2023 - BFA in the News
Note: Some websites change or deactivate stories after we link them here.
Dec. 1, 2023
News 5 in Cleveland
An Ohio court has shot down Columbus' efforts to save lives, siding with gun rights advocates to rule that the city can't require firearm owners to lock their guns up to prevent children from accessing them.
Ohio’s Fifth District Court of Appeals dismissed the city's request to overturn a Delaware County judge's decision, which granted conservative think-tank The Buckeye Institute a preliminary injunction against the municipality's ordinance.
Buckeye Firearm[s] Association's Rob Sexton believes the court made the right call. Columbus and Cincinnati bans, ones that Cleveland also wants, are unconstitutional, the lobbyist said.
"You're setting up a situation in which someone who wants to be law-abiding is constantly tripping over the various laws and regulations," he said.
The reason why it is in court, despite Ohio being a "home rule" state, is because the Revised Code has a preemption law that prevents municipalities from creating their own gun regulations.
Patchwork laws are difficult for Ohioans, Sexton said.
"Well, if you think about a person who leaves their house in Brook Park and has to drive all the way into downtown Cleveland, they're gonna go through several jurisdictions," he said. "Do we really expect every single person to know the firearm law from seven or eight different political subdivisions, the townships, the villages and the cities?"
He fears people could be arrested if their home city allows them to have their gun in their glove box, but the town they are entering requires them to lock a gun in the trunk.
Sexton says he can only speak for guns, and there is a reason why firearm laws are different.
"Regardless of what city politicians want, they still have to exist underneath the framework of the constitution," Sexton said.
Nov. 15, 2023
A recent story from Local 12 has prompted a Cincinnati city councilmember to investigate whether or not to introduce legislation that would require gun owners to lock up their guns if left unattended in their cars.
Cincinnati police told a council committee on Tuesday that 70% of stolen guns in the city come from unattended cars. Local 12 asked the chairman of the committee, Scotty Johnson (D), about it.
"What would happen if we had over 2,000 cities and townships passing their own laws,” Dean Rieck with the Buckeye Firearms Association asked. “It would be utter chaos." Rieck said the ordinance would be challenged in court under Ohio's Pre-emption Law, that doesn't allow cities to pass their own gun laws. He said it would also violate the 2nd amendment.
"The right to bear arms doesn't really apply when you're not 'bearing' arms,” Local 12 said to Rieck, referring to the fact that people wouldn't be holding their firearms if they were left in their cars.
"Having your firearm with you, transporting it, I would say that's equivalent to bearing arms,” Rieck responded. “We can certainly have that debate, but Buckeye Firearms Association simply doesn't believe that cities should be passing laws that're going to infringe on constitutional rights."
Oct. 24, 2023
The Columbus Dispatch - Experts: Legalized marijuana could make it trickier to purchase guns in Ohio
If Ohio voters approve State Issue 2, marijuana users will likely have a new-found sense of freedom. But since marijuana will remain a Schedule I controlled substance at the federal level, questions arise over its use and the legal purchase of firearms.
But in order to purchase a gun or ammunition in Ohio, Form 4473 of the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives must be filled out, under penalty of perjury, including the fifth question on the first page that some may pause at: "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?"
Answering yes automatically disqualifies you from purchasing a gun. Lying on the form and getting caught is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison.
"They're bound by federal law," to answer honestly, said attorney Sean Maloney of the Buckeye Firearms Association, a gun rights advocacy group. …
"It's kind of a trap for a lot of people," said Dean Rieck, executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "The Food and Drug Administration does not acknowledge any benefit to medical marijuana."
Rieck said with FDA approval of pot for therapeutic use, Congress, along with other federal agencies including ATF might follow, and eventually there would be uniform agreement, less confusion and fewer restrictions for gun owners.
Gun dealers withholding the sale of weapons "should be about whether you're a violent felon, not about who you are or what kind of drugs you use," he said. "We're concerned that if you're a user (of marijuana) that that shouldn't bar you from owning a gun."
June 30, 2023
As Cincinnati’s lawsuit against Ohio to allow for them to create their own gun safety regulations is being heard in a state court, Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation to make guns safer.
Cincinnati has a plan for reducing gun violence.
“A trigger lock can be the difference between life and death for a child or a suicidal teenager,” said Kristine Woodworth with Mom’s Demand Action.
After passing a safe storage ordinance to require people to lock up their guns, the state shut it down. Woodworth sat in court Wednesday as she heard her city fight back.
“There’s very little that they can do at the city level to improve conditions and to stop our children from being killed and killing others with guns,” the mom said.
Rob Sexton with Buckeye Firearms Association said that’s the way the law is supposed to work.
