Betty “Just call me Kerry” Montgomery begins chase for gun vote

By Chad D. Baus

In a move reminiscent of John Kerry’s infamous Ohio goose shoot, at which a camo-clad Kerry proclaimed that he was "too lazy" to carry his bird off the hunting field, there are growing indications that gubernatorial-hopeful Betty Montgomery is trying to squeeze into her own camouflage pants suit as she makes her bid for the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary.

It was only a few months ago that Montgomery was testing a strategy of being un-apologetic for her anti-gun views. In January of this year, when questioned at a Young Republicans meeting in Cincinnati about why she opposed the restoration of Ohioans’ constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense, Montgomery stated "I don't want to live in a country where everyone is packing heat. I thought it would make things more dangerous on our streets.....for our police. As Attorney General I have attended enough police funerals." At that same meeting, Montgomery also expressed her view that CHL-holders’ private information should be available to the media and public. In a February appearance in Columbus, Montgomery continued to express a fear of CHL-holders that she sources to the time she spent as a prosecutor, witnessing the "dastardly" crimes committed against law enforcement by criminals with guns.

There is growing evidence that comparing law-abiding Ohio gun owners to cop killers is having its effects, and even more indication that the Montgomery campaign has realized touting her anti-gun position is not a way to win votes.

In the wake of those two appearances, news reports say Montgomery was the only gubernatorial candidate in either party to have failed to raise $1million in the first half of this year. Her lack of funding mirrors public opinion polls which continue to reveal a weakening position for Betty Montgomery. It is clear pro-gun Ohioans have begun to take note of who among the three GOP candidates have a record of true support for self-defense rights, and which of them may be more likely only to pay lip-service to support for the Second Amendment, as a means of getting votes.

Enter the lip service.

This week I pulled a “Betty Montgomery Talks About Values” campaign flyer from my mailbox, and immediately noted the page on Gun Rights.

The page, which features a photograph of Montgomery standing next to a law-enforcement officer who is holding a handgun and gesturing downrange, reads as follows:

    "I Support The Second Amendment."

    Our founding fathers fought and died to defend our God-given right to keep and bear arms. In a free society, citizens owning guns is one of the few protections against a tyrannical government. When I was a prosecutor, I respected the right to own guns and the right to use them in self defense. As Attorney General, I did away with handgun waiting periods so that law-abiding citizens can purchase a gun after an instant background check.

Now come the all-important qualifiers, which gun-owners could expect to have thrown back in their face if ever pro-gun legislation began making its way toward Governor Montgomery’s desk:

    Throughout two decades in law enforcement, I’ve learned to listen to the opinions of police and sheriffs about gun issues.

Gun owners in Ohio will never forget their struggle under Bob Taft, who in 1998 promised to support concealed carry legislation if elected, yet opposed it at every turn while hiding behind anti-gun law enforcement labor unions and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which he controls. Taft could have written this statement from Montgomery herself.

    As Governor I will not seek to change the rights of Ohioans to carry concealed weapons under Ohio law.

With efforts to pass state-wide preemption legislation and a concealed-carry “fix-it” bill underway, does Montgomery honestly believe gun owners will take any solace in this campaign promise? No change is no good – significant reforms in Ohio’s firearms laws are needed to make things better for law-abiding citizens, and Montgomery’s history proves she is not up to the challenge.

Trailing in various Buckeye state polls only weeks from election day, John Kerry stopped at a southern Ohio grocery store, where he offered his best impression of how he must think us uncultured Ohioans speak: "Can I get me a hunting license here?" As long as gun owners continue to vote their displeasure with Montgomery’s historical anti-self-defense positions via their pocketbooks and to pollsters, her recent attempts at camoflague indicate that before this primary is over, voters will be treated to television images of Montgomery at her local sheriff’s office, saying “Can I get me a CHL here?”

And as long as gun owners vote as they did on Election Day in 2004, we can be sure that one of two pro-gun and pro-concealed carry candidates, Ken Blackwell or Jim Petro, will be nominated to represent the Republican party in the 2006 Governor’s Race.

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