Kasich's enemies happy to offer advice on how he can supposedly gain support by turning his back on gun owners
by Chad D. Baus
With both the House and Senate having passed similar versions of Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix legislation, the media now know their anti-self-defense editorial and biased news-coverage campaign has failed, and their hopes for stopping the bill up in the House have withered. Instead, the new focus is on encouraging Republican Governor John Kasich to go back on the commitment he made to voters during the campaign by vetoing the legislation.
On Monday, May 17, the Columbus City Council, all Democrats, unanimously called on Kasich to veto the bill.
Councilwoman Michelle M. Mills introduced the guns-in-bars resolution from the floor, saying that she opposes mixing guns and alcohol. She pointed to a recent incident in which medics treated a man who had been stabbed in a bar.
..."If a gun had been present, it could have been worse," she said.
Council President Andrew J. Ginther agreed that guns do not belong where alcohol is served, though he started his remarks by saying, "There is no bigger supporter of the Second Amendment in City Hall than I."
Ginther said after the meeting that he believes guns should be regulated only at the federal level and that states and cities shouldn't have a role deciding how to apply the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
But he also listed several places where he said common sense dictates that guns should not be allowed:
"If concealed weapons don't belong at the Statehouse or City Hall, and they certainly don't belong at schools and parks, then they don't belong in bars and restaurants," he said. "That right shouldn't come at the cost of bar and restaurant owners' ability to do business."
The following day, the Toledo Blade published its own veto plea to Kasich, simply titled "Governor and guns."
If Mr. Kasich cares more about ensuring public safety than about pandering to special-interest extremists, he will veto it — emphatically.
Ohioans are not clamoring for this expansion of the state's concealed-carry law. The state's major law-enforcement organizations oppose the guns-in-bars bill. So do groups that represent restaurant and bar owners.
The bill's provision that people who bring a gun to a bar can't drink is so unenforceable as to be ludicrous. No matter: When gun lobbies snap their fingers, lawmakers know they have to jump.
Mr. Kasich now can allow himself to be intimidated by gun lobbies as well. Or he can be the voice of reason, rejecting the toxic mixture of guns and booze. Veto the bill, governor.
For his part, Columbus Dispatch editor Joe Hallett, who falsely predicted in 2003 that if Ohio's concealed carry reform bill didn't die, "more Ohioans will," now predicts that the "Vote on guns in bars will provide ammo for Democrats.".
In his editorial, Hallett fails to mention the names of any candidates of any note being threatened or defeated for being pro-gun, or any candidates of any note being elected upon a platform of rolling back our pro-gun advances. He also fails to explain why the only Democrats elected in recent statewide elections (with the exception of Sherrod Brown, who faced a Republican with an anti-gun record) have been pro-gun candidates. The long-time anti-concealed carry journalist concludes with this:
Kasich could mitigate the guns-in-bars bill as a winning issue for Democrats by changing his mind and vetoing it. I know him well enough to believe that's what his head and his heart are telling him to do.
This isn't the first time Hallett has claimed to have mind-reading powers. Last year, Hallett complained that then-Governor "Strickland promised to sign the guns-in-bars bill as soon as he gets it, ignoring every guilt pang from his training as a psychologist and ordained Methodist minister telling him it's a bad idea."
But neither Strickland nor Kasich have indicated they think or feel any such thing.
From KasichForOhio.com, dateline March 19, 2010:
This week Senate Bill 239 was introduced to update current concealed carry laws in Ohio. The bill would allow citizens who hold a valid concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a firearm into a restaurant if they are not consuming alcohol or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The bill would also reduce the restrictions on how a concealed carry license holder must transport a firearm in a car, making the law uniform with other states to prevent confusion on enforcement.
In a recent Buckeye Firearms Association questionnaire, John voiced his support for both of these provisions.
Regarding allowing citizens holding a CHL to carry a firearm into a restaurant, John stated his support and commented, "41 other states allow some form of concealed carry in locations that serve alcohol. I believe we can find a reasonable approach to extending this right to Ohioans."
Regarding reducing the restrictions on how a conceal carry license holder transports a firearm in a car, John stated his support and commented, "I support making these laws uniform and easier to understand and enforce."
The Ohio News Network recently cited an interview ONN's Moderator of Capitol Square Jim Heath had with Kasich about the bill shortly before his inauguration.
Heath: "Would you sign the concealed weapons bill if it came to your desk?"
Kasich: "I'm pro-gun. But look, you don't want people taking shots of whiskey and carrying a gun, put on reasonable restrictions. But I believe in concealed carry and I believe in the second amendment."
Heath: "But that bill looks good?"
Kasich: "I don't have a problem with it."
On October 21, 2010, 41 Republican state senators and representatives signed on to a Kasich campaign letter ensuring gun owners that Kasich "will be our ally in the Governor's Office," and that "John Kasich and Mary Taylor will make a strong, unified stand for gun owners in Ohio."
"As legislators who have earned the National Rifle Association's highest ratings," the "A" and A+" -rated legislators wrote, "we are willing to stake our reputations on it."
Unlike the people who wrote that campaign letter, NONE of the people encouraging Kasich to flip-flop on this issue have his interests in mind. If they did, they would never encourage him to go against his own commitment to voters on this issue as expressed during the campaign.
Even though they have no logical explanation for how vetoing the bill would help him, let's accept the premise for a moment. If support for this legislation would truly decrease the reelection chances for Kasich and other Republicans, as Hallett suggests, then wouldn't the Democrats on the Columbus City Council, as well as The Blade and Dispatch editorial boards, want Kasich to sign the bill?
Put another way, why should anyone believe the governor's political enemies are giving him advice that is designed to help him?
Fortunately for us, most legislators realize that newspaper journalists don't show up to knock on doors or do lit drops. That is why this legislation passed by significant majorities in both the House and Senate, and that is why Governor Kasich should keep his word, and call on the General Assembly to rush either HB45 or SB17 to his desk before summer recess so that he can sign it into law.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.