2021 - BFA in the News

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September 3, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Capitol Insider: Ohio gun rights backers say they're targets of Biden's Russian bullet ban

Gun rights supporters, noting that most Russian firearms already were banned, wonder if there's more than meets the eye here.

"It's unclear why the Biden Administration would choose to ban Russian ammo if the goal was to punish Russia rather than American citizens," said Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association.

"Ammo sales make up only a tiny fraction of Russia's GDP, but account for a sizable portion of the ammo market here in the U.S. One has to wonder, given this administration's animosity toward gun owners, that they are using this dustup as an excuse to deal a blow to American gun owners who are already suffering from ammo shortages."

The headline on Buckeye's Aug. 16 "Keep and Bear" radio podcast asks: "Where’s All the Ammo? Is it Government Hoarding? A Ploy to Drive up Prices? Aliens?"

August 13, 2021
Associated Press - Proposed bill would eliminate required conceal carry license

The concept has the backing of the Buckeye Firearms Association, which says 21 other states allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a license.

“Ohioans have proven themselves to be overwhelmingly law-abiding over the past 17 years since concealed carry became law,” said Dean Rieck, the association’s executive director.

August 10, 2021
WJW (Fox Cleveland) - Proposed bills would allow Ohioans to conceal firearms without license

“All this bill does is allow you to go armed the same way you could openly, except not openly. It’s a law that’s already on the books in more than 20 states. Study after study has shown that it doesn’t produce an increase in crime,” said Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for Buckeye Firearms Association.

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“I don’t think that the law should make you jump through hoops before you can use that firearm to protect yourself or your family. So requiring the training, I think, is contrary to what the Constitution says and frankly, just not necessary,” Sexton said.

July 19, 2021
Yahoo.com - Ohio mother charged after allegedly shooting son, 5, in knees

“You have to first not have started the situation, not have escalated the situation,” Joe Eaton of the Buckeye Firearms Association said. “And secondly, you have to be in immediate fear of death or serious bodily harm and have no other option except for deadly force to survive that situation.” His organization said that it was happy that Governor Mike DeWine enacted the law, which was a campaign promise.

July 4, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - State budget brings good news for the outdoors in Ohio

Ohio’s budget bill setting state spending for the next two fiscal years racked up gains for sportsmen when it cleared the General Assembly last week.

Rob Sexton, a lobbyist and political strategist who advocates for hunting, fishing and gun interests, called the budget’s passage “great news” in a Tuesday morning message to clients.

The bill’s many facets covering state spending include an update of the formula for setting the cost of multiyear hunting and fishing licenses. Established in 2018, multiyear licenses were pegged to the cost of an annual license while offering a modest discount for purchasers of three-year, five-year, 10-year and lifetime licenses.

However, when the cost of an annual license later increased from $19 to $25, the multiyear cost didn’t keep pace. The discount on the multiyear licenses over only a few years increased from about 5% annually to a current 27% in certain instances.

“It got to the point where the Ohio Division of Wildlife was losing considerable money on the sale of multiyear licenses,” Sexton said.

The revision in the cost of multiyear licenses should bring the wildlife division an additional $14 million in needed revenue during a 10-year span, Sexton said. The cost of a multiyear license henceforth will increase, still at a discount, whenever the annual cost of a license goes up.

License costs generally increase modestly at long intervals, typically a decade or so apart.

Also in the budget is $29 million earmarked for the purchase of 18,000 acres of additional land formerly part of the AEP ReCreation Lands, which stretched across parts of Morgan, Noble and Muskingum counties. The land acquisition, melded with an earlier purchase of an expanse under the administration of Gov. Mike DeWine and a smaller purchase under former Gov. John Kasich, will give Ohioans some 60,000 contiguous acres of public access on which to camp, hike, hunt and fish.

The two budget items are results of a lobbying campaign begun in 2017 by a sportsmen’s-led group known as Protect What’s Right (PWR) under the umbrella of the Columbus-based Sportsmen’s Alliance.

One of the PWR goals was to restore the waning influence of sportsmen and sportswomen on public policy.

Among the organizations in the coalition are Ohio State Trappers Association, Buckeye Firearms Association, Ohio Conservation Federation, Ohio Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation, Greene County Fish and Game, Safari Club International chapters of southwest and central Ohio, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Black Swamp Bucks Unlimited and the Columbiana County Federation of Conservation Clubs.

June 25, 2021
Springfield News-Sun - Butler County lawmaker says bill allowing guns on school property needed more after Ohio Supreme Court ruling

Only four people, including Hall and the Buckeye Firearms Association, have testified in support of the bill.

June 24, 2021
The News-Herald - Court: 700-plus training hours to arm a teacher

Only Hall, the Buckeye Firearm Association and two individuals provided supporting testimony at any hearing.

June 24, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - What happens next in Ohio's fight over guns in public schools?

“If it happens, we’ll all know Republican leadership caved to Buckeye Firearms Association instead of putting the well-being of our children first," Rep. Dave Leland, D-Columbus, said. "That would mean sticking this in a 3,000-page budget bill at the 11th hour instead of continuing the legislative process that brought hundreds of concerned citizens to the Statehouse."

June 23, 2021
WDTN (NBC Dayton) - Miami Valley leaders clash over Biden’s gun control proposal

Buckeye Firearms Association says Biden’s proposed gun control plan may be invalid due to the U.S. Constitution.

“They’re talking about banning firearms which are just everyday rifles, that is unconstitutional,” said Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association. “When they’re talking about banning magazines because they have too many rounds, that’s unconstitutional. If they want to just enforce current laws, that’s perfectly constitutional and what they should be doing.”

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The Buckeye Firearms Association claims the president’s plan will harm law-abiding gun owners instead of focusing on criminals and gun violence. Rieck says leaders at the city level must step up first before restrictive gun laws are enacted. However, Whaley believes local leadership isn’t the problem, adding gun violence rates in her city have stayed fairly consistent.

