Norwood won't sell surplus firearms

Cincinnati suburb Norwood passes 'symbolic gesture' of gun destruction

Voters, beware: This is a hyperlocal election year for city councils and many mayors throughout Ohio, and it's important to know where candidates stand on your right to keep and bear arms.

Consider the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood, where anti-gun virtue signaling was on full display in an ordinance calling for the destruction of surplus firearms — and where RINOs were revealed.

Norwood City Council on Jan. 24 voted 6-1 to pass an ordinance that keeps the city from participating in any sale or auction of firearms.

Council members Emily Franzen, Susan Hoover, Alexis Royse, Candace Winterbauer and Erick Thompson, all Democrats, voted in favor, as did Republican Chris Kelsch.

Council member John Breadon, also a Republican, cast the only vote against it, calling it for what it was — "a symbolic gesture."

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Then came an anti-gun rant by Republican Mayor Victor Schneider, who used his disdain for firearms as an introduction to a city-sponsored safety class on how to react to seeing a pistol on someone's coffee table.

"We as leaders of our community have to take a stand and say it's too much, and we can't get to the point where we just say, 'Well, that's just the world we live in. It's fine,'" Schneider said.

He then repeated the usual misleading talking points, such as any given news story noting the number of firearms someone has and someone nearby commenting, "Oh, that's not many. I got more than that."

"Holy cow! What do you need 30 firearms for?" he said. "There's something wrong when people feel they need to have a gun room or a gun, a gun lockup with all these — it's just, there's something wrong."

Schneider then described the training class for Norwood residents "who really don't care for guns but would like to know a little bit more about the safety of them and how to keep them safe in their home if there is one in their home."

Enter Breadon, the lone voice of reason.

"We've legislated tonight, I don't know, $500,000 worth of work to be done on our infrastructure," he said. "And then we've also — you know, not that it's going to be a lot of money — but we've also agreed to destroy money that could be used for that infrastructure. …

"If you are out there and you are like-minded like myself that really think that the Constitution is important and that our right to bear arms shall not be infringed upon — and that's exactly what it says — and I feel like that's what's happening. … I couldn't tell if it was a, if Mr. Schneider had a, if this was a gun haters club or if this was a gun safety. I couldn't really tell."

He reminded residents that this is an election year and that for those who value the Second Amendment, he's ready to help them make a difference.

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"If this bothers you as much as it bothers me, I would ask that you get in touch with me, and I will help you make a difference right now, this election, and we can fix some of this."

Thompson attempted to downplay the gun-destruction gesture as common city practice, saying he didn't see it as a Second Amendment statement.

"What we're saying is that we don't want to sell firearms as a city, and I happen to agree with that," he said. "The city isn't in the habit of selling goods for profit. I don't know that we do that. Do we sell any goods for profit on a regular basis? I don't believe we do. So I don't know why it would be such a big deal to say that we don't want to sell firearms for profit."

Thompson then mentioned "39 mass shootings in the last 24 days," saying even more people than that were killed.

"I have no problem with people owning guns, but I also have no problem with the city not selling them to the public," he said.

Breadon said Thompson is entitled to his opinion.

"However, I'm aware that this is a mostly symbolic gesture — that this body is basically doing this because it makes them feel better to do," he said, adding that nobody likes mass shootings. "However, if you take away all mass shootings, you still, you still will have 90% of homicides happening. … What it does is, it chips away at all our rights. … It chips away a little bit at a time. So today, you've done that."

Breadon also schooled Thompson on the notion that the city doesn't sell goods for profit, pointing out the city has sold many items in recent years at auctions and has "made all kinds of money."

Royse closed the discussion with a classic pro-Second Amendment point without realizing it.

"I feel like it is worth mentioning that these guns were forfeited either in the commission of a crime or because that person was not allowed to own guns anymore," she said. "These aren't guns that are being taken away from people who are allowed to own them."

That's right, Ms. Royse. It is always the lawbreaker who commits crimes with firearms, never the law-abiding citizen.

But we can't help but wonder: Would these same local leaders support destroying seized automobiles, too?

Final thought: As the saying goes, all politics is local. It's in these local municipalities and school districts where rhetoric plants the seed for anti-freedom policy. Make sure you know where all local candidates stand, not just those running for the Ohio General Assembly and Congress. Do not discount the importance of your vote in these races.

Joe D. "Buck" Ruth is a longtime small-game hunter and gun owner who spent nearly three decades in the news industry.

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