2020 - BFA in the News

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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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