Of Sponsors, Co-sponsors, and others
By Jim Irvine
SB184 and HB264 have been assigned to good committees. SB184 is in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, which is chaired by our good friend Tim Grendell (R-18), and HB264 is in the House Criminal Justice Committee, chaired by our long time supporter Bob Latta (R-6).
Looking at the list of co-sponsors, it is important to know who our strongest friends are. These are the people who are leading the fight to reform our current ill-conceived firearms laws.
What does having your name on the list of co-sponsors mean, and why is it so important?
Click ‘Read More’ for the entire story and all original co-sponsors for Ohio's Castle Doctrine legislation.
SB184 and HB264 seek to make two important changes to Ohio law. First, return the presumption of innocence to crime victims. Second, stop criminals, or their families, from attacking victims a second time through the court system with civil lawsuits.
This is not controversial. No person, and no organization, should be opposed to self-defense. Nor should anyone insist that criminals should profit by suing their victims who successfully stopped their attack.
The primary sponsor of the bill is the one who will “carry the water” as the session moves on. They must answer every critic who gains the ear of another legislator, even though many of them seek nothing but to poison a good bill. Senator Steve Buehrer and Representative Lynn Wachtmann are two great individuals who will make you proud as they move their legislation forward. Just as Representative Jim Aslanides (R-94) was the key person with passing concealed carry and statewide preemption, Buehrer and Wachtmann are the key men who will work tirelessly to reform our self-defense laws.
The list of co-sponsors is long. On the Senate side we have Senators Faber, Grendell, Niehaus, Stivers, Padgett, Carey,
Goodman, Mumper, Clancy, Schuring, Schaffer, Schuler, Cafaro, Kearney, and Gardner.
On the House side we have Representatives Brinkman, Goodwin, Evans, Gibbs, McGregor, R., Flowers, Huffman, Bubp, Adams, Latta, Batchelder, Webster, Setzer, Fessler, Garrison, Hagan, J., Aslanides, Jones, Hagan, R., Widener, Mandel, Peterson, Seitz, Reinhard, Zehringer, Daniels, Bolon, Stewart, J., Uecker, Schindel, Schlichter, Blessing, Patton, and Hottinger.
Anyone can introduce a bill, but without support from others it will die. A long list of co-sponsors is a clear sign that there is broad support for a bill. When a majority of the House and Senate co-sponsor a bill, it becomes clear that there are enough votes to pass the legislation. The longer the list of co-sponsors, the harder it becomes to stop, obstruct, ruin, poison or kill legislation. Co-sponsors are the ones that help keep good legislation from being hijacked or derailed in route to becoming law. They are strong friends to the cause.
Are your elected officials listed above? If they are, they are strong supporters. You should thank them when you see them in district, or even send them a letter of thanks. Generally, letters and emails are preferred over phone calls to express thanks.
Those that do not co-sponsor legislation are often opposed to it, or sometimes they simply don’t care about it one way or the other. Another reason might be that they don’t believe the legislation will remain “clean” as it moves through the legislative process. HB12 from the 125th legislative session is a clear example. A good concealed carry bill was amended to require guns to be carried in “plain sight” in cars, and many other onerous and even dangerous restrictions. Still, our best friends will sign on early and fight to protect our bill, not jump on the bandwagon after others have done the hard work.
If your elected officials are not on the list, you need to politely ask why. Call their office, write them letters, get other friends involved to ask them too, and talk to them at events in your district. Politely let them know that this is important legislation and that you would like their support. If they claim to be a friend of gun owners, let them know you expect their full support.
Not sure who your elected officials are? Click here to find out.
Do not let them tell you that they “didn’t know” about this legislation. They did. Every member of the House and Senate received a request for co-sponsors. I personally called every Buckeye Firearms Association endorsee that was not already a co-sponsor and asked them to co-sponsor these bills. Further, the staffs of Buehrer and Wachtmann were also actively seeking co-sponsors. Anyone who is not on this list is there for one simple reason – they chose to not be on the list of people who strongly support crime victims and against criminals who commit acts of violence against others.
There are two notable exceptions. As leaders of their respective branches, Senate President Bill Harris and Speaker of the House Jon Husted generally do not co-sponsor bills when they are introduced. While some do not like this practice, it was established as precedent before either of these individuals were elected to leadership.
When this bill passes, you will see many more people add their name to the list of co-sponsors. While we thank all supporters who vote for good legislation, it’s important to remember our best friends who were with us from the beginning.