June 23, 2021
WDTN (NBC Dayton) - State Supreme Court: Ohio teachers and school staff must be trained before carrying guns

Following several school shootings across the U.S., 30 states introduced legislation related to arming teachers or other school staff. Of those 30 states, seven passed legislation.

Ohio was not one of them, but Governor Mike DeWine stated in a letter to the chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association that “Ohio law does not prevent a local school board from arming an employee unless that employee’s duties rise to the level that he/she would be considered ‘security personnel.'”

June 23, 2021
WCPN (NPR Cleveland) - Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Widely Used Policy For Arming Teachers

The Buckeye Firearms Foundation, an offshoot of the state’s gun rights group Buckeye Firearms Association, started training teachers to respond to active shooters in 2013, following the Sandy Hook school shooting.

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According to Buckeye Firearms, as of 2018 about 200 districts had sent staff for the three-day training. The court’s decision makes that training insufficient, but the state legislature is working to pass a law to change that.

June 14, 2021
Associated Press - NRA’s gun rights message not slowed by legal, money troubles

While the NRA is easily the best-known gun lobby, Josh Horwitz, the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the real players are the state gun groups.

“The groups that work at the state level are much more powerful than they used to be,” Horwitz said. “Even if the NRA went away tomorrow, and it may, (Senate Republican leader) Mitch McConnell is still going to be checking in with whatever the Kentucky gun rights alliance is, and the Ohio legislature is going to be checking in with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

June 2, 2021
Dayton Daily News - DeWine warns after Springfield shootings: Ohio faces ‘a summer of violence in our cities’

Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, does not support additional laws to deal with criminal use of guns.

“The vast majority of shootings and killings are committed by criminals who are already prohibited from owning firearms and who acquire guns through illegal means,” he said. “New laws will be ignored in the same way current laws are ignored. We are not aware of any proposed legislation that would have made any difference in the Springfield shooting or in any other similar incident.”

May 29, 2021
Toledo Blade - Gun-rights advocates praise legislation

The National Rifle Association and Buckeye Firearms Association were also on hand to support the bill’s passage.

May 28, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Our view: Lawmakers flash 'shiny objects' instead of doing real work

It should come as no surprise that the bills are supported by the Buckeye Firearms Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the National Rifle Association, which is pushing similar legislation around the country.

May 26, 2021
WJW (Fox Columbus) - New gun access legislation introduced in Ohio General Assembly

“We should not wait for a time when anti-gun politicians control this state to ask for protection for our Second Amendment rights,” said Rob Sexton with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

May 26, 2021
Norwalk Reflector - Ohio Republicans move to block emergency restrictions on guns

The National Rifle Association and Buckeye Firearms Association were also on hand to support the bill's passage.

May 25, 2021
Spectrum News Service - Ohio lawmakers introduce bills to protect guns during emergency declarations

The National Rifle Association, which has helped other states introduce similar bills, and the Buckeye Firearms Association pointed to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer deeming gun stores non-essential at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for the urgency of the bills.

May 25, 2021
Statehouse News Bureau - Ohio Bill Banning Gun Seizures And Gun Store Shutdowns During Emergencies Proposed

Rob Sexton is with the Buckeye Firearms Association, which supports the bill, along with the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

‘We have a legislature right now that can get this done, and we should not wait for a time when a time when anti-gun politicians control this state to ask for protections for our Second Amendment rights," Sexton said. "Now is the time to move on it.”

May 25, 2021
Gongwer News Service - Proposal Bans Gun Store Closings During Emergencies

Two lawmakers are looking to codify Gov. Mike DeWine's decision to allow gun stores to remain open during the COVID-19 health emergency.

Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) and Sen. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) announced their legislation Tuesday during a Statehouse news conference. The bills (SB 185; HB 325) are supported by the Buckeye Firearms Association, National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation, they said.

"The bills prevent state or local authorities from restricting legal firearms possession, transportation, carrying, training, concealed handgun license processing, shooting range access and hunting and fishing during a declared emergency," Rep. Wiggam said in a statement

"The last year revealed the startling scope of government power during a declared emergency," Sen. Schaffer said. "It is critical that both local and state authorities understand that this power cannot be used to infringe on people's ability to protect themselves and their families."

BFA Executive Director Dean Rieck said even though Mr. DeWine's orders did not restrict the activities addressed in the bill, other states including Michigan did so.

"This past year provided a clear warning to make sure Ohio laws were crystal clear that an emergency cannot be used as an excuse to seize gun rights," he added.

The two bills declare firearms commerce and the other actions as "life sustaining essential activities," the sponsors said. Both local and state government authorities are prohibited from infringing upon these rights under the guise of a declared emergency either on a local or state level, and the legislation provides legal recourse "for people who experience unjust infringements on these essential rights.

May 24, 2021
Gongwer News Service - Gun Safety Caucus Laments Lack Of Action On Democrats' Bills

"The problem is these pieces of legislation don't go anywhere in the House chamber," she said.

And gun rights advocates expect that to continue. After House Democrats last month held a virtual press conference to promote their gun legislation, the Buckeye Firearms Association said it expected those proposal to be met with the same fate as previous Democratic legislative efforts on gun issues.

"Democrats are again pushing a wide array of gun control bills that would infringe on the rights of Ohio's four million gun owners without affecting those who are actually committing violent crime," Executive Director Dean Rieck said. "None of these bills passed in the last legislative session and we expect the same this session."

May 19, 2021
WCMH (NBC Columbus) - Controversial gun rights legislation debated at Ohio statehouse

“I think both of them just allow law-abiding people to exercise their rights and provide clarity for law enforcement,” said Rob Sexton, director of legislative affairs for Buckeye Firearms. “I think would be welcome by the rank and file.”