“State law is crystal clear that local governments cannot enact gun restrictions that exceed those that are already in state law,” he said.
May 17, 2023
The Review - Gun liability insurance requirement takes hit in Ohio legislature
It was supported by Buckeye Firearms and the National Rifle Association.
May 14, 2023
WCPO (ABC Cincinnati) - Moms Demand Action, Congressman Greg Landsman rally for gun control as part of Mother's Day of Action 2023
Rob Sexton, legislative affairs director of the Buckeye Firearms Association, however, said the type of gun isn't the issue.
"Scapegoating law abiding people or simply a firearm is not the answer," he said.
Sexton said he believes campaigns like Moms Demand Action are thinly veiled attempts by gun control advocates to ban all guns because criminals inherently don't follow the law.
"Since those are illegal, I'm not going to go to that school, or I'm not going to go to the mall?" Sexton said. "No, they're just going to move to another firearm... and ultimately, Moms Demand Action, I'd be willing to make you a bet right now, you know they'd be pivoting to say lets ban handguns or lets ban another style of rifle."
Overall, Sexton believes the root issue is more complex and driven by a mental health crisis, and that overarching issue needs to be addressed first.
May 10, 2023
Ohio Capitol Journal - Restaurant association won’t comment on its allies in fight to lock down Ohio Constitution
The Buckeye Firearms Association, which fears gun-control amendments, is backing the measure...
May 10, 2023
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Ohio lawmakers vote to set Aug. 8 election for controversial 60% constitutional amendment proposal
Two influential lobbying groups, Ohio Right to Life and the Buckeye Firearms Association, led a public effort to whip votes and pressure House Speaker Jason Stephens, a Lawrence County Republican, to put it up for a vote.
May 9, 2023
Associated Press - Ohio constitution overhaul faces deadline, backlash
Some of the state’s most powerful anti-abortion and pro-gun rights groups — including Ohio Right to Life and the Buckeye Firearms Association — have tried to push the two measures through by linking the complicated web of related votes to their election-season scorecards. That means voting “no” on either measure threatens a Republican lawmaker’s important “pro-life” and “pro-gun” voting records. Gun groups are involved because they fear a future constitutional amendment on gun control.
May 8, 2023
Ohio Capitol Journal - Ohio abortion foes are banking on a low-turnout August election. In Kansas, that didn’t go so well.
The Buckeye Firearms Association, which fears gun-control amendments, is backing it as well.
April 30, 2023
TheOhioStar.com - Ohio State Senators Re-Introduce Legislation to Protect Second Amendment Rights
The Buckeye Firearms Association applauded Senators Johnson and Gavarone for the legislation.
“Senate Bill 58 builds a defense of firearms rights before they are infringed. Seeing the bad examples in other states and even here in Ohio where our big cities openly defy the law to infringe on the rights of people to protect themselves should compel legislators to prevent this type of attack from ever happening here. That is exactly what this bill does,” Rob Sexton Legislative Affairs Director for the Buckeye Firearms Association said.
April 28, 2023
SpectrumNews1.com - Supporters of SJR2, opponents of SB 92 testify in front of committee
Rob Sexton of the Buckeye Firearms Association and Ohio Sportsmen's Alliance believes the amount of money placed into a campaign determines whether a ballot issue will pass. He also mentioned this could leave Ohio's constitution vulnerable. Sexton told lawmakers that's part of the reason he believes raising the threshold will deter groups of special interest.
"Hunting has been attacked twice by national animal rights groups here in Ohio," Sexton said. "There have already been attempts here to launch attacks on our right to keep and bear arms on the ballot here in Ohio."
April 28, 2023
TheCenterSquare.com - Gun liability insurance requirement takes hit in Ohio legislature
In the Senate, it passed 24-7 along GOP-party lines. It was supported by Buckeye Firearms and the National Rifle Association.
April 27, 2023
TheOhioStar.com - Delaware County Judge Blocks Columbus Gun Restriction Enforcement
According to Executive Director of the Buckeye Firearms Association Dean Rieck, this is unlikely to be the end of this case.
“Columbus is likely to appeal. And we have ongoing litigation in Franklin and Fairfield Counties, as well as a separate case in Hamilton County. But this ruling should be welcome news to residents of Columbus. And it’s a step in the right direction to unravel the mess created by Mayor Ginther, City Attorney Zack Klein, and Columbus City Council when they passed laws they knew for a fact were illegal and unconstitutional in Ohio,” Rieck said.
April 26, 2023
WKRC (CBS Cincinnati) - Gun storage ordinances in the spotlight after judge blocks Columbus ordinance
Some are now asking if it’s time for more cities to adopt safe gun storage ordinances.
