Ohio Gun Ban Lobby and The Agony of Defeat

When does a legislation creating vanity license plates for the 'National Rifle Association Foundation' in Ohio become a victory for gun ban extremists?

When you're gun ban lobbyist Toby Hoover, and when you're desperate to obscure the fact that you've been dealt yet another in a long string of defeats.

Hoover, seemingly a one-woman show operating under the guise of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, has issued a press release stating that she is "pleased" about unanimous Senate passage of Am. Sub. HB 329, which provides for the creation of thirteen themed license plates in Ohio, including one that will promote firearms safety in Ohio by funding the NRA Foundation State Fund Account for Ohio. The fund will be used for Foundation-related projects such as youth hunter education, firearms safety training and shooting range development.

2004 has to have been a tough year for Ohio's gun ban extremists, so the frantic spin contained in Hoover's latest press release should probably be considered after taking a look at the gun ban lobby's dismal failures this year:

2004 has been a GREAT year for Ohioans, because it has been a BAD year for gun ban extremists like Toby Hoover:

  • On January 8, Ohio's 150-year old concealed carry ban was lifted with passage of a revised Ohio House Bill 12. Hoover had dedicated years of her life to defeating this self-defense legislation.
  • On February 21, the Dayton Daily News reported that concealed carry proponents had sent 11 times as many letters, faxes and e-mails to Gov. Bob Taft and called his office 3 1/2 times as much as Hoover's minions did, blowing holes in long-held claims by her that the grassroots in Ohio were firmly against this legislation.
  • In March, Hoover focused efforts on trying to convince Ohio businesses to discriminate against CHL-holders by posting "no-guns" signs. But less than 1% of Ohio businesses have ever posted signs, and many of those that went up have since come back down.
  • On April 2, the state Attorney General's office announced that it had found nothing in Ohio's new concealed carry law created conflicts with HIPAA. Hoover and her comrades had been complaining that HIPAA had made it so sheriffs "can't prohibit those who are mentally ill from obtaining a concealed-weapons permit."
  • On April 8, nearly every Ohio Sheriff began accepting license applications.
  • On April 16, Hoover issued a press release accusing Ohio State Representative Jim Aslanides, sponsor of House Bill 12, of violating Ohio's new Concealed Handgun License law, by "issuing" a license before a background check was done. But OFCC discovered and reported that all procedures had indeed been followed.
  • On May 5, Sheriff Gerald McFaul settled a lawsuit filed against him for refusing to issue licenses on April 8, and paid all court costs and attorney's fees, reinforcing the fact that Ohio's law was indeed a SHALL-issue law.
  • On May 6, Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro filed a motion for a baseless lawsuit filed by Hoover asking the Ohio Supreme Court to declare the new law unconstitutional to be dismissed.
  • On June 10, Ohio Attorney General's office announced that ''local ordinances [banning CCW] are NOT VALID''. Hoover had been encouraging sympathetic city councils to enact such ordinances.
  • On June 17, a special prosecutor was appointed to investigate the illegal release of CHL-holders' private, protected information by Shelby Co. Sheriff, and subsequent publishing of that information on the Sidney Daily News. Hoover had encouraged such illegal behavior in a letter to editor (Prosecutor Gary Nasal says investigation is still "ongoing").
  • On July 7, the U.S. Congress passed a national concealed carry bill for off-duty and retired police officers the right to carry concealed weapons in any state. The gun ban looby had opposed such a law.
  • On July 14, the Ohio Supreme Court dismisses Hoover's baseless lawsuit with a unanimous vote.
  • In August, the Ohio Attorney General's office has released data on the first three months of concealed handgun license issuance, proving Hoover wrong when she told Gannett News that concealed carry was dangerous because "if we have more use of guns, then we're going to have more people who are injured and die." 26,307 standard licenses, and 30 temporary emergency licenses were issued to Ohio residents in the first three months. No blood in the streets. No shootouts at fender-benders. No arguments between CHL-holders turned murder.
  • On September 12, Congress allowed the failed Clinton Gun Ban to expire, despite fear-mongering by Hoover and the gun ban lobby about what would happen when it did.
  • On November 2, Ohioans vote to re-elect President George W. Bush, defeating efforts by gun ban lobbyists to paint John Kerry as favoring "sensible" gun control.
  • On November 18, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Sheriff Jim Karnes was wrong to demand additional "proof" of the need for a temporary emergency license, ensuring that applicants do not have to submit to an anti-gun sheriff's discretion when seeking a legal method of self-defense.