May 6, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Northwest Georgia, doesn't your congresswoman have a statue to save?

The Ohio Gun Owners group said it postponed the rally due to concerns about counter-protesters. Ohioans should be more concerned about a gun group that purports to represent the Second Amendment interests of Ohioans but pretty much is one guy from Iowa whose money-grabbing tactics have drawn criticism from Republicans across the U.S. and, here in Ohio, from the Buckeye Firearms Association.

More from The Trace:The Brothers Behind an Extreme Gun-Rights Network That Republicans Call a Big Scam

April 24, 2021
WKYC (NBC Cleveland) - Pushing for gun reform in Northeast Ohio: The 2 avenues activists on opposite sides of the aisle are pursuing

"In my mind, what needs to be reformed is the government needs to enforce the laws they have on the books," Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for the Buckeye Firearms Association, countered. "Why would we want to pass more laws if we're not fully enforcing existing laws?"

Sexton believes the rise in gun violence today is all the more reason to fight for the Second Amendment.

"The last thing we need to be doing is stripping firearms away from legitimate gun owners," he said.

According to Sexton, gun rights activists are happy to have a conversation about what needs to change, but believes change doesn't start with legislation; it starts with catching those who are looking to do harm.

"If we did more of that, we might find out that we don't need additional laws that infringe on the law abiding," he said. "We just need to crack down on those who break that law."

April 22, 2021
WLWT (NBC Cincinnati) - Ohio's new 'stand your ground' law: Everything you need to know

"We were quite happy that the governor followed through on his campaign promises to enact, to remove the duty-to-retreat requirement in the self-defense law in Ohio," said Joe Eaton with Buckeye Firearms Association. "You have to realize that the removal of duty-to-retreat really changes nothing else with the self-defense laws in Ohio."

Eaton insists the state's new stand your ground law does not mean someone can shoot first and ask questions later.

"You have to first not have started the situation, not have escalated the situation," he said. "And secondly, you have to be in immediate fear of death or serious bodily harm and have no other option except for deadly force to survive that situation."

April 22, 2021
Spectrum News - Ohio legislators debate training requirements for armed school staff with HB 99

Proponents of the bill who’ve worked with districts, like Joseph Eaton of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said he's not so keen on the idea.

“I have seen the majority of schools do this in public session,” he said. “Adopt the resolution, a resolution to allow the arming of staff, then to go into executive session, to have all of the details the who's, the what's, the why’s, how many as part of their safety and security plan and that works well for the majority of the schools.”

April 20, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Ohio Republican will reintroduce part of Gov. Mike DeWine's gun bill

STRONG Ohio had three committee hearings when it was introduced, but then it sat untouched for an entire year.

Democrats say that's because gun rights groups like the Buckeye Firearm Association wield too much power at the Statehouse.

April 19, 2021
WCPO (ABC Cincinnati) - Ohio representatives considering bill that would circumvent federal gun laws

Those against legislation that would limit gun ownership freedoms are watching the bill carefully, in the hopes that it could be a way to push back against what they see as federal impositions on their freedoms.

"There's an awful lot of gun control legislation being introduced and I think gun owners are feeling overwhelmed and are trying to find a way to push back against all of this," said Dean Rieck, with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

April 19, 2021
WBKN (CBS Youngstown) - Bill could make Ohio a Second Amendment Sanctuary State

Rob Sexton, with the Buckeye Firearms Association, said the bill is a step to prevent a federal threat to gun ownership.

“Ohio is not going to participate in going down the road of taking away the gun rights of law-abiding people. I think they’re searching for solutions for how to best protect our rights as guaranteed by the constitution and this is their first attempt to provide that protection.”

April 19, 2021
WVXU (NPR Cincinnati) - Analysis: With Whaley Running For Governor, Will Friendship Fly Out The Window?

The result was the governor and the mayor announcing a "Strong Ohio" package of gun control measures for the Ohio General Assembly to consider.

But the legislature, which has long danced to the tune of the National Rifle Association and the Buckeye Firearms Association, did nothing with the package. In fact, they passed – and DeWine signed – a "Stand Your Ground" bill which eliminated the duty to retreat in the face of possible gunfire.

April 19, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Ohio teachers can have guns in the classroom. How much training do they need?

"Schools should have that choice to decide on their own how to best prepare for the safety and security of their staff," said Joseph Eaton from the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Eaton's group sells training courses for school personnel called FASTER. And that's what Madison Local Schools chose to use for their staff.

April 18, 2021
TheTruthAboutGuns.com - Focusing Gun Owners’ Political Strength – All PACs Are Local

Suppose, instead, that the NRA never gave a dime to any candidate. Suppose it never published a letter grade for a single politician.

What if, instead, it merely accepted the invitation to take a seat at the table in Washington. Suppose it evaluated the Congress-critters’ responsiveness to the support of gun rights and quietly fed its observations back to its 50 state affiliates.

The state affiliates might then have contributed to local candidates in their own states and in neighboring states where their members hunted and competed. The state affiliates might have sent their own letter-grades to their members. Would the Buckeye Firearms Association (or any of it’s 49 sister organizations) have taken a fraction of the Alinskyite fire suffered by NRA?

April 16, 2021
WKEF (ABC Dayton) - Oregon District shooting victim begs state and federal leaders to change gun laws

Joe Eaton Regional Director with The Buckeye Firearms Association said he can’t comment on why gun crimes keep occurring but adds his association's goal is to ensure potential victims have the right to carry and are educated when doing so. Eaton said there are certain types of bills they will oppose

“The restrictions that are not going to have any impact on crime but will endanger people out there by making it more difficult for them to obtain and use firearms,” said Eaton.

April 16, 2021
Ohio Capital Journal - Lawmakers all in for guns

Rob Sexton, legislative director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said the bill reflects a General Assembly trying to get out in front of what they see as a looming barrage of gun control bills coming from Biden and a Democratically controlled federal government.

