Democrats shedding pro-gun mantle already?

By Ken Hanson

The vote totals from November are not even official in all races yet and a few Ohio Democrats are already giving gun owners reason to question their commitment to firearm rights.

This past November, Democrats took control of statewide offices due, in part, to finally running pro-gun candidates. In fact, the two statewide races considered upsets, Attorney General and State Auditor, were races in which a pro-gun/anti-gun choice was presented, and the underdog pro-gun candidate won. Unfortunately, the veto override vote on HB347 has begun to raise the question of whether Ohio's Democrats were only pulling a Taft - talking a pro-gun game but not being there when the votes were needed.

Heading the Democratic party in Ohio and at the top of the list of disappointments is Chris Redfern. Chris Redfern voted for HB347 when originally considered by the House and when considered by the House on concurrence (where there were comfortable majorities to hide within). However, when it came down to overriding the veto of the opposing party's Governor, his vote vanished.

Next on the list is NRA A+ rated Democrat John Boccieri, who is moving to the Senate next session. Similar to Redfern, Boccieri voted for HB347 when originally considered by the House and when considered by the House on concurrence. Yet he abandoned gun owners and your gun rights when it came time to override the veto of the opposing party's Governor. What possible explanation can be acceptable to gun owners and gun advocacy groups for voting for a bill twice, when he was one of many, yet changing his vote when the votes needed to be counted a little closer? Beyond the immediate cost and damage to these two Representatives, their actions today damage the façade of Ohio's supposedly pro-gun new Democrats.

Further joining the list of infamy on the day of infamy was Minority Whip Steve Driehaus, who also had voted for it twice before he voted against override. Democrat Clayton Luckie voted for concurrence before voting against override, and Democrat Robert Otterman pulled a "Full Kerry" by voting against original consideration, for concurrence, and against override.

Gun groups and gun owners will be watching very closely the Senate override votes of Senator (Attorney General-elect) Marc Dann, Senator Robert Hagan, Senator Teresa Fedor and Senator Charlie Wilson. Governor-elect Strickland brought into office with him a hope for a new, reformed pro-gun Democratic party in Ohio, yet the first contested vote opportunity showed that at least some Democrats were all talk.

Gun owners have demonstrated their importance and effectiveness on the campaign trail, and have learned that the only way to be taken seriously is to make sure pro-gun candidates run on both sides of the aisle in every race.

Which brings us to Senator Goodman and Senator Stivers, Republicans who each accepted NRA and other gun group backing this past fall and then left gun owners at the altar with votes against HB347. Don't come back until you've redeemed yourselves. In the meantime, we'll be recruiting and screening pro-gun candidates who will keep their word and vote the way they said they would while on the campaign trail.

Ken Hanson is the Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair.

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