Cincinnati approved one in February 2023, but a judge temporarily halted a similar ordinance in Columbus.
Cincinnati’s ordinance mandates those measures, with penalties ranging from up to a year in jail to a $1,000 fine.
Still, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office confirmed that the recent court ruling won’t stop Cincinnati from enforcing its law.
A council member in North College Hill told Local 12 they’d consider adopting a similar law there.
“If it comes to our attention, you can bet that there’s going to be a lawsuit and you’re going to lose, so if you are part of a city council or if you’re involved in a city, you’re thinking about gun laws, think again,” said Dean Rieck with the Buckeye Firearms Association.
April 25, 2023
Associated Press - Ohio’s Bob Taft opposes making constitutional changes harder
Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said the necessary 60 representatives have committed to voting yes, and that list has been shared with Stephens.
Gonidakis let lawmakers know that their votes on the resolution, as well as the bill setting a special August election, will be counted toward their “pro-life” records when scorecards are issued at election time, he said. The Buckeye Firearms Association, which supports raising the threshold to 60% to keep Ohioans from passing future gun control amendments, will use the same approach on its gun rights scorecards, Gonidakis said.
April 3, 2023
WKRC (CBS Cincinnati) - Ohio lawmakers debate safe storage laws for firearms, as local accidental shootings occur
Dean Rieck with the Buckeye Firearms Association disagrees.
“Criminalizing behavior is not the right approach here,” Rieck told Local 12. “If you want a productive approach, let’s do education, let’s provide resources to parents so that they know the proper ways to store firearms."
Rieck says his organization, and the NRA, advocate providing money and other resources to schools and pediatricians, so they can teach small children how to avoid loaded firearms, and parents how to store their weapons properly.
Local 12 asked, “But wouldn’t making it a law make it more likely for someone to abide by that law?”
“I don’t know that that’s the case at all,” Rieck replied. “Because most people aren’t following what is or is not law.”
March 31, 2023
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Gun rights groups back making Ohio Constitution harder to amend
Gun rights advocates have joined abortion opponents and others in backing a proposal that would make it harder to amend the Ohio Constitution. The Buckeye Firearms Association and the Sportsmen Alliance told an Ohio Senate committee they’re concerned about out-of-state, well-funded groups, specifically gun control groups, attempting to change Ohio’s Constitution. They believe a higher threshold at the ballot box for an amendment proposal to pass would keep those interests at bay.
March 31, 2023
Dayton Daily News - Ex-Dayton police chief: Gun magazine caps would reduce carnage of mass shootings
The Buckeye Firearms Association opposes magazine restrictions. The Second Amendment protects the right of citizens to own and carry firearms, and that protection extends to the parts and components of those firearms, said Dean Rieck, the association’s executive director.
“In Ohio, our laws specifically prohibit the regulation of firearms, their components, ammunition and knives,” he said.
Rieck, with the Buckeye Firearms Association, said the focus on magazines in mass shootings is misplaced.According to the FBI, 38 people died in these incidents in 2020 compared to 19,384 in non-mass-shooting murders.
“And the idea that smaller magazines would make a significant difference in ‘mass shootings’ is dramatically overstated,” he said. “The WaPo article you linked to has a graphic that suggests it takes 20 to 30 seconds to reload. That is laughable. With just a little practice, an ordinary person can eject a spent magazine and load a new one in about 3 seconds.”
March 30, 2023
Cleveland Plain Dealer - New group emerges in favor of making it harder to amend Ohio Constitution: gun rights advocates
Republican lawmakers, abortion opponents and a constitutional rights organization that want to make it harder to amend the Ohio constitution have added a new group to their coalition that had not yet publicly voiced its support: gun rights advocates.
Rob Sexton testified Wednesday at an Ohio House committee on behalf of two organizations: the Buckeye Firearms Association, an influential gun group on Ohio Capitol Square; and the Sportsmen's Alliance, an organization that defends hunting, fishing and trapping throughout the U.S., founded in late 1977 in Columbus to defeat a constitutional amendment proposal that would have banned trapping statewide.
“Now more than ever, our fundamental right to defend our own lives must be protected,” Sexton said, at the time representing the Buckeye Firearms Association.
He said that the gun group depends on a part of the Ohio Constitution that says, “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security.”
“It’s this freedom that wealthy gun control advocates like New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg would most like to target,” he said. “Ballot issues have become increasingly utilized by wealthy interests in Ohio and across the country. With their ability to outspend virtually any grassroots coalition of Ohioans, people like Bloomberg and organizations he finances are able to rewrite our constitution, erasing freedoms that the people actually support.”