However, he offered lukewarm support of the bill and said courts would likely need to work out its contours.

“BFA supports what they’re trying to do,” he said. “We’re not sure exactly what the best way is to achieve this, that provides real protection for gun owners form federal overreach. But we’re definitely supportive of what it is they’re trying to accomplish.”

April 15, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Ohio gun advocates upset at Biden's proposed gun control measures

The Buckeye Firearms Association's lobbyist, Rob Sexton, said that most gun owners do not purchase ghost gun kits, and the rare minority who do build firearms from scratch pursue the practice as a hobby.

"They're recreational shooters, and it's a very expensive hobby and pastime for people," he said. "You just can’t show me evidence that has some connection with crime wave over the last year when it comes to homicides."

He predicted that their restriction won't make Americans safer.

"It's just stripping the rights of the law-abiding citizen," Sexton said.

Both Sexton and Delbert are also worried that a potential ban on stabilizing braces would turn 15 to 20 million legal owners of the device into criminals. The executive order targets these braces, which are added onto AR-15 style pistols similar to the one used by the man who shot and killed 15 people in a Boulder, Colorado, grocery store last month.

April 15, 2021
Statehouse News Bureau - Ohio House Bill Sets Minimum Required Training For Teachers To Carry Guns In Schools

Joseph Eaton, with the Buckeye Firearms Association, is a supporter of the legislation. He says teachers with concealed carry licenses can legally carry their firearm to other places and they should have that right extended into the schools.

"When they're out in public with their children, with their family, and with their friends. But if a school wishes them to have that same option for personal protection and the protection of other ones while they're in the schools the other eight or ten or more hours that our school staff give every single day, then suddenly that should require months of additional training that are not required for the rest of us that are not simply school staff," said Eaton during a committee hearing.

The Buckeye Firearms Association's nonprofit or 501(c)3, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, operates a program that schools have used for additional training.

April 15, 2021
WOIO (CBS Cleveland) - Cleveland man denied concealed carry permit renewal after deputies watched a music video he appeared in 3 years ago

Buckeye Firearms Association[sic] Board President Jim Irvine says, “Yes. the sheriff is entitled to use discretion to deny a license, but he must explain why he denied the license.”

Gist says he never got an explanation on the day he was denied, and he never received one in writing-- which is required by state law.

Irvine says law enforcement can legally look at your social media during a background check.

But, there are only a few reasons law enforcement could deny someone a CCW. Drug and alcohol addiction is one of them, but addiction can be extremely hard to prove, especially through a video.

“Is that really tequila in the bottle or is it water in the bottle? I don’t know. I can’t tell from a video,” Irvine said. “There would have to be an investigation and bottom line, you’re not going to be able to tell what was on a table in a video three years ago. So, if you can’t say this is a prohibited activity, why the denial? There’s got to be something else there for the sheriff to deny it.”

Irvine says in this case, Gist could probably force Portage county to issue him a license, if he took the case to court.

However, Gist took A quicker route, getting the renewal in Ashland County instead, after deputies tell us they encouraged him to go elsewhere.

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“You have 88 counties in Ohio and 88 sheriffs and they all do different things,” Irvine said.

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Irvine isn’t so sure the denial in Portage County was race motivated.

“I doubt its discrimination, I know that’s the popular thing to think,” he said.

The sheriff’s department says it was not discriminating against Gist.

Irvine says it’d be hard to prove it was.

But, in the end, does it really matter?

Either way, both experts believe Gist’s gun rights may have been violated in Portage County.

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“There’s all kinds of pieces here that don’t add up and don’t make sense,” Irvine said. “I would love to know what the whole story is.”

According to data from the state, the Portage County Sheriff’s office has only denied two CCW permits in the last two years.

April 9, 2021
WEWS (ABC Cleveland) - In-Depth: Local reaction to President Biden's gun order is mixed

Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dean Rieck told News 5 that President Biden's executive order will not have any impact in curtailing crime. Rieck said more restrictions on gun equipment won't reduce gun violence, only tougher laws against the perpetrators of these crimes will make a difference.

“Assault weapons bans, red flag laws and magazine limits and all that, they just don’t have an effect,” Rieck said. “Why pass laws when we know that they’re not going to work, this is just pure politics.”

April 7, 2021
WTOL (CBS Toledo) - Ohio's 'stand your ground' law is in effect - What does it mean for law enforcement and communities of color?

Officials with the Buckeye Firearms Association pushed for the law change.

“I'm not making the argument that it makes people safer or that it's going to reduce crime. To me, it's about the right to self-defense. If there is any right that each of us have, it's to defend our own lives,” said Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

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“Lethal force is justified if you have an honest and reasonable fear that you are in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm,” said Reick.

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“If you are in a situation where you honestly believe that your life is about to end, there shouldn't be any additional legal requirements for you to consider at that time. That's really giving the attacker more rights than you have,” said Reick.

April 6, 2021
Akron Beacon Journal - Ohio's Black leaders sound alarms over new stand your ground law effective today

“The passage of the law that removes the duty to retreat simply shifts the burden off of the victim of crime and at least gives the person a fighting chance,” said Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director for Buckeye Firearms Association, which lobbied for the passage of the bill.

Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association, emphasized that S.B. 175 does not impact the standard for using lethal force in self defense situations.

“It does not give anybody any extra rights. It does not change in any way when you can or can’t use lethal force. … You have to have an honest and reasonable fear of death and great bodily harm before you can use lethal force such as a firearm,” Rieck said.

Rieck said that Ohio’s duty to retreat imposed an “an artificial extra burden” on people who attempted to defend themselves in violent situations.

“They would later have to prove in court that they essentially couldn’t run away or couldn’t escape and that’s just something that is sometimes very difficult to prove in a court. So we’ve been trying to remove the duty to retreat,” he said.

