Ohio's ''Everyman for Governor'' states his case for firearms rights

Ohio's 2006 gubernatorial race has already been a politics junkie's dream, and promises to offer even greater fixes as the primaries grow closer.

Whether they are consumers or business owners tired of ever-increasing taxes, or gun owners stung by years of having to fight a Republican governor over pro-gun legislation, poll after poll shows that Mr. & Mrs. Ohio are tired of the status quo, and really tired of Bob Taft's liberal brand of Republicanism.

There is one man who is hoping Ohioans are so fed up that they'll make a historic decision to nominate someone who has never before served in public office to top the Republican ticket in November 2006.

Pete Draganic is that man, and after he made a recent trip to my neck of the woods in northwest Ohio, I decided it was time to find out more about Mr. Draganic.

Following is a copy Pete shared with me of an exchange between he and another pro-gun Ohioan on many of the most current firearms-related issues of concern to voters. As he has done since he first declared his candidacy, Ohio's "everyman" breaks with conventional political "wisdom", and takes the novel approach of answering detailed questions with detailed answers.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

Following is a transcript of a very recent email (provided to us by Mr. Draganic) in which he replied to a series of questions from another pro-gun Ohioan. Below you will see bold text of the original questions and indented text of his answers.


What is Pete's familiarity with firearms, ownership, and shooting?

    I have owned and shot both long guns and handguns all of my life. My father was an avid hunter when I was a kid and I’ve always enjoyed the sport. I still own handguns but have not hunted in some years due to the lack of time on my part and the distance and difficulty of finding good hunting grounds near the Cleveland area (I do still fish regularly with my boys, especially my oldest who will be 14 in October).

    I was also a bondsman for about 6 years during which time I arrested approximately 700 felons and returned them to prison. In the course of that duty I was shot and nearly killed. I understand the value, responsibility and gravity of gun ownership and use at a level that many do not.

Was Pete in favor of or opposed to Ohio's Concealed Handgun law?

    I strongly support the right of law-abiding citizens to own and carry handguns. I was always bothered by Ohio’s refusal to allow its good citizen to exercise that right, especially in light of our state constitution, which is very clearly worded as to our right to do so.

Is Pete familiar enough with the law to list problems with the legislation he'd like to see fixed, if at all?

    I admit that I have not studied the law to that degree but I do have problems with the idea that someone can be charged with “improperly” carrying a firearm while they are licensed to do so and as a result they can lose their right. The law seems almost designed to allow the right to be exercised while at the same time intimidating those who do so.

Ohio's State Constitution has a clause in it about firearms. Article I, Section 4. What is Pete's interpretation of this clause and how far should it go in preventing state or local ordinances?

    I am the only candidate that has a link to the Ohio Constitution on their website. One of the main reasons is so that people may become more informed of their rights as an Ohioan. Many people forget that we have a state constitution, independent of our US Constitution. Furthermore, I’ve often argued that the state constitutions, such as Ohio’s, offer proof as to the perception of what the 2nd amendment guaranteed at the time it was written.

    Anyhow, the Ohio Constitution states: The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power"

    This excerpt “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security” is as emphatically clear as one could ever want it to be.

    The state and localities should be limited in their ability to regulate such a right in a manner reasonably consistent with maintaining the guarantee of our state constitution. Yes, there are reasonable nuances in this matter but that is the subject of detailed and lengthy discussion better suited for another time.

18 year old men and women in Ohio are defending our country with weapons that belong to the United States Government. When they return to Ohio they are prohibited from owning a handgun until they're twenty-one. Where does Pete stand on this?

    I do see two sides to this proverbial coin. While I might trust the discretion of an 18 year-old that is also a soldier, there are many ordinary 18 year olds that are too immature or reckless. This is a tough one for a quick response. Perhaps an extended educational course for those under a certain age might be advisable for number of reasons. If 18-year-old hotheads were the primary source of gun troubles it would create a bad image for all CHL holders and would therefore serve as justification to those who wish to limit the rights of responsible gun owners.

    This is a facet of the issue that I would have to spend more time with and discussion about.

In Ohio, due to Home Rule and over 100 years of case law, local governments have passed a patchwork quilt of gun laws that conflict or confuse the law abiding citizen as they travel from community to community. For instance, a rifle that is legal to possess in Lakewood becomes illegal the minute you drive across the border into Cleveland, even if you don't realize you did it. What is Pete's solution to this complicated situation for the lawful gun owner?

    We must have uniform gun ordinances, on a statewide level, that protect the rights of gun-owners. It is unreasonable to require a citizen to be knowledgeable of every fine distinction of related laws in every single municipality that they pass through.

What is Pete's position on a -lawful- citizen twenty-one years of age or older, possessing a holstered firearm while they're in one of these locations:

  • A highway rest stop or the bathroom facility of
  • A public park
  • Any public park in Ohio including those with trails, jogging paths, and other secluded areas
      Any person, duly licensed of course, should be allowed to carry a holstered handgun in any of the above public locations. It is unreasonable to cause one to have to constantly remove and secure their handgun each time they enter a public area. If these people are responsible enough to carry a handgun down the street what is any different about these listed locations?
  • A restaurant that happens to serve alcohol that is not consumed?
      I think that is up to the restaurant initially. However it is also the right of a citizen to not patronize an establishment that enforces such restrictions.

      I suppose your question more so deals with the concept of alcohol being present and the respective law. In this matter it is reasonable to allow one to carry a firearm into a restaurant who serves alcohol as a secondary service but I would uphold the restriction in any establishment who’s primary business is the serving of alcohol.

      If a person were partaking of alcohol while they were in possession of a firearm, then they would be held accountable for such an infraction as would anyone else who cannot follow the law in any other aspect of life.

  • A day care, while they're picking up their kids
  • A college campus, dorm, or parking lot
    The parking lot of an employer, locked safely in a car?
  • The parking lot of a building that denies entry if you're in possession of a firearm, even if that parking lot is a public parking lot
    1. All of the four preceding would be perfectly acceptable places to carry a firearm, provided that these private establishments did not restrict such a right (which goes back to choice in patronage) Furthermore, it should not be a crime to carry a firearm in any of these locations even if the particular business restricted that right. I would see this as the equivalent of a minor infraction such as jaywalking or even speeding, which is a finable offence but not a criminal act.

    Finally, there are two types of people in society when it comes to possessing a firearm. Can Pete name the two and distinguish the difference between them?

      Gee, that is somewhat of an open question to which I could work up some rather opinionated responses but I will settle with the two types being pro-gun and anti-gun.

      Essentially these two groups represent those who A) feel that responsible and good people can be trusted with the right of gun ownership and B) everyone is too incompetent to be trusted with this right.

      Group A believes that people can be dangerous while group B believes that guns are dangerous.
      Ironically, when stuff hits the fan, group B is hoping that group A saves them.

      I personally am a big believer in personal responsibility. All responsible people have rights that are sometimes very important and requiring of great responsibility. We keep these rights as individuals unless we prove to society that we are incapable of retaining such privileges individually, in which case a person is then stripped of the rights that they cannot properly and responsibly perform. Yet others should never be made to give up the rights that they have responsibly exercised due to the negligence of others.

      Pete Draganic
      Pete Draganic for Governor

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