Lack of action on Sittenfeld's anti-gun rights petition proves effort was just a PR stunt

Hardly anyone in Ohio knows the name P.G. Sittenfeld, and that fact was a problem for him during his recent primary campaign to win the Democrats' nomination for U.S. Senate over former Governor Ted Strickland.

Alexander Paul George "P.G." Sittenfeld, who has served as a Cincinnati city councilman since 2011, sought to compensate for his short-comings in name recognition by trying to make sure people in his party knew Mr. Strickland's real record on the issue of firearms, even as he obviously hoped the liberal base in his party wouldn't notice that he himself is the son of a wealthy investment advisor and graduate of an Ivy League school.

In addition to his efforts to try and make sure voters remembered that Strickland, not unlike his friend John Kerry and the war in Iraq, was for gun rights before he was against them, Sittenfeld sought to get media attention by proposing a ballot initiative in support of a constitutional amendment that would repeal Ohio's preemption law which prohibits cities from enacting laws that are more strict than state law.

Despite his best efforts at dancing in front of the cameras, Sittenfeld was crushed in the primary contest, winning only 22% of the vote.

So what about the ballot initiative Sittenfeld promised he was serious about? The one he promised wasn't just a campaign PR stunt? As is reporting, the initiative as gone the way of Sittenfeld's campaign: nowhere.

In the midst of his U.S. Senate campaign, Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld promised to help Ohio's cities pass their own gun-control laws through a constitutional amendment.

But nearly four months later, Sittenfeld and his group of gun-control advocates have yet to submit the 1,000 signatures needed to even start Ohio's long, expensive road to the November ballot.

By comparison, two medical marijuana proposals aiming for the fall ballot have already submitted 1,000 signatures, passed the Ohio Attorney General's initial review and made it through a ballot board panel. Now, they are working to collect the 305,591 valid signatures needed by July 6 to make the ballot.

When his campaign was still a going concern, Sittenfeld, along with the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence founder Toby Hoover and God Before Guns founder Rev. Kris Eggert, claimed they would submit its first 1,000 signatures before the end of April. From there, they claimed they would court national groups like Americans for Responsible Solutions, founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and Everytown for Gun Safety.

But that never happened. On Wednesday, an Ohio Attorney General's Office spokesman said he had received no signatures from the group.

Spokespeople for both national groups said they had not heard of the Ohio effort and were not coordinating with it. With no national group paying for or promoting the ballot initiative, making the fall ballot could be a challenge...

But their inaction since then proves that the whole thing was nothing more than a campaign PR stunt - the same kind of smoke and mirrors his gun ban extremist friends have become so known for.

The ploy was so transparent that the article points out even liberal political blog Plunderbund questioned whether Sittenfeld's proposed constitutional amendment was simply an abandoned campaign ploy.

The idea, as Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dean Rieck said at the time it was announced, "is a ridiculous proposal. Preemption was a solution to a serious problem in Ohio where we had a patchwork of gun laws throughout the state. State law now says clearly that gun laws must be consistent in Ohio and that cites cannot ban something that state law allows."

"Preemption is settled law," said Rieck, "The City of Cleveland sued the State of Ohio over this issue and the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision that preemption is valid law.

"In addition, when Gov. Bob Taft vetoed HB 347, the bill that introduced preemption, the Ohio General Assembly voted to override the veto. This was a historic override. So the people have spoken on this issue.

"Quite literally, Sittenfeld was proposing a constitutional amendment to prevent the exercise of a constitutional right."

It's no surprise that this ridiculous idea, which had nothing to do with local government and everything to do with P.G. Sittenfeld, has seen no further action.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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