Cincy Post editorial: ''A suspicious about-face''

Newspapers in Ohio are awash with editorials criticizing the NRA's decision to cancel its 2007 national convention in Columbus after the city held sham hearings in which public testimony was overwhelmingly opposing before passing a ridiculous assault weapons ban written by an anti-gun extremist group from California.

From the Cincinnati Post:

    The NRA said it would hold a convention in Ohio only if the General Assembly passed a law overturning the municipal weapons ban. State Rep. James Aslanides, a Republican from northern Ohio who authored the recent state law allowing concealed weapons to be carried legally, immediately announced plans to do just that. In fact, he wants to prevent cities and other units of local government from regulating guns at all. Such a prohibition would affect Cincinnati, which has an assault weapons ordinance of its own on the books. (Because of a court challenge it is not being enforced, a city spokesperson said.)

    Even though we're dubious about the effectiveness of municipal weapons bans, we think the NRA and Aslanides are way off the mark.

    Columbus City Council was publicly debating the assault weapons ban when the 2007 convention was announced. It's hard to believe that NRA's planners didn't know about it, and that such an ordinance, if passed, might interfere with their ability to display a full range of weaponry on the convention floor.

A hard search has turned up nothing in the way of the NRA asserting that they were unaware of the discussions. Quite the contrary - the NRA encouraged members to attend the public meetings Councilman Mentel presented as a way to listen to the community. And the community came out and spoke - overwhelmingly - in opposition to his plans. Who can fault the NRA for believing a politician would actually listen to his constituents before passing a law that has already proven on the Federal level to be a complete failure in its intended goal of crime reduction?

Again, from the Post editorial:

    There are political overtones as well. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, a supporter of the city assault weapons ban, is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2006. Some Coleman supporters think he was set up by an organization that views gun control advocacy as a kiss of death for a statewide candidate.

Such suggestions are ludicrous. Coleman's status as a gun control advocate was by no means a secret. On April 8, 2004, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman staged a press conference next to a jungle gym, lamenting the fact that the city was unable to protect children by posting signs banning concealed handgun license-holders. Coleman called Ohio's concealed carry law "a travesty for our city and for our state."

Not surprisingly, the political overtones the newspaper fails to address are that Councilman Mike Mentel is running for Columbus Mayor, and believes that gun control advocacy is exactly the angle he needs to play to assume power.

    As for Aslanides, he's going against a venerable tradition of home rule in Ohio. Columbus, Cincinnati and the rest of Ohio's cities should be free to regulate guns, even if the NRA disapproves.

As NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre pointed out Monday, Ohio is one of only seven states that does not have this law to protect gun owners from a confusing and dangerous patchwork of firearms laws, and one of only three states left in the nation with home rule. Just as he did with a concealed carry law in 2004, Rep. Jim Aslanides now appears poised to bring Ohio up to speed with the rest of the nation.

Why do Post editors have such suspicions about progress?

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