March 22, 2023
WSYX (ABC Columbus) - Victims of gun violence march to the Ohio statehouse to demand stricter gun laws
ABC 6/FOX 28 reached out to the Buckeye Firearms Association who sent us the following statement
"Violent crime has been surging in big cities across Ohio, and Mike Bloomberg's Moms Demand Action gun control group is down at the statehouse trying to take away the rights of law-abiding Ohioans to defend themselves. The solution to violent crime is to prosecute actual criminals not to disarm people trying to protect their families."
March 6, 2023
SpectrumNews1.com - House Bill 51 regarding second amendment rights introduced to committee
Meanwhile, Dean Rieck the executive director of the Buckeye Firearms Institute, who said there is precedent for this kind of proposal and it’s worked in the past.
"Look at how it compares to things like marijuana or to immigration, for example. Marijuana is illegal across the board at the federal level here in Ohio," Rieck said. "We've chosen to legalize it for medical purposes. So in Ohio, we simply don't enforce marijuana if you have a medical marijuana card. So this bill would do something very similar with firearms. If the federal government has laws that we do not agree with here in the state, the state would simply not enforce those
Feb. 7, 2023
TheOhioStar.com - Cincinnati Leaders Vie to Limit Gun Rights and Declare Preemption Law as Unconstitutional
Preemption legislation prohibits the regulation of knives, guns, their parts, and ammunition by political subdivisions (such as cities and counties). In the past, Ohio’s gun lobby has successfully sued Cincinnati and other cities to overturn local gun restriction laws. Buckeye Firearms Association used this method to overturn Cincinnati’s ban on bump stocks in 2018.
According to the Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association Dean Rieck, Cincinnati is following the lead of Columbus in ignoring settled law and previous court decisions.
“Just as Columbus’ challenge will eventually be defeated, Cincinnati, too, will lose in court. Either lower courts will decide the matter or, once again, the Ohio Supreme Court will weigh in and remind Ohio’s cities that they have no home rule authority on the matter of Second Amendment rights,” Rieck said.
The practical issue of having a consistent and well-understood set of gun rules rather than a patchwork of inconsistent regulations, according to Rieck, is just as important as the weighty body of precedence supporting preemption.
“If every one of Ohio’s more than 2,000 cities, villages, and townships passed their own gun laws, no one could possibly keep up. Just driving to work, attending church, or going to the grocery could turn you into a law-breaker as you traveled from place to place and crossed municipal boundaries. Ohio solved this problem 16 years ago, but Columbus, and now Cincinnati, seek to sow confusion. And for what? To pass gun laws violent criminals will not obey, and which will accomplish nothing but entrap otherwise law-abiding residents? City leaders should be ashamed of themselves for this blatantly political gamesmanship,” Rieck said.
According to Rieck, Buckeye Firearms Association refuses to “allow rogue cities to eviscerate the progress we’ve made over the last two decades just so they can grandstand and pretend that they’re fighting crime, when all they’re doing is wasting taxpayer dollars on political theater.”
Feb. 2, 2023
Cincinnati Enquirer - Cincinnati takes swing at gun reform with new ordinances, lawsuit
In an effort to curb gun violence, Cincinnati has two proposed ordinances for City Council to consider and has filed a lawsuit against the state. The first ordinance addresses the safe storage of firearms to keep them away from children. The second ordinance would bar those convicted of domestic violence or subject to a protection order from processing firearms.
The 43-page lawsuit filed Friday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court challenges a 2006 law passed by the Ohio legislature and its 2018 expansion. It forbids Ohio municipalities from imposing any restriction on a person's ability to own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer, transport, store or keep any firearm, part of a firearm, its components and its ammunition.
The Buckeye Firearms Association released a statement Thursday in response to the announcement.
"The city of Cincinnati has decided to again waste its citizens' tax dollars and re-litigate settled law," the statement said.
Executive Director Dean Rieck said Cincinnati paid the Buckeye Firearms Association over $230,000 in legal fees after the organization sued over Cincinnati's proposed bump stock ban. He said the laws will not be followed by criminals and will entrap otherwise law-abiding citizens.
"We will not allow rogue cities to eviscerate the progress we've made over the last two decades just so they can grandstand and pretend that they're fighting crime, when all they're doing is wasting taxpayer dollars on political theater," Rieck said.
Feb. 2, 2023
WCPO (ABC Cincinnati) - It could become illegal to own a gun in Cincy with domestic violence conviction
"Buckeye Firearms Association and Ohio's 4 million gun owners will fight this," said Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association. "We will not allow rogue cities to eviscerate the progress we've made over the last two decades just so they can grandstand and pretend that they're fighting crime, when all they're doing is wasting taxpayer dollars on political theater."