Rieck said that fears that the stand your ground law will lead to more violence or that its application will be plagued with racial disparities are unfounded. Both Rieck and Sexton suggested that the measure could reduce crime and bring justice to victims of gun violence regardless of race.

“The prediction that this is going to cause a lot of mayhem really is not going to come to pass. … The duty to retreat has been removed from lots of other states. It’s never been a problem. … We don’t expect it to be a problem here either,” he said.

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Gov. Mike DeWine’s signing of the bill drew widespread criticisms from civil rights groups and even the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio.

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While many point out the disconnect between DeWine’s remarks when he stood with victims of the Dayton mass shooting and his signing of S.B. 175, Sexton noted that DeWine “had made many verbal and written commitments" to Buckeye Firearms that he would pass the bill before his remarks in Dayton.

“For those that are saying he changed his position, his original position (was to) sign the bill,” Sexton said.

April 5, 2021
WLWT (NBC Cincinnati) - Ohio set to become latest state with 'Stand Your Ground' gun law

"We were quite happy that the governor followed through on his campaign promises to enact, to remove the duty-to-retreat requirement in the self-defense law in Ohio," said Joe Eaton with Buckeye Firearms Association.

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"You have to realize that the removal of duty-to-retreat really changes nothing else with the self-defense laws in Ohio," Eaton said.

Eaton insists the state's new stand your ground law does not mean someone can shoot first and ask questions later.

"You have to first not have started the situation, not have escalated the situation," he said. "And secondly, you have to be in immediate fear of death or serious bodily harm and have no other option except for deadly force to survive that situation."

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"Of course, retreating, if at all possible is still the safest and best and most recommended method because if you can avoid any type of situation that could endanger yourself or someone else, that always has to be the first priority," Eaton said.

April 1, 2021
Cincinnati Enquirer - Gun group: Cincinnati 'thumbed its nose' at citizens with 'illegal' gun law

"Cincinnati thumbed its nose at Ohio citizens and enacted a law to regulate gun components, which state law expressly forbids them from doing,” Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association, said in a statement. “They knew the ordinance was illegal and decided to spend taxpayer dollars to do it anyway. Now the Supreme Court has spoken and Cincinnati voters should ask council members why they wasted so much time and money on this foolish and illegal pursuit."

March 31, 2021
WEWS (ABC Cleveland) - Ohio House GOP Introduces Bill to Expand Concealed Carry Laws

Dean Rieck, Executive Director with the Buckeye Firearms Association agrees H.B. 99 is needed to shield districts against on-going legal action that's made it to the Ohio Supreme Court, involving the Madison School District, that could create a requirement for school districts to have armed security personnel with OPATA training.

"That’s over 700 hours of training, that’s absurd. Basically, the effect it would have is that it would prevent anyone from being armed in a school, other than a police officer."

March 29, 2021
Spectrum News - Ohio House GOP Introduces Bill to Expand Concealed Carry Laws

Last week, House Bill 227 was introduced, which if passed would change the name of a concealed handgun license to concealed weapons license, allow a licensee to carry concealed all deadly weapons that would otherwise be legal to possess, remove the requirement of a licensed gun owner to "promptly" notify police of a gun in their car and allow anyone 21 and older to carry a concealed deadly weapon without a license.

"We have to get that law passed," said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

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The Ohio Attorney General's Office said more than 241,000 concealed carry licenses were issued or renewed last year. Currently, Ohioans may carry a concealed handgun with a license but may openly carry a gun without a permit.

"That really doesn't make a lot of sense," Rieck said.​

Rieck said the licensing process is also flawed.

"There are fees associated with it,” said Rieck. “There's training which requires additional money. Gun owners in Ohio have proven themselves over many years to be trustworthy and it's time for Ohio to have constitutional carry.”

...[G]gun rights supporters like Rieck believe constitutional carry would be a safety measure.

March 29, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Ohio counties pursue 'sanctuary laws' expressing support for Second Amendment

Attorney Sean Maloney, who represents the Buckeye Firearms Association, says the resolutions are largely symbolic.

"I've never been a big fan of them," Maloney said. "I just think that they don't carry a lot of weight, and they give gun owners a false sense of security."

March 26, 2021
Ohio Capital Journal - After a week of gun violence, House Republicans seek to expand concealed carry

“This is the session in which we need to pass a constitutional carry bill,” said Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director of Buckeye Firearms Association, discussing the bill and redistricting in a podcast last month.

“This is the time to get it done.”

March 26, 2021
WCMH (NBC Columbus) - Ohio lawmakers loosen gun laws amidst outcry for gun reform

This year lawmakers are introducing other gun measures like House Bill 227. The bill would allow many Ohioans to carry a concealed weapon without a license.

“That piece of legislation finally gives gun owners across Ohio the right the constitution already says they got,” said Rob Sexton, Buckeye Firearms Association.

...Buckeye Firearms Association believes this is the way Ohio should be going and hopes that if Washington acts on gun reform, the Ohio legislature fights back.

“We’ve certainly been happy that Ohio hasn’t succumbed to political pressure to enact restrictions on gun owners that have no connection whatsoever with the tragedies that have occurred,” said Sexton.

March 26, 2021
WVXU (NPR Cincinnati) - Analysis: What Is Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley Up To?

But the legislature, which has long danced to the tune of the National Rifle Association and the Buckeye Firearms Association, did nothing with the package. In fact, it passed a "Stand Your Ground" bill which eliminated the duty to retreat in the face of possible gunfire.

March 25, 2021
WKRC (CBS Cincinnati) - Gun control advocates call new Ohio concealed carry bill 'tone deaf'

“License-optional carry will not make law enforcement more difficult or more dangerous. The license doesn't separate good guys from bad guys. People are either law-abiding or they're not. It's a matter of personal character, not licensing,” said Buckeye Firerarms Association's Rob Sexton in 2020.

