Brady Campaign's Paul Helmke coming to Columbus to honor two anti-gun politicians

By Chad D. Baus

We haven't found it on anywhere the Internet, including the Brady bunch or Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence (OCAGV) website, but Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman's office has confirmed the accuracy of the following email invitation, which was forwarded to us by a supporter:

Please join me, and Virginia Tech survivor Colin Goddard, as we present the Life Award to Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman and the Columbus City Council President Michael Mentel for their work on the prevention of gun violence in the city of Columbus.

As the former Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, I know how hard mayors and councilmembers work to keep their communities safe. I am pleased to come to Columbus to honor Mayor Coleman and Council President Mentel.


Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Reception: 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Where: The Athletic Club of Columbus
136 E. Broad St.
Columbus, OH

Click here to view the location.

A $50 contribution to the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence is requested. You can RSVP by calling 419-244-7442 or by emailing [email protected] .

Both Mentel and Coleman have certainly worked hard to earn the Brady recognition, but I doubt the end result of their efforts will be told at the fundraiser.

Mayor Coleman vigorously opposed passage of Ohio's concealed carry law, and on the day it took effect in 2004 he staged a press conference next to a jungle gym, lamenting the fact that the city was unable to "protect children" by posting signs banning concealed handgun license-holders. Coleman called Ohio's concealed carry law "a travesty for our city and for our state."

Mayor Coleman's anti-gun rhetoric again became an issue in Columbus during debate over the Columbus Assault Weapons (Mentel) Ban, and eventually played a part in his withdrawal in late 2005 from the gubernatorial race in Ohio, having failed to gain traction against the pro-gun Ted Strickland.

Councilman Mentel was the author of the infamous Mentel Ban - Columbus City Code 2323.11(G) - which mislabeled many semi-automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns as "assault weapons," and banned their possession within the city limits.

During debate over the measure in 2005, OCAGV board members Jonathan Groner and Rosetta Craig testified in favor. (It is not clear that they made their affiliation with OCAGV known to the council or the media at the time - a common tactic of the organization.)

After the city council's passage of the bill, which had the support of and was signed into law by Mayor Coleman later that same year, the National Rifle Association cancelled plans to hold its 2007 members convention in the city, a move that cost the city an estimated $20 million. (In this tough economic climate, it seems Coleman may have lived to regret his words at the time, when he claimed that "Columbus didn't need the NRA's 20 million dollars".)

The story that likely will not be told at the Brady/ OCAGV event is that the Mentel Ban, which failed (see here and here and here) to achieve its goal of stopping crimes with so-called "assault weapons", is dead, thanks to the hard work of gun rights activists and passage of HB347, which preempted local gun control laws throughout the state - a law which was also vigorously opposed by both Coleman and Mentel.

Nor will attendees be told that the bill resulted in the long-awaited return of the Gun Show to Columbus.

Nor will Mr. Helmke inform attendees of the absolute success of Ohio's concealed carry program, which passed over their collective objections.

It seems that the Brady bunch is coming to Columbus to award two people who, at the end of the day, haven't accomplished anything at all.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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