Richard Cordray, another Ohio Democrat who “gets it”

By Ken Hanson

Those who have received our voter guide or read our website recently are aware that this PAC has endorsed Sandra O’Brien, Republican candidate for State Treasurer. In fact, one of the proudest achievements of this primary season was the grassroots effort that helped propel Sandra O’Brien to victory over anti-gun, Bob Bennett-anointed Jeanette Bradley. This is not meant to be a slight to her opponent, Richard Cordray, who is another Democrat this season who supports gun rights in Ohio.

I first encountered Richard Cordray, currently Franklin County Treasurer, in law school when I took his State Government class. To say he is an exceptionally bright attorney is an exercise in understatement, as his 5-time Jeopardy Champion status attests to. Although he is running for Treasurer, an office not directly impacting firearm rights, it is important to present his opinions and positions on firearms to our readers and donors so that they get to know Mr. Cordray a little better. Typically, Treasurer is a “stepping stone” position for future office, and it would not be unexpected to see Mr. Cordray on the statewide ballot in the future. After seeing him at the USSA banquet this past month, I contacted the campaign to interview Treasurer Cordray so we could add his pro-gun profile to this website.

Although the NRA-ILA does not issue endorsements in the Treasurer’s race, Rich has received the endorsement of the NRA in past runs for office where endorsements were issued. Rich grew up in rural Central Ohio, always in Townships where hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting were common, and still lives on unincorporated Township land. In fact, Rich was in the state legislature when Ohio passed the Township Home Rule provision and was heavily involved in that process. It is notable that the Township Home Rule provision does not allow the local regulation of firearms, something that he believes need to be applied statewide, “To me, uniformity makes sense. In Franklin County, for example, you can literally go one tenth of a mile and be facing a different set of laws. Standard, statewide firearm laws are needed to be fair to Ohio’s citizens and unwary visitors to our state.”

Rich is a strong, lifelong conservationist. One of the striking things that stood out to me about Professor Cordray was his apology to class one day when he was late to class. He had passed a Heron on his property that appeared to be in some distress in a marshy area, and had stayed to make sure the bird was OK. Although not an active hunter himself, he supports hunting not just as a logical extension of conservation policy, but also as a preservation of our heritage. “Hunting is a way of life, not a hobby. The dedicated hunter, whether carrying on a family tradition or simply supplementing the food in the refrigerator due to dire need, is one of the foundations of our country.”

As an extension of his support for this heritage, Rich supports the right of people to keep and bear arms for self defense, not just target shooting. Commenting on the slate of candidates and how they are fairing thus far, he ventured “With Ted (Strickland,) Marc (Dann) and myself on the ticket, I think it is legitimate to say that part of the Democrat’s resurgence in Ohio is demonstrating that we, as a party, are running candidates who support gun rights. The concealed carry law, which I support, is an excellent example of how the ‘wild, wild west’ predictions were way off base, and it isn’t the law abiding citizen gun owner that we should be worried about.”

This PAC stands behind our endorsement of Sandra O’Brien. However, in fairness to our readers, gun owners need to know that the race for Treasurer is another ‘win-win’ race for the Ohio gun owner.

For those wishing further information on Richard Cordray, including qualifications for the office of Treasurer (this article deliberately only deals with firearm views) you can visit his website at

Ken Hanson is Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair and author of The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws.

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