...

The Buckeye Firearms Association points out that 15 other states are already constitutional carry and they say it's about time Ohio become the 16th.

“This really is a good old-fashioned, fact-based debate,” said Sexton. “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."

March 23, 2021
WEWS (ABC Cleveland) - In-Depth: What will 2021 hold for Ohio gun laws?

Dean Rieck, Executive Director with the Buckeye Firearms Association believes once again restoring "duty to retreat" will not have an impact in reducing gun violence and will put lawful gun owners unfairly in harm's way.

“The truth is the requirement for when you can use lethal force has not changed," Rieck said. "This does not give anybody a get-out-of-jail-free card, you still have to have an honest belief that your life is in danger.”

“It unfairly puts a legal burden on you at a moment when you’re trying to defend your life.”

“It gives the criminal, the person attacking you, more rights than you have at that moment.”

“We should be looking at what works and what doesn’t, and assault weapons bans, red flag laws, and magazine limits and all of that, they just don’t have an effect.”

March 23, 2021
WJW (Fox Cleveland) - Local groups respond to calls for gun control after Colorado shooting

“These kind of high-profile cases are terrible but, you know, mass killings with rifles are actually one of the smallest category of murder… The vast majority of murders in the United States happens with handguns,” said Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association.

He said he believes a federal assault weapon ban would be ineffective.

“When we’re using the term ‘assault weapon,’ that’s a term that’s only used by gun control enthusiasts… These guns are just ordinary rifles basically. They’re no more powerful than a hunting rifle, often less powerful than hunting rifles,” Rieck said.

...

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing that was scheduled before Monday’s tragedy to discuss two bills passed by the House, enhancing background checks. Here in Ohio, many on both sides believe trying to ban assault weapons would be even tougher.

“This is the kind of bill that could lose you an election. So I’m doubting they’re gonna have enough support to pass this in the Senate,” Rieck said.

March 22, 2021
Dayton Daily News - Guns, school funding, gay rights: The topics lawmakers keep debating year after year

“It remains the single top priority for the Buckeye Firearms Association. I can tell you there will be a ‘constitutional’ carry bill this year,” association lobbyist Rob Sexton said.

March 20, 2021
Highland County Press - Armed teacher proponents push continuing education over police training

A member of the pro-gun lobby Buckeye Firearms Association, which runs a training program tailored to teachers, testified in support of the bill saying clarification of the law was made necessary because of the court fight.

“The recent court of appeals decision has injected a level of absurdity into many school’s safety plans and really demands that this legislature clarify what the intent of this law is,” Joseph Eaton told the committee.

March 18, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Columbus to hold virtual public hearing on proposed gun safety and accessory measures

Dean Rieck, executive director of the gun-advocacy group the Buckeye Firearms Association, accused the two Columbus council members of wasting the public's time, saying the city knows it doesn't have the power in Ohio to regulate firearms, accessories, or ammunition, and that straw sales are already a federal crime.

"It's a game that they play," Rieck said, adding that it will be done "at taxpayers' expense, because they have essentially unlimited funds with their attorneys."

Not having a certain capacity of magazine isn't "going to stop somebody who's wanting to go out and shoot somebody," Rieck said. "That's not a rational response. That's not going to stop those kinds of crimes."

Unlike Rieck, neither city official pushing for the new gun measures made themselves available Thursday afternoon to discuss their proposals, or to respond to his allegations.

March 10, 2021
Ohio Capital Journal - Bill removing duty to tell cops about concealed weapons advances

In a Buckeye Firearms Association newsletter Tuesday morning, Dean Rieck, the group’s executive director, said the legislation gives “full control” to an officer if he or she wants to know if there’s a gun in the car.

“Current law requires gun owners to ‘promptly’ inform an officer,” he said. “But no one can define what ‘promptly’ means. This creates unnecessary confusion and tension between citizens and officers, and can result in criminal penalty and a fine.”

...

Supporters of the bill noted that Ohio is one of few states with a duty to notify (a state-by-state count varies by source, but BFA testified that 41 states only require notification from CCWs when asked).

March 3, 2021
Gongwer News Service - Proposed Changes To Gun Notification Law Touted

Sean Maloney of the Buckeye Firearms Association told members of the House State & Local Government TrackCommittee that the wording of the law creates problems.

"What is prompt to one person is not prompt to another," he said, adding that interpretation is up to the law enforcement officer.

"Maybe 10 minutes earlier the officer had to wrestle a person with a felony warrant, stopped in a similar traffic stop, to the ground. Think maybe his mood and interpretation of promptly may be a little narrower?" he asked.

Other states, according to Mr. Maloney, require individuals to divulge their CHL status only when asked.

Mr. Maloney said he has represented clients charged with failure to promptly notify, including one involved in a traffic crash who advised three of four officers on scene.

"The duty should be placed on the law enforcement officer who is trained and may perform a dozen or more stops daily," he said. "They should inquire if there is a CHL or any dangerous weapons in the motor vehicle for their own safety, and not rely on the admission of the operator or passenger in the motor vehicle who as noted above is not in the best position to notify, 'promptly' or otherwise."

Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) questioned the elimination of the penalty in the bill, leading Mr. Maloney to state that if an officer asks a person if they are carrying a firearm and he or she lies, it could lead to an obstruction of justice charge.

Rep. Kelly then asked Mr. Maloney about the opinion of law enforcement officers on the matter.

He said most police officers already ask those they pull over whether they are in possession of a firearm.

In response to a question from chairman Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) about the cost to defend such cases, Mr. Maloney said it is typically at least $1,500.

Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director at the BFA, said current law "entraps well meaning, law-abiding gun owners."

