Buckeye Firearms Foundation hosts annual Bash w/ keynote speaker David Keene
The Buckeye Firearms Foundation recently held their annual "Buckeye Bash". Supporters from across Ohio converged on Villa Milano in Columbus for the event. The evening was filled with lots of games and prizes, a silent auction plus a live auction. All for the benefit of the educational efforts of the Foundation. Much of the funds raised will be dedicated to the FASTER Saves Lives program, which trains teachers, staff and administrators to protect our most valuable resource, our children. The Foundation has spent well over half a million dollars for the FASTER training. It also supports many youth shooting programs; grants for worthy organizations and young shooting sports competitors,
Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) President Jim Irvine welcomed the over four-hundred attendees, "Thanks for coming tonight. I thank you for all you've done in the past years and look forward to getting more done. FASTER is already in its fifth year. It is changing my life. We have schools and law enforcement from across the country wanting to send people to our training. The training was designed by John Benner, who perhaps understands active killer situation better than anyone. He has more expertise and has done more force-on-force scenarios than anyone. Chris Cerino, who is known for his competition on the Top Gun show, puts passion into the program. His ability to transfer knowledge and skills to the students is incredible. It is an honor to be involved with these people. It is a program that will be what our nation will embrace. These are the guys leading the way."
Irvine made a special presentation of the Association's Guardian of Freedom award. "A few years ago we began presenting the Guardian of Freedom award to individuals who have gone above and beyond in defending the Second Amendment in Ohio. This award is not given lightly but must be truly a deserving person. Ohio has made more progress in the last ten years than any other state. Frankly that could be because we started out so far behind the rest of the country. Our firearms legislation generally passes in the lame duck session. I call him on weekends or late at night often after midnight. He has been at the statehouse working at 3AM. He is that dedicated because he knows what is needed to get the job done. It is with great honor and appreciation from the entire leadership team of BFA and our supporters that we present the Guardian of Freedom award to the NRA/ILA State Liaison Mr. John Hohenwarter."
Hohenwarter, who traveled to the event from his home in PA, was taken by surprise. He commented, "I just don't know what to say. I'm really taken aback. I say this time and again that the BFA folks here make my job look easy. I love coming to Ohio. I couldn't do it without this organization. I work with organizations across the country and there are none better than this one. Thank you so much. I really appreciate and cherish this award."
Moving the program quickly, NRA Board Member Linda Walker introduced the keynote speaker saying, "Our speaker has been politically involved for many years. When I was elected to the NRA Board, he was the new incoming President. He was the right NRA President at the time when Sandy Hook happened. Please welcome David Keene."
Keene opened, "Thank you for that wonderful welcome. It wasn't because I was there in the days following the Sandy Hook tragedy, it was because you were there. You and people like you across the country responded. The strength of the NRA is not found in Fairfax VA; it's not found in the President or staff but it's found in the membership. Those were dark days. Almost everyone thought gun owners and believers of firearm freedoms were on the run. A liberal commentator said that most gun owners don't agree with the NRA, they agree with President Obama and the NRA is falling apart before our very eyes. It was thought the nation was going to stand up and back the President. During the President's speech, 58,000 people joined the NRA. The membership of the NRA increased by over 1 million before it was over."
" I never doubted we would win for two reasons. One is the dedication of those who believe in freedom in this country. Second because of the DNA of the American people. This is a country that has appreciated firearms freedom since before it was a country. The title of my book is "Shall not be infringed". Those words are important. It doesn't say the new republic will grant you the right to defend yourself. Our Founders recognized that the right pre-existed the American republic and that the new republic would not infringe on that natural right. That's what is important that the Founders knew and it's important today. It's in the American DNA", he continued.
Keene noted that much progress has been made and our laws are much better today saying, "The attitude of the American people has moved in our direction, not away from us. In spite of all the efforts and establishment designs on our rights, more people agree with us today than agreed with us in 1968. Recent polls show that the youngest in the voting population are the most skeptical of more firearms control laws. The world has changed for the better."
He also warned that just because we won the election, it was not the war but merely a key battle. The battles will continue with SCOTUS nominees which are critical. He noted, "They know they can't beat us in Congress. Perhaps by preventing the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch they can beat us. The court is still a danger and it's the next appointment that is all important. It is as important today to be vigilant . We have to get up every day jealous of our rights and willing to defend them."
Keene concluded, "It's a real pleasure to meet you tonight. BFA really is the premier model of what can be done. What you have accomplished in Ohio is incredible when compared to the other states. I'm here to thank you tonight for what you so every single day to protect the rights of all of us and to pass those rights on to the next generation. Thank you so very much!"
The Bash event was an invigorating event for the attendees. It connected the pro-gun forces with others both renewing acquaintances and making new friends. "This year's Bash was a huge success," said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association and Buckeye Firearms Foundation. "We had a full house with patriots coming from all over Ohio. We raised funds for our Foundation, enjoyed the fellowship of long-time friends and supporters, and were honored to host former NRA President David Keene, who warned that regardless of the election of Donald Trump, gun owners still face threats to their rights."
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year, the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year and the 2014 Ohio NWTF Outdoor Writer of the Year.