Astroturf gun control group fails bid to get "universal" background checks on 2020 ballot is reporting that a Bloomberg-backed astroturf gun control group failed to obtain enough signatures to put an initiative mandating so-called "universal" background checks on the Nov. 2020 ballot.

From the article:

Ohioans For Gun Safety spokesman Dennis Willards said ... volunteers collected “tens of thousands” of signatures from Ohio voters to expand mandatory background checks to apply to private gun sales. But, they were still well short of the 132,887 signatures needed to start the process that likely would end with a ballot issue.

The decision is consequential for the presidential election, since gun-control is a hot-button issue that could have had the potential to shape voter turnout in battleground areas of the state.

The article goes on to report what Buckeye Firearms Association has long asserted - that the real drive behind this effort is not a grassroots groundswell, but rather an out-of-state, anti-gun billionaire with presidential aspirations:

... Every Town for Gun Safety, the gun-control group backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that has financed similar efforts in other states ... paid for staff to run the campaign. And another Bloomberg-backed group, Moms Demand Action, contributed grassroots support, including volunteers to help gather signatures.

Even so, the article reports that "Ohioans for Gun Safety struggled to raise the millions of dollars it takes to organize a successful petition drive, and the tens of millions more it would take to mount a successful campaign in the face of what likely would be well-organized opposition from gun-rights supporters." That's what happens, of course, when a so-called "grassroots" group is truly just smoke and mirrors.

According to Willards, the group hasn't given up, but will keep collecting signatures and move their target to the November 2021 election.

This gives Ohioans more time to consider the facts. These bills ...

  • Won't Stop Criminals from Obtaining Guns - Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law. These bills cannot force them to follow the law. Even anti-gun researchers have admitted that "universal" background checks are ineffective.
  • Criminalize Private Transfers and Loans Between Friends and Family - These bills would make criminals out of law-abiding gun owners for simply loaning a firearm to a friend or some family members.
  • Are Unenforceable - "Universal" Background Checks are not universal because criminals will never comply with legal requirements. According to the National Institute of Justice, "Universal" Background Checks are unenforceable without requiring complete gun registration.

Proponents of so-called “universal” background checks claim that this is the “most important” thing that can be done to stop dangerous people from obtaining firearms. This is a lie. There is no evidence that expanded background checks are useful for this purpose.

Recently, a study by anti-gun researchers confirmed that expanded background checks in California did not reduce gun homicides or gun suicides.

This finding is consistent with a review of past studies on expanded background checks by the RAND Corporation that found “evidence of the effect of private-seller background checks on firearm homicides is inconclusive.”

In 2013, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice researched so-called “universal” background checks and determined that they would not be effective without further harsh firearms restrictions and efforts to combat straw purchasing.

Criminals are not deterred by background checks. Indeed, as noted above, the California, Texas and Ohio spree killers submitted to background checks. But for those who know they cannot pass a background check, they are still undeterred. ATF has reported, “[t]he most frequent type of trafficking channel identified in ATF investigations is straw purchasing from federally licensed firearms dealers. Nearly 50 percent ... .” A Chicago-area inmate explained this reality to researchers from the University of Chicago in relation to Illinois’s stringent firearm licensing regime for a 2015 study, stating, “All they need is one person who got a gun card in the ‘hood’ and everybody got one.”

A 2016 Department of Justice survey of “state and federal prisoners who had possessed a firearm during the offense for which they were serving” found that the most common source of prisoner firearms was “Off the street/underground market.” This was defined as “Illegal sources of firearms that include markets for stolen goods, middlemen for stolen goods, criminals or criminal enterprises, or individuals or groups involved in sales of illegal drugs.” Less than one percent had obtained their firearm from a gun show.

Background Checks Are Only as Good as The Data They are Checking Against.

In February 2018, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that hundreds or perhaps even thousands of felons in Ohio could still be allowed to pass a background check to purchase a firearm, all because dozens of Ohio courts were delinquent - sometimes by months or even years - in their responsibility to upload some paperwork.

Government officials and existing gun control laws failed to stop the Charleston church shooting in 2015.

Government officials and existing gun control laws failed to stop the Sutherland Springs, TX church shooting in 2017.

Government officials at every level - from the Broward County Sheriff to the FBI - failed in their duties to prevent the killer from carrying out his acts in Parkland, FL in 2018.

Government and existing gun control laws failed to stop a man who murdered people in a Nashville Waffle House less than a year after he was arrested for breaching a barrier at the White House and demanding to speak with President Trump.

Government and existing gun control laws failed to stop a man from obtaining a gun and carrying out an attack at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati in 2018.

And earlier this year we learned that government and existing gun control laws failed to stop the killer in Dayton, Ohio.

In nearly all of the mass casualty events, it is learned later that authorities failed to use the tools they already have in place. And yet they come seeking MORE tools, when they aren't even properly using the ones they have. WHY?

Perhaps it's because they do not understand the problem or do not truly care about the loss of innocent life. Or perhaps the answer to that question can be found in a statement made by an advisor to the Obama administration, who wrote that the effectiveness of a universal background regime "depends on … requiring gun registration…." Indeed, so-called "universal" background check proposals weaken protections against using background checks to create a registry and sets the stage for future firearm registration requirements.

Shame on these people for using these deaths to further their anti-Second Amendment agenda.

There should be no more talk of laws which only punish the law-abiding.

There should be no talk of mandating government control over private sales of guns between individuals.

Instead, those who are truly seeking to make a difference should focus their efforts on ensuring that government entities consistently, accurately, regularly input their data into the national database, and enacting and enforcing penalties on those who don't.

Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Related Article:

"Universal" background checks would not have stopped attacks in Dayton or elsewhere

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