    Which brings us to December, and passage in the House and Senate of legislation creating an NRA vanity plate (along with 12 themes befitting other charities). Apparently the agony of defeat has become too much for Ms. Hoover, who has decided to try claiming victory even while gripped in the jaws of defeat.

    (OFCC commentary provided in blue):

      Wednesday December 1, 5:00 pm ET

      National Rifle Association License Plates Will Mean Gun Owners are Registering Themselves with the State of Ohio

      TOLEDO, Ohio, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (OCAGV) is surprised and pleased that the Ohio legislators and the National Rifle Association, NRA, are encouraging gun owners to publicly identify themselves.

      The Ohio Senate today passed a bill, Amended Substitute Bill HB 329, with a vote of 28-0, creating a National Rifle Association license plate. The license plate will be issued on completion of registration with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

      In all the considerations of bills concerning firearms in the state of Ohio, secrecy has been one of the most important issues to the gun lobby. Earlier this year, the Ohio legislators passed a bill allowing the secret and hidden carrying of concealed weapons.

    As licensees victimized by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, Lorain Morning Journal, NBC24Toledo, Sidney Daily News, Toledo City Paper, Troy Daily News and Warren Tribune Chronicle unfortunately know all too well, there is NOTHING "secret" about Ohio's concealed carry law as currently written.

      The Ohio Coalition Against Violence Executive Director, Toby Hoover, reacted with surprise to the passage of the bill that authorizes National Rifle Association license plates in Ohio.

      "Now we will see many Ohio gun owners voluntarily register themselves with the state of Ohio," Hoover said in response to passage of the bill. "I am a bit astonished, given the strong opposition of the NRA to registering gun owners. But soon we'll know who has the guns by the license plates on their cars."

    The fact that Ohioans can voluntarily purchase these plates to support their favorite charity is MUCH different than the Ohio Concealed Handgun License. Reporters can't abuse a loophole in Ohio law by requesting the date of birth, county of residence, or name of persons who purchase these plates, in order to publish their names as an intimidation ploy.

    Thousands upon thousands of Ohioans already proudly promote their support for the Second Amendment and the NRA (and for OFCC!) with bumper stickers placed on their personal vehicles. Such proud displays offer Americans the opportunity to see that there are many more of us than Hoover would like the world to believe. As does the concealed carry licensure law, these license plates offer elected officials many of them is there really are.

      "An NRA license plate will, ironically, be helpful to our police," Hoover added. "When they see the NRA symbol, they'll know that the driver may be packing heat in his car and take appropriate precautions."

      The registration of these plates by gun owners will now serve the safety of Ohioans by providing identification to law enforcement, other drivers, employers, and neighbors.

    Ms. Hoover is well aware that this bill offers no new assistance to law enforcement officers, who are able to obtain information regarding a drivers' status as a CHL-holder by scanning their license plate. Hoover also should admit by now (as Ohio's law enforcement organizations do) that these law-abiding citizens are not the ones of whom to fear at traffic stops.

      "Unfortunately the revenue from these plates will further finance the powerful NRA instead of contributing to violence prevention. Funding conflict resolution or giving funds to survivors of gun violence -- as well as trauma centers that routinely deal with gun shot injuries -- would have been more appropriate," said Toby Hoover, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

    Funds from these plates will not "finance the powerful NRA", as Hoover inaccurately claims. Instead, these funds will be used to promote firearms safety in Ohio by funding the NRA Foundation State Fund Account for Ohio. The fund will be used for Foundation-related projects such as youth hunter education, firearms safety training and shooting range development.

    The NRA has done better than any other organization for the past 100+ years at promoting fireams safety. If the people who buy these plates are gun owners, why wouldn't the funds go back to support those who made the plates possible? That's exactly how every other vanity plate works. If Hoover wants a plate to fund to support her causes, she should lobby for an OCAGV plate. Judging by support for her efforts in the past, however, we suspect demand would be rather low...

      The Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence is a statewide non-profit organization with a mission to reduce and prevent gun violence by fostering a culture of non-violence in our communities.

    Ohioans For Concealed Carry is a statewide non-profit organization with a mission to reduce and prevent gun violence by fostering a culture of non-violence in our communities too.

    We support efforts to use existing laws to disarm criminals. And because no such efforts can work 100% of the time, we support giving the law-abiding citizenry in Ohio every opportunity to protect themselves if attacked.

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