BFA Testifies in Favor of SJR 2 to Protect Constitutional Rights
On Wednesday, March 29, 2023, Buckeye Firearms Association presented testimony in the Senate General Government Committee supporting Senate Joint Resolution 2 to amend the Ohio Constitution to require a vote of at least 60% of the electors to approve any constitutional amendment.
This was the second hearing on this resolution, which seeks to raise the bar for altering Ohio's Constitution. Currently, when constitutional amendments are placed on the ballot, it takes only a simple majority (50% plus one vote) to change the constitution. SJR 2 would require any future constitutional amendment to be approved by at least 60% of the voters, whether proposed by initiative petition, by the General Assembly, or by a constitutional convention.
While opponents argue that this is undemocratic, the opposite is true. In the real world, any wealthy donor or political group can put an amendment on the ballot and "buy" enough votes to get it passed. If you have millions of dollars to spend, you can change Ohio's Constitution. That puts everyone's rights at risk, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum.
By raising the bar to 60%, you dramatically reduce the power of money and increase the likelihood that any constitutional change will be supported by a large majority of voters. It is a given that the U.S. Constitution should be difficult to change, since it is the bedrock of our nation's laws and the people's rights. It should also be difficult to change Ohio's Constitution for the same reason. The core of our state's laws should not be subject to wealthy meddlers or fickle political whims.
Here is BFA's testimony:
To: Senate General Government Committee
Chairman Rulli, Senators Rob McColley and Theresa Gavarone
From: Rob Sexton, Special Consultant
Dean Rieck, Executive Director
Date: March 28, 2023
Re: Support for SJR 2
Mr. Chairman, members of the Senate General Government Committee, we are here to testify on behalf of Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) in strong support of Senate Joint Resolution 2. BFA is Ohio's premier defender of the right to keep and bear arms.
Article 1 Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution is our state's version of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. It reads, "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security ..." This language is the foundation of the ability of Ohioans to defend themselves and their families. It is this language that must be struck, weakened or somehow countermanded, in order for national gun control groups to roll back the many freedoms that this General Assembly has made clear these past 20 years.
It is this freedom that wealthy gun control advocates like New York Billionaire Mike Blomberg would most like to target. Ballot issues have become increasingly utilized by wealthy interests in Ohio and across the country. With their ability to outspend any grassroots coalition of Ohioans, people like Bloomberg and organizations he finances, are able to rewrite our constitution, erasing freedoms that actual Ohioans support.
The citizen initiative process was created to provide a voice to the people, not to be the tool wealthy outsiders use to take away our freedoms. That is why it is essential that Ohio raise the bar for passage of a proposed amendment to the constitution to 60%. Changes to the statute and referenda would remain at a simple majority, while providing important protection for the document that enshrines our freedom.
Without this protection, it is not hard to see the pathway that will be utilized by gun control groups to eliminate firearms preemption, the right to carry a firearm, the right to defend our homes and more. Meanwhile these same groups will pursue gun registration, and other restrictions on firearms ownership. And all of this will take place during a time when our government has lost control of our cities. Criminals walk free after committing felonies. Violent crime is on the rise while our law enforcement struggles to do its job due to political pressure. Now more than ever, our fundamental right to defend our own lives must be protected. And chief among these protections is ensuring that only the most vital issues result in a change to the Ohio Constitution. That is why Buckeye Firearms Association strongly supports SJR2, and asks for quick approval by this committee.
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