Serving Up A Big Old Spoonful Of Humility To Anti-Gun Mayors
By Tim Inwood
In our state there are different types of public servants. Some are dedicated to working for the public good and are honest brokers in their offices. Some are political animals that will do what it takes to stay in office. Then there those who are ideological hacks, pushing their own personal agenda no matter what the law says. Today, friends, we are going to focus on the arrogant elected official who wrongly assumes that they are above the law.
After HB12 became law, the good people of Ohio had restored to them their ability to defend themselves; at the same time a campaign was launched to limit that newly recovered means of self-defense. This was spearheaded by our old nemesis Toby Hoover. Ms. Hoover encouraged a number of private enterprises, as well as cities and counties, to begin posting no CCW signs just about everywhere. She frequently gave bad advice as to what was, and what was not, legal. As a result a number of cities went beyond the law, not just posting their buildings, but also parks, parking lots and other public grounds.
Shortly after the Concealed Carry law took effect, my own hometown of Wilmington, Ohio made the mistake of listening to Toby Hoover. While passing the JW Denver Williams Park I noticed a sign, a sign that should not have been posted at the entrance of the park, a handgun complete with red slash through it. My blood boiled.
For the next year I was embroiled in a battle of words with Mayor David Raizk’s office over the phone, in letters and in the editorial pages of the local paper. I warned them that I might take legal action. I was confident of final victory, as I was well aware of the intent of the law. I also pointed out to Mayor Raizk’s office that if we went to court I would do my best to make the citizens of Wilmington realize that the lawsuit was futile from the city’s standpoint, and that the mayor had run up a legal bill for his personal pride at their expense.
Even after Attorney General Jim Petro’s spokesperson Kim Norris said the office had told the City of Wilmington that the signs had to come down, they resisted. I was approached and told David Raizk is a liberal democrat who dislikes guns on a personal level, he was not going to give up without a fight. I was told I should give it up. I told this third party, “I assure you this will not stand, the signs will come down.” The city of Wilmington fought the issue until Attorney General Petro issued his written opinion in the lawsuit against the City of Clyde. With that, Mayor Raizk finally read the handwriting on the wall. He capitulated and took the signs down at the Denver Williams Park, and days later the signs came down at the Clinton County Fairgrounds. I, and the citizens of Clinton County who wished to have a means of protection with them in the city park and fairgrounds, had won the battle.
I was not the only citizen fighting these campaigns. All over Ohio such battles were taking place. In the end, most of these frays were won. Years have passed since my fight with Wilmington, but sadly a number of small towns still are infringing upon the law in a number of ways, particularly with signage issues. As the past President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen’s Association, and the club’s legislative liaison, the membership knows me quite well. They know I am dedicated to the fight and open to helping wherever I can. Frequently, they come to me with questions and issues that concern them where our firearm rights are involved. Over a month ago Eric Henderson approached me to let me know that Mayor Dick Zink of Hillsboro was giving him the run around about the signs posted at three parks in the city. I told him about the battle I had with Wilmington in 2004 and gave him some advice on how to proceed. Weeks passed and yet still the mayor was not being up front with Eric. At one point the Mayor asked Eric, “What’s the big deal?” I was perturbed by the arrogance of this public official. What the big deal was is Ohio law, and his breaking it. I told Eric to ask the Mayor what the reaction of a Hillsboro police officer would be if Eric drove through a 35 MPH section of town at 70 MPH and then asked the police officer after being stopped “What’s the big deal?”
I could see Eric was getting frustrated, so I took it upon myself to contact other Buckeye Firearms Association volunteers in Southwest Ohio and have them call the mayor’s office and make it clear that the issue was not going away;and that the city would have to comply with the law. The Mayor made a half measure by taking down the sign in Liberty Park, but not the other two parks. At this point I called and spoke to the Mayor’s assistant. I was taken aback when she told me they were not sure where all the signs were, or how many there were. I was flabbergasted. I have heard of incompetent government, but this was incredible. They buy the signs, put them up…and have no record of it! For this I lambasted the Zink administration during a radio interview on Sunday June 3rd, with my friend, Calvin Pyle, on his radio show on 1500 AM WBZI in Xenia, Ohio.
I suggested that I really thought the good citizens of Hillsboro needed to look at getting a new city government come the next election. I told the aide that if the other signs were not down by Monday June 4th, there would be a court filing. On Monday, June 4th, I got an email from Eric letting me know the signs were down. This was a victory not so much for Eric and myself; it was a victory for all of the people in Highland County, and for the people of the State of Ohio. I hope the citizens of Hillsboro will thank Eric Henderson for making them all a bit safer.
It has been an amazing year already. The Ohio Legislature passed HB347, which took effect in mid-March and made improvements to our CCW law. However, the job is hardly done. Additional fixes are needed in our current CCW law. We still have too many Criminal Protection Zones. Sadly we also still have arrogant mayors of big and small towns who think they can run their city like a petty fiefdom. They seem to believe that they can ignore, if not outright disobey, Ohio law. In particular, I note that Mayor Jackson of Cleveland has said he will enforce the city’s ban on certain types of semi-automatic firearms. Never mind that in doing that he will violate Ohio state law. He will also trample on the civil rights of the people he prosecutes for owning legal firearms. As this egomaniac intends to ignore the preemption section of the newly enacted law, our friends at the National Rifle Association have launched a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland. I wish them a speedy victory over this conceited man, who thinks he can transgress upon our state law.
Each public official who thinks they can pay no heed to Ohio law had best wake up and realize that the dedicated members of groups like the Buckeye Firearms Association will not let them get away with it. We will do battle with each of these vain politicos if need be.
Friends, if you live in a community with public officials who are flouting the state law, I hope you will contact us at the Buckeye Firearms Association. We welcome getting information about those city and county governments that still think they are not beholden to the law. Please become a Buckeye Firearms Association volunteer and get personally involved in the fight to protect all of our firearm rights. Only working together will we prevail against Toby Hoover, out-of-state political organizations, and anti-gun politicians who are infringing upon our ability to protect ourselves from criminals. Remember, we can only preserve our rights if we work together as a team.
Tim Inwood is the current Legislative Liaison and Past President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen Association, an Endowment Member of the NRA, Life Member of OGCA, and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms Association.