Observations from the July OGCA & discussions on Heller

By Tim Inwood

The hot steamy weekend of July 19th was the latest gathering of the Ohio Gun Collectors Association. The show was held at Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio and as always it was the place to be for the serious gun enthusiast. It truly is like going to a museum where the artifacts on display, are also for sale. The issue is always how much money you can bring. Some folks do bring things that are strictly just for display; after all, part of the fun of gun collecting is showing and talking about your treasures.

At the end of my aisle was a fantastic display of LC Smith shotguns. Another fellow had Marine Corps legend General Chester Puller’s Colt 1911 on display. You really do walk amongst history at any OGCA show. I not only enjoy the show for what is displayed but also for the chance to see friends and chance to catch up on things. My old friend Bruce Grapevine, who preceded me as a GOP Central Committeeman for our township, always stops to discuss
the latest political machinations in Columbus and Washington D.C. John Holton from a delightful little gun shop in Xenia called “In the Ten Range” stopped and wanted to follow up on how happy I was with my last purchase from the shop--which as it turns out I am indeed delighted with the pistol. I also got to see my friend Dan Brubaker, a great fellow who donated a Ruger 10/22 rifle to the youth program at my gun club, the CCFSA. The OGCA is something I always enjoy immensely on many levels that goes beyond just being a gun show.

The gathering was well attended and folks were in good spirits. They certainly were more talkative than usual and they had every reason to do so, and I am not just talking about the usual “Did you see the beautiful Colt model of 1855 Revolving rifle in aisle E?” Many wanted to discuss the fair breeze that has carried gun owners into good news as of late.

Since the May show a number of things have happened to put a spring in the step of every gun owner in the Buckeye State.

The signing of SB 184, which improved our concealed carry law, was the first piece of good news we had gotten this summer. This new law, which has been discussed quite a bit on the BFA website, will take effect in September and it will make Ohio’s law much more friendly to CHL holders. Hopefully it will improve things enough that we can pick up additional reciprocity agreements with other states. So I very much look forward to seeing how that all plays out this fall.

The other subject on everyone’s mind was what was happening on the banks of the Potomac River. On June 26 the historic decision from the Supreme Court concerning Dick Heller’s case against Washington D.C. came down. More people were discussing that than the changes we will get here in Ohio in September, but I can’t blame them as the ruling was monumental. Finally after all these years we had confirmation of what we have always believed, that the Second Amendment is indeed a guarantee of an individual right to keep and bear arms.

As the majority opinion was read, the arrogant Mayor of Washington D.C., Adrian Fenty, saw his beloved 32-year-old law banning handguns go down in flames. And well it should have. It directly cost thousands of people their lives as they were denied a means of defense.

As Scalia’s words were released, cries of anguish could be heard coming from various quarters where anti-gun forces congregate. The Eye Street HQ of the Brady Campaign was quick to hide sharp objects, I am sure. Toby Hoover, who heads up the Ohio branch of Cease Fire was likely despondent. She has lost so many battles over the gun issue these past few years, that I would not be surprised if she needed Prozac. You can almost imagine their agony as Justice Scalia gave a lengthy, logical breakdown of history in a lesson that was easy for the layman to understand and a joy to read. In fact I suggest historians like Dr. Saul Cornell read it closely. I listened to him speak last year and I quickly concluded he really needs a refresher course on the subject. I do want to say a copy of his book given to me as a gift has come in handy as a doorstop in our hall bathroom.

Many friends who stopped to talk with me at the show wanted to discuss the Heller decision, but what was not well known is that Dick Heller was denied his ability to register the handgun of his choice. The mainstream media has shown little interest in the fact that the city government in our Nation’s Capitol has decided to play with fire, and I suspect their latest shenanigans will result with the Mayor getting third degree burns.

You see, Mayor Adrian Fenty and his minions have decided to make the new D.C. gun regulations as difficult as possible. While I suspect they think the have merely pushed the envelope to the edges, it is clear they have violated the intent of the Supreme Court ruling. They have written their new law to allow the citizen who has registered their handgun to carry that handgun from room to room in their home, but they have kept the onerous regulation forcing one to keep the gun locked up, unloaded and disabled as well. In other words, the firearm must be put out of action by cable, trigger lock or disassembly, until one feels there is perceptible danger. This bait for another lawsuit, as the Supreme Court said this about that subject: “The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment.” However, it gets worse. The new regulations they have enacted will only register revolvers or single-shot pistols. They will not accept semiautomatic handguns; the District of Columbia has defined self-loading pistols as machine guns. In fact the city has said they will eventually prosecute anyone who physically brings in a semi-auto pistol for registration with having a machine gun!

Now let us return to what happened to Dick Heller. In 2002 Mr. Heller tried to register a High Standard Buntline .22 revolver and was denied.

This time he tried to register a 1911A1 .45acp, which he wisely did not bring in, only to be denied again. This was most unwise for the District as the Supreme Court ruling specifically said “the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.”

Also the Court spoke of firearms in common use for self-defense in the ruling. Semiautomatic handguns make up 73% of handgun sales in the United States. That makes them pretty common under anyone’s understanding of the term. So clearly the City of Washington D.C. has stepped into the quicksand of the law and sunk in over their heads yet again.

When asked about these new regulations in the wake of Mr. Heller being denied again, Mayor Fenty said if they did not like it, they could “sue me”. I think the Mayor, who is the biggest buffoon to govern Washington D.C. since Marion Barry, will indeed get his wishes granted. The question is, when will the citizens of Washington D.C. get tired of idiots like Fenty wasting their money in frivolous court cases which the city will lose? Dick Heller himself has announced a challenge to Eleanor Holmes Norton for the office of delegate to Congress. His victory would certainly be a step in the correct direction for the city, and I want to wish the man whose name should be up there with people like Rosa Parks in this latest civil rights struggle, the best of luck in that race.

Tim Inwood is the current Legislative Liaison and Past President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen Association, an Endowment Member of the NRA and Life Member of the OGCA, and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms Association.

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