Ohio Gun Owners Critical to National GOP Hopes

By Publius

As we roll into the campaign season for the upcoming fall elections, Ohio is taking on added importance as the national political parties seek to make the Buckeye State a scrimmage for the upcoming Presidential campaign season. With Presidential hopefuls making the photo-op rounds at the Iowa State Fair, nervous eyes are cast upon Ohio, and it isn’t because the Buckeyes are pre-season consensus #1 in college football.

The last month has seen my mailbox, and voice mailbox, fill with increasingly frantic pleas from local, state and national Republican operatives. “THE DEMOCRATS ARE COMING!” While the Ohio conservative could take issue with their 11th hour pleas on many long abandoned grounds (e.g. low taxes/fiscal conservatism, anti-corruption etc. - Taft/Bennett long ago abandoned anything resembling conservative policy) I will limit myself to explaining the abandonment of the conservative Ohio gun owner in an attempt to do my part in getting the party ready for 2008. Maybe, just maybe, we can recover from the whipping we are going to be handed this November in time to improve our chances two years from now.

One hint I would like to pass on to GOP party at the outset: Ohio has passed far more gun control in the past 16 years than gun rights. So you can save all of the “you are hurting the party/you’ll be worse off with Democrats” whining. The Ohio gun owner is interested in gun rights as their identifying issue, not whether there is a “D” or “R” after a candidate’s name.

There is a laundry list of good gun bills pending in the GOP dominated General Assembly, most enjoying strong bi-partisan support. Most have been pending for quite some time, over a year in some cases. These bills are meat-and-potatoes bills to the Ohio conservative, and would be great rallying points for the disillusioned voter. As this website has examined twice in recent weeks (here and here), the Ohio gun voter has a disproportionate impact on election results in Ohio.

Problem solved, right? Just pass a few quick, common-sense laws, rally the troops and on to victory! Alas, it is not to be. Instead, party leaders bemoan those of us who are mad enough at the party to do harm come Election Day. Instead of highlighting the GOP record, party operatives call us with talking points about how bad “the other” guy (or more accurately, his
running mate) is. After all, it is hard to run a positive campaign on your own record when it is as dismal as the Ohio GOP’s.

16 years of controlling the state government with only 1 gun rights bill to show for it, and that one law is the worst shall-issue law in the country. Combine this dismal record with the fact that Democrat gun-issue voters finally have pro-gun choices at the top of their ticket and you have a recipe for disaster for the GOP this fall.

Why is the Ohio GOP failing at something so simple that a 1st semester political science major could figure it out? Bob Taft? Bill Bennett? Bill Harris? At this point, I don’t care. The party as a whole has failed me, so me, my checkbook, my tennis shoes and my phone are sitting this one out. There simply is no plausible excuse why bills such as H.B. 347 have not passed the Ohio General Assembly. (BOTH candidates for Governor have said they would sign the House-passed version, and even the Cleveland Plain Dealer supports firearm preemption.) How can passing a bill both candidates for Governor support possibly harm the GOP come election time? Because Governor Taft, with his 12% approval rating and a criminal conviction, will veto it? Are you are really going to circle the wagons for this lamest of ducks? Yet almost in the same breath you say it is the gun owner’s fault you are trailing in the polls?

We are told to wait until after Election Day.....told that even after Election Day we must accept compromises and accept new felonies on the Ohio license holder in order to get one or two improvements to a tragically flawed law…..told that without law enforcement’s support, a bill will not be called for a vote…..told that Taft will veto the bills…...told that maybe Taft just won’t sign it…..told that x, y and z is needed to sustain a veto override…..told that there aren’t enough votes for a veto override…..told so many contradictory, absurd things that it is hard to believe we are talking to members in the same legislative body.

It is painfully simple. If it was something that the voting gun owner would approve of, we would have these bills considered in the General Assembly before the election. A post-election vote can only mean the Ohio gun owner is once again about to be handed a screwing. Fool me once, twice, three times, shame on me. Fool me four times? No way.

Do you have any grasp on how insulting it is to a gun owner when you tell us we need to create new felonies against gun owners when there have been ZERO problems under our current law, especially when you consider our law is already the most restrictive shall-issue law in the nation?

If gun owners are not getting a vote before the election on all the pending gun bills, it is because we will not like the result. Whether that means Sen. Harris will not bring these gun bills forward for a vote, whether that means Gov. Taft will veto them, whether that means that Representatives do not want to be forced to make on-the-record, us-or-them decision on a veto override……it doesn’t matter. Don’t blame us for calling the situation as it really is.

It all comes back to this - The Ohio GOP is failing the Ohio gun owner. There is no friendly reason that these votes are being delayed until after the election. The Ohio gun-owning voter is not an idiot; we are quite capable of seeing that our problems lay squarely in the hands of the Ohio GOP. So please, (you know who you are), STOP BLAMING THE MESSENGER. The Ohio GOP could remove these objections as an issue this fall in a heartbeat by calling a vote on these bills.

Here’s an idea: Stop screaming at the Ohio gun owner and instead start screaming at the party leadership in Ohio over their delaying and poisoning of these bills! The GOP leadership in Ohio holds the keys to stopping the apathy/rebellion going on among the GOP gun-issue voters, yet they chose not to.

It is simple: Bring the General Assembly back in session and pass some of these common sense reforms before the election. That alone might reenergize your conservative gun owner base. The Ohio GOP record of selling out the gun owner is too well established to be rebutted by anything short of passage of good laws.

Many gun owning Republicans will be content to sit back this fall and watch how many yard signs the Ohio State Highway Patrol can put up, how many phone banks the FOP can staff and how many literature drops the editorial board of a newspaper can make. When the results this November prove the gun owning voter in Ohio is of more value than these people come election time, perhaps we can start fresh with the GOP gun owner in January 2007 with some great bills and see if we can rebuild enough gun owner enthusiasm to save 2008.

In 1787 a young collection of states was struggling with adopting a constitution. Several of our founding fathers felt strongly enough about the issue to write and publish a series of classic papers urging the adoption of the proposed constitution. This series, commonly referred to as The Federalist Papers, was attributed to Publius, a general pen name to protect the authors, but also as a tribute to Publius Valerius Publicoa, Roman counsul largely credited with expulsion of the last king and establishing the Roman Republic. Among his first laws were the legalization of the slaying of any man proclaiming himself king, and providing for a right of appeal to the people by any man condemned by a magistrate.

An unfortunate reality of life is that discussing certain topics or expressing certain opinions will have negative impact on the author, be it personal or professional. Publishing frank discussions (not personal attacks) that deserve examination while maintaining anonymity to protect the livelihood of the author is a proud tradition, and Publius is welcome at buckeyefirearms.org.

Related Story:
The 2006 General Election – A Hobson’s Choice for a GOP Gun Owner

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