Columbus Underground - Ohio May Raise Gun Ownership Age from 18 to 21

The Buckeye Firearms Association opposes the bill. The BFA’s Southwest Ohio regional leader, Joe Eaton, told the Capital Journal the bill “would serve no public safety good.”

“It would disarm potential crime victims in that age of 18 to 21,” Eaton said. “And with it being a constitutionally protected right, are we also going to raise the age for freedom to assemble, or unlawful search and seizure?”

Eaton said the bill would also impact lawful gun owners in that age bracket who use their guns for things like hunting and shooting sports.

January 24, 2020
Ohio Capital Journal - Ohio May Raise Gun Ownership Age from 18 to 21

The Buckeye Firearms Association opposes the bill. The BFA’s Southwest Ohio regional leader, Joe Eaton, told the Capital Journal the bill “would serve no public safety good.”

“It would disarm potential crime victims in that age of 18 to 21,” Eaton said. “And with it being a constitutionally protected right, are we also going to raise the age for freedom to assemble, or unlawful search and seizure?”

Eaton said the bill would also impact lawful gun owners in that age bracket who use their guns for things like hunting and shooting sports.

January 15, 2020
Cincinnati Enquirer - Who's against Second Amendment sanctuaries? An Ohio gun rights group

The executive director of the state's largest gun-rights group, the Buckeye Firearms Association, told The Enquirer earlier this week he doesn't see a need for Second Amendment sanctuaries in Ohio, given the strong protections at the state level.

"I don't know if there's a need for it in Ohio," said Dean Rieck. "I'm not hearing a lot of interest."

As far as he knows, only Meigs County in Southeastern Ohio has also passed a resolution to become a gun sanctuary.

January 11, 2020
Highland County Press - Senator Terry Johnson endorsed by ORP, Scioto County GOP

Dr. Johnson has also been endorsed for this and past elections by the Buckeye Firearms Association.

January 10, 2020
Cincinnati Enquirer - One key way that Ohio keeps felons from purchasing guns is broken. No one is fixing it.

As gun reforms go, fixing the background check system could be low-hanging fruit. It has support from both Buckeye Firearms Association and Everytown for Gun Safety. But like all firearm-related legislation, it's complicated by the larger debate.

January 9, 2020
Gongwer News Service - Gun Rights Group Takes Dim View Of House Firearm Bill

The House alternative to Gov. Mike DeWine's plan to curb gun violence received a stinging rebuke from one of the state's largest gun rights organizations, calling its fate into question.

The legislation (HB 354) has been touted by Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) as a more practical approach to stop gun violence than Gov. DeWine's STRONG Ohio plan.

But the Buckeye Firearms Association, which has also been critical to aspects of the governor's proposal, called the legislation is "a train wreck of problems for Ohioans" and suggested that it "may be the single worst piece of legislation we have seen in a very long time" in its analysis of the bill.

...

Among the key components of the bill is a provision that would modify the definition of mental illness to include those suffering from a moderate or severe substance abuse disorder, allowing them to be involuntarily committed to treatment through the "pink slip" process.

The BFA in its analysis said it is "greatly disturbed" by that language and warned that once involuntarily committed an individual would be barred for life from owning a firearm and "subjected to an unending stigma potentially impacting employment and family life."

The group also took aim at a provision to increase from 23 to 28 the age at which most violent or sexual juvenile offenders' records are expunged and prohibit those individuals from possessing firearms until that time, calling it "arbitrary, unfair, and punitive."

The BFA also took issue with provisions it says will increase the number of people who cannot possess firearms.

Another key component of the bill is a requirement that all criminal convictions, mental health adjudications, warrants, indictments and certain court orders to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Money would be appropriated to create a streamlined data reporting portal.

The BFA contends that there are no rules to protect privacy and confidentiality or to prevent the misuse of such records. Nor is there any way to allow people to know what information about them is in the database and potentially have it corrected, the group argues.

"There are many other problems with this bill, including missing definitions, conflict with federal law, and unintended consequences that result in unfair and unconstitutional treatment of innocent gun owners," it concludes.

January 7, 2020
Statehouse News Bureau - Influential Gun Rights Group Opposing Bill To Change Gun, Mental Health Laws

The Buckeye Firearms Association lists several problems with the bill from Reps. Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and DJ Swearingen (R-Huron). Their biggest concern: that it would add substance abuse as a reason a person could be involuntary hospitalized in a psychiatric facility.

...

In its analysis, Buckeye Firearms cited concerns about the bill’s provisions delaying the sealing of juvenile records till 10 years after becoming an adult and creating a portal for law enforcement to report violent felonies to the national background check system.

The analysis also says that the bill would dramatically increase the number of people who can't own firearms, saying it would "prohibit almost everyone who has committed any crime punishable by a year or more." It says the bill prohibit people charged with crimes - not convicted - from owning guns, and that there's no "grace period", so those owners would be "instant felons".

Buckeye Firearms has also published an analysis of the STRONG Ohio bill, reporting several problems wtih [sic] it, including the voluntary background check for private gun sales, a concern about doctor-patient confidentiality for those with substance abuse issues, increased penalties for possessing guns by people who are banned from that, and what it says would be a "lifetime ban" on gun ownership for people who had been involuntarily committed to psychiatric facilities.

Buckeye Firearms didn’t respond to requests for an interview.

January 5, 2020
Norwalk Reflector - Some Columbus churches arm members to protect congregants

Several training programs are available for faith members interested in security; some are sponsored by the state and others by private groups such as the Buckeye Firearms Association.

January 5, 2020
Columbus Dispatch - Safe-storage laws go nowhere in gun-friendly Ohio

Sean Maloney, legislative director for the Buckeye Firearms Association, said law-enforcement officers already have the means to penalize reckless behavior by filing child-endangerment charges against irresponsible gun owners.

“There’s plenty of opportunity to charge parents criminally,” he said.

Maloney disagrees with those who think that making gun storage the law would begin to change behavior, as supporters say happened with seat belts. He said mandates about storage and locks violate the rights of gun owners.

“We need to leave it up to parents to decide how they’re going to protect their families,” Maloney said. “I think more than anything else, we need education. Educate the children away from the home, too.”

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