The bill, he said, would serve both gun owners and law enforcement, some of which has opposed previous iterations of the bill. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, February 26, 2020)

"It puts control of the conversation into the hands of the officer as is the case with most interactions between people and law enforcement, during traffic stops. This approach overwhelmingly makes the most sense. Being stopped by the police for speeding is a somewhat traumatic and rare experience," he said.

"Being in a fender bender or a more serious accident is even more so. For people involved in one of these incidents, there may be many things going on that would contribute to their failure to 'promptly notify' an officer on the scene, none of those being any criminal intent."

February 27, 2021
Cleveland Plain Dealer - New Ohio conceal-carry gun permits jumped 78% during chaotic 2020

Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said the reason so many Ohioans sought conceal-carry permits last year was because a number of things happened in 2020 that made people uneasy.

The coronavirus crisis, which started last spring, “freaked out a lot of people” and made them think more about their security, Rieck said. On top of that, he said, many gun owners got “riled up” by “riots,” including arson, vandalism and looting, that took place over last summer.

The 2020 presidential race, in which Democrat Joe Biden unseated Republican Donald Trump, also played a role, Rieck said.

“Every time there’s an election year where a Democrat might get elected, there’s always going to be a rise in gun sales, and therefore there’s going to be a corresponding rise in concealed-handgun licenses,” he said.

Rieck said he wasn’t surprised that the number of renewed licenses fell last year, as the pandemic led many Ohio sheriffs to cancel license appointments and limit hours of operation.

“In some extreme cases, people were saying they couldn’t get in (to renew their license) for nine months, 10 months, (or) a year,” Rieck said.

February 27, 2021
Journal-News - Suicide in Butler County: How bad is it, and what are officials doing about it?

The Butler County Suicide Prevention Coalition plans to create pamphlets that can be distributed at firearm stores with advice about suicidal behaviors. Such pamphlets used elsewhere in Ohio can help curb gun access to those who may be considering killing themselves.

Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said he not only approves of such efforts, he’s helped create them in other parts of the state.

...

Rieck said he worked on such materials with Franklin County LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) “that provide some information on suicide in what I would call a gun-friendly manner, because a lot of the suicide stuff is associated with folks who want to pass anti-gun legislation and things like that.”

“The thought was, ‘Let’s do it in a way that the people who need to get the message are not going to be turned off by it,” he said.

“The message is kind of like, ‘Do you have your buddy’s back? It’s meant to tell people if a friend or family member is going through a rough time, you have to talk to them. It encourages them to voluntarily put their guns in a different location.”

Someone might offer to keep a neighbor’s guns for a few weeks when that neighbor was going through a rough period, he said: “That way, it prevents them from having immediate access.”

February 24, 2021
WKRC (CBS Cincinnati) - Ohio state senator introduces bill to raise gun purchase age to 21

But Rob Sexton with the Buckeye Firearms Association says it's not that simple.

“There’s just no justification for restricting firearms access to consenting adults. You know, the Second Amendment doesn't start when you're 21," said Sexton, legislative affairs director for the Buckeye Firearms Association.

While Sexton says Thomas is right about buying alcohol and tobacco, he says neither of those are protected by the constitution.

"Neither of those items rise to the importance of the fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” said Sexton.

...

“I’m not surprised he's the author of this bill because this is something he feels strongly about. Fortunately, we've got a legislature that hasn't been willing to go down that path,” said Sexton.

February 22, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Gun sales in Ohio surged in 2020, mirroring rising U.S. demand

Rob Sexton, legislative director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said all kinds of people are becoming gun owners this year.

“There are a lot of first-time gun purchasers over the last year, a whole lot of them, and they spread across all demographics — record pace of women buying guns for the first time, record pace of minorities buying guns,” Sexton said.

Sexton said there is also increased interest in gun classes and firearm training in addition to sales and licenses — all of which results from people feeling less safe in 2020.

...

Sexton said that COVID-19 restrictions in the spring of 2020 also led to some hold-up in enrollment in classes and license obtainment.

“The combination of the two — less availability by the sheriffs and more first time CHL applicants — caused there to be a big backlog,” Sexton said.

January 29, 2021
Cincinnati Enquirer - As Biden enters White House, Ohio GOP lawmaker pushes 'Second Amendment sanctuary state'

A Second Amendment sanctuary is only as effective as the law enforcement and local prosecutors who enforce it, Buckeye Firearms Association's Chad Baus wrote in a [January 27, 2020] post.

"While it's always encouraging to hear people talking about limiting governmental overreach, it is important to remember that these declarations are largely symbolic – political statements which have no force of law," Baus wrote. The Second Amendment and the Ohio Constitution already protect Ohioans' rights to bear arms.

January 17, 2021
WCPO (ABC Cincinnati) - 'Why not a parking lot? Why not a shopping mall?' Ohio's new gun law expands use of deadly force

Rob Sexton of the Buckeye Firearms Association said the new law strengthens gun owners’ rights and creates more clarity in tense situations.

“Your first thought will not have to be, you know, whether to run, whether to hide, whether to duck,” he said. “It'll be, ‘What's the best thing I can do to defend myself or a loved one?’”

From his perspective, he said, there’s no reason the self-defense principles that apply in the home shouldn’t apply elsewhere.

“Why not a parking lot?” he said. “Why not a shopping mall? Why not an ATM machine? Like, why are we saying I’ve got the right to defend myself in some places but not in other places?”

People who use deadly force with the stand-your-ground law in mind will still be required to prove in court that their lives were in danger at the time.

January 12, 2021
WOSU (NPR Columbus) - Firearms Instructor Questions Wisdom Of Ohio's New 'Stand Your Ground' Law

According to Buckeye Firearms Association executive director Dean Rieck – whose organization has lobbied for years to pass the bill – firearms instructors like Cooper can go on teaching classes without any changes because of the new law.

“My take is that the ‘duty to retreat’ as it was in our law really was more of a confusing issue than anything else,” Rieck said.

