Issue 1: Why Ohio's Constitution Should be Hard to Amend

There are many reasons to vote yes to support Issue 1 on the Aug. 8 ballot. But for Ohio's 4 million gun owners, the primary reason is that gun control advocates seek to end run our legislature and dramatically infringe Second Amendment rights.

Ordinarily, when gun control groups want to regulate guns, they work with left-leaning legislators to introduce a bill. If it makes its way through the legislative process, it becomes law. If not, it doesn't.

But gun control fanatics, who have been frustrated by the legislative process and whose radical liberal candidates have failed at the polls, have decided to take advantage of Ohio's constitutional amendment “loophole” to bypass democratic elections and the usual legislative process.

This strategy threatens to legislate through the constitution, inserting specific policy preferences into a document that was never meant for that purpose.

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A constitution is a general framework for structuring and operating government, outlining the obligations and limitations of its power, including protections for the fundamental rights of its citizens.

Laws, on the other hand, are a set of specific rules to govern the behavior of people. The people's will is translated into law through elected representatives who answer to their constituents.

Confusing the two is a grave mistake. Unlike laws, which reflect the will of the people at a given moment in time, constitutions are intended to be bedrock documents that endure changing partisan administrations and outlast the ever-fickle winds of political whim.

That's why our nation's founders made changing the U.S. Constitution difficult. It requires support from two-thirds of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate and then three-fourths of the states.

That's also why, according to the National Archives Foundation, of the more than 11,000 proposed amendments to the Constitution, only 27 have been ratified.

In an article published by Northwestern University, Dr. Upendra Acharya, who teaches constitutional law at Gonzaga University School of Law explained it simply:

"The will of the people" is protected by the Constitution’s rigidity.

The high bar for passing an amendment is "the overall armor" to protect against the partisanship that sways Congress.

For similar reasons, changing most state constitutions is also difficult. Most states don’t allow for initiative petitions to be used to change their constitutions. But Ohio is an outlier that allows a simple majority to make amendments to our foundational document.

In other words, the state could be evenly split on an issue, but just one extra vote would allow a permanent change to our constitution.

On the issue of guns, that could mean amending the constitution to ban popular rifles, outlaw certain magazines, mandate storage rules, create a permitting system for gun ownership, or institute any number of infringements.

It could even mean eliminating preemption and allowing Ohio's more than 2,000 cities, villages, and townships to pass whatever gun control laws they want. And the legislature would be nearly powerless to do anything about it.

That's one big reason Buckeye Firearms Association urges every gun owner in the state to VOTE YES ON ISSUE 1 to protect our constitution and our Second Amendment rights.

Additional information

Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, former #1 NRA Recruiter, and host of the Keep and Bear Radio podcast.

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