GOP gubernatorial primary contest heats up as Coughlin questions Kasich's Second Amendment record

By Chad D. Baus

State Senator Kevin Coughlin, the first person to declare his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the 2010 governor's race, is circulating an email designed to bring the Second Amendment to the front and center of early GOP primary discussions.

The email, delivered under the subject header "Can we trust Kasich on Second Amendment rights?," contains a fundraising letter that documents Coughlin's strong record of support for gun rights, while calling into question his Republican opponent's record.

The email begins as follows:

When They Come for Our Guns.... Our Next Governor Should Protect Our Freedoms.

June 2009

Dear Friend,

We are living through the biggest expansion of government power most of us will see in our lifetimes. Our businesses and our families are at risk of government intrusion like never before.

Once the liberals have nationalized vital industries, trampled states rights, and made government the monopoly health care provider for all it's only a matter of time before they come to take our guns away.

Next year, Ohio will elect a governor. And in a strange twist, a potential Republican nominee is WEAKER on Second Amendment rights than the Democratic governor seeking re-election!

You didn't read that wrong. If John Kasich is the Republican candidate for governor of Ohio, the Democrat on the ballot will have the stronger pro-gun record.

That's because while in Congress, John Kasich voted FOR the centerpiece of Bill Clinton's gun control agenda - H.R. 3355 banning assault weapons. That's only after telling Ohioans that he would protect their Second Amendment Rights.

Isn't it time that we stop electing talkers and start electing people who will stand by their words? The freedoms we enjoy and the state we love cannot afford more professional talkers.

The email goes on to discuss Coughlin's concerns about Democrat Governor Ted Strickland, and then returns to the subject of the Second Amendment:

Unlike some politicians, my actions on protecting our Second Amendment rights match my words.

√ I voted for Ohio's concealed carry law.
√ I voted for the Castle Doctrine allowing for the use of lethal force against intruders.
√ I've voted to ease restrictions on our concealed carry law.
√ And I support current legislation removing the ban on self defense while dining.

I've voted with gun owners on EVERY Second Amendment vote I've cast. And I have been proud in past elections to have been supported by the Buckeye Firearms Association, the National Rifle Association, and others.

The letter concludes with Couglin making his case for why he believes he is the better Republican candidate to challenge Ted Strickland's 2010 re-election bid, and then adds this post script:

PS: Anyone can say they are pro-Second Amendment. It's the record that counts. Republicans cannot risk forfeiting pro-gun voters to Ted Strickland by nominating John Kasich. Ohio cannot afford the risk of having a governor who does not respect our rights.

The Kasich campaign has not (yet?) responded.

Thus far, both candidate's official campaign websites are silent on Second Amendment-related issues.

The Coughlin campaign has not yet posted the text of the letter on the campaign website,, nor does the website have any other mention of Second Amendment-related issues.

Likewise, the Kasich campaign website,, turns up narry a mention of phrases such as "second amendment," "gun rights," "firearm," "hunting rights," "shooting rights," "concealed carry," or "self-defense."

Nor, for that matter, does either candidate's website mention "assault weapon," "gun control," "gun ban," "gun show loophole," or "gun registration."

Although their websites are currently quiet on the issue, Sen. Coughlin's email all but ensures that will not be the case for long.

Chad Baus is a Member of the Fulton County, OH Republican Central Committee and the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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