The new law won’t change anything for police investigating a shooting or prosecutors considering whether to bring charges, he said.

“All the elements are going to remain the same – you can't instigate a situation,” Rieck said. “You can't be the one escalating a situation. You've got to basically be the good guy.”

January 10, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Gun rights group proclaims victory

The Buckeye Firearms Association last week not only took credit for pushing through a new Stand Your Ground gun law in Ohio, but also for killing numerous measures proposing gun restrictions — several of which were introduced in wake of the August 2019 mass shooting in Dayton.

"Every gun control bill introduced in the last legislative session died at midnight, Dec. 31. We strongly opposed them all. And we now claim victory for their defeat," the organization said.

January 8, 2021
WVXU (NPR Cincinnati) - Analysis: Will Nan Whaley Run For Governor Of Ohio? She Certainly Has The Motivation

But the Republican-dominated Ohio legislature, which has long danced to the tune of the National Rifle Association and the Buckeye Firearms Association, did nothing with the Strong Ohio package.

In fact, last month, the legislature passed a "Stand Your Ground" bill that was anathema to Whaley and her fellow big city mayors in Ohio because it eliminated the duty to retreat in the face of possible gunfire.

January 5, 2021
WLW (700 AM) - "The Scott Sloan Show"

Buckeye Firearms Association Director Joe Eaton appeared on WLW with guest-host Dan Carroll. Click here to listen to the podcast. Joe's segment begins at 36:26.

January 5, 2021
WBNS (CBS Columbus) - Groups react to Gov. DeWine signing 'stand your ground' legislation

“This law change is needed, people need the right to defend themselves”, said Rob Sexton, of the Buckeye Firearms Association, who supports the new legislation.

...

Sexton strongly believes that [predictions of increased violence] won’t be the case. He said this new legislation will make self-defense law stronger.

“This is badly needed, we need to remove the burden from victims of crime and shift it onto…responsibility on those who commit it,” said Sexton.

January 5, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Dayton mayor unhappy as Gov. Mike DeWine signs 'stand your ground' legislation into law

The NRA was happy.

...

So was the Buckeye Firearms Association, noting Ohio joins about two dozen other states with comparable laws.

"We're very pleased the governor kept his promise to sign the repeal of Ohio's duty to retreat law that forces victims of violent crime to retreat before they're legally able to defend themselves," executive director Dean Rieck said in a statement. "Our organization worked relentlessly down the stretch to see this bill become law."

January 5, 2021
Cincinnati Enquirer - Why Gov. Mike DeWine signed Ohio's 'stand your ground' gun bill after hinting he would veto

The National Rifle Association and Buckeye Firearms Association praised him.

"Ultimately, he made a decision to keep his promise and we’re very happy about that," Buckeye Firearms Association lobbyist Rob Sexton told The Enquirer.

January 5, 2021
WLWT (NBC Cincinnati) - Son of man killed in Dayton mass shooting upset over new 'stand your ground' law

The Buckeye Firearms Association is praising the move.

"We're very pleased the Governor kept his promise to sign the repeal of Ohio's duty to retreat law that forces victims of violent crime to retreat before they're legally able to defend themselves," said Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director, Dean Rieck. "Our organization worked relentlessly down the stretch to see this bill become law."

January 4, 2021
WKEF (ABC Dayton) - The 'Strong Ohio' bill failed, what's next?

Joe Eaton with Buckeye Firearms Association opposed “Strong Ohio” saying it could criminalize law-abiding citizens. He also said he had concerns that the mental health records portion could violate doctor-patient privilege.

“We have known for a long time since it was introduced there was nothing in there that would get a lot of support because again, “do something” only makes sense if the “something” actually makes a positive difference in the state of Ohio,” said Eaton.

January 4, 2021
WKRC (CBS Cincinnati) - Ohio's new Stand Your Ground law takes away duty to retreat in life-threatening situations

The Buckeye Firearms Association said it's intended to protect people only if they feel like they're in serious danger.

"This law does not affect anyone until they are already the victim of a violent crime, and I don't understand why any politician or anyone else would be opposed to removing horrendous restrictions on crime victims. We should support crime victims, and we should punish the criminals," said Joe Eaton with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

...

"If I am the victim of a violent crime, or someone that I love dearly is the victim of a violent crime, I should have the ability to use any means at my disposal to save them and stop the violence," said Eaton.

January 4, 2021
Cleveland.com - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs ‘stand your ground’ bill

Proponents of the measure say it gives law-abiding citizens the right to protect themselves. The Buckeye Firearms Association said in a release that DeWine promised them and other gun-rights groups multiple times that he would sign such a bill.

“While this bill changes one technicality in Ohio law, it does not change the near universal and well-established standard for use of lethal force, nor does it give criminals a free pass to commit violent crime,” Buckeye Firearms said in a statement.

January 4, 2021
Associated Press - Ohio governor signs gun bill eliminating duty to retreat

The Buckeye Firearms Association praised the move, saying DeWine kept multiple promises, both publicly and privately with the association, to sign the bill.

“We’re very pleased the Governor kept his promise to sign the repeal of Ohio’s duty to retreat law that forces victims of violent crime to retreat before they’re legally able to defend themselves,” said Dan[sic] Rieck, the group’s executive director.

January 4, 2021
Columbus Dispatch - Gun rights groups happy as Gov. Mike DeWine signs 'stand your ground' legislation into law

The Buckeye Firearms Association praised the governor’s decision Monday, saying Ohio is joining about two dozen other states with comparable laws.

"We're very pleased the governor kept his promise to sign the repeal of Ohio's duty to retreat law that forces victims of violent crime to retreat before they're legally able to defend themselves," Executive Director Dean Rieck said in a statement. "Our organization worked relentlessly down the stretch to see this bill become law."

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