Ohio Capitol Journal asks age-old question of Mike DeWine: "Will the politician keep his promise?"

“How do you know a politician is lying? Because their mouth is moving."

"What do you get if you ask a politician to tell 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth'? 3 different answers."

"The vaccine's trial should be done on politicians first. If they survive the vaccine is safe, if they don't the country is safe."

"What's the difference between a politician and a flying pig? The letter 'F'."


There's a reason jokes about lying politicians are as plentiful as dust mites in your grandma's 50-year-old couch.

And that reason is why the Ohio Capitol Journal's Jake Zuckerman recently set about to question Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on his position regarding Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA)-sponsored legislation to bring Constitutional Carry (CC) to Ohio.

From Zuckerman's article, entitled "DeWine made written policy ‘promises’ to the gun lobby. Will he keep them?":

During the gubernatorial campaign in the 2018 Republican primary, Buckeye Firearms Association, a gun rights advocacy group, issued a questionnaire to candidates asking their views on various policy items.

DeWine told BFA verbally and in writing in the questionnaire that he would sign a bill repealing the legal duty to try to retreat before responding to an attack with deadly force, according to remarks from Buckeye Firearms lobbyist Rob Sexton and confirmed by the governor’s spokesman. DeWine also indicated he’d support a permitless carry bill.

In December 2020, a reporter asked DeWine whether he’d sign the “stand your ground” bill lawmakers had just passed removing the duty to retreat. DeWine ignited speculation of a veto when he responded, “they really should focus on what we sent them” — a reference to a modest gun restriction package he proposed after the Dayton shooting. Regardless, he signed the stand your ground bill two weeks later.

Earlier this month in an interview, DeWine said “I have not taken a position” on legislation removing permitting requirements to carry a weapon.


“My attitude toward the bill will depend on what final bill do we get, and it will also depend on, there might be some other things contained in that bill,” he said.

Obviously it is these types of apparent contradictions from politicians that cause people to ask questions. Are they going to keep their word? Are they going to flip-flop?

These are clearly the types of concerns, prompted by Gov. DeWine's recent public comments, that brought Mr. Zuckerman to Gov. DeWine - and to us.

And while we desire to keep our survey results confidential so that candidates can feel comfortable providing honest answers, we will never provide cover for a candidate who tells us what we want to hear on our survey in order to earn a good grade, an endorsement, and most importantly gun owners' votes, only to break that agreement after they get elected.

That's why we answered Mr. Zuckerman's direct question with a direct answer.

On the 2018 BFA-PAC Candidate survey, DeWine was asked the following:

"Constitutional Carry means law-abiding adults can carry firearms openly or concealed anywhere they can legally be without mandated training or licensing. Sixteen other states have successful Constitutional Carry without any issues. Will you support a bill on Constitutional Carry?"

DeWine's answer was unequivocally clear:

"Yes. I will support a constitutional carry bill that passes the General Assembly so long as it preserves Ohio’s licensing system and ensures our citizens can continue to have reciprocity in other states. "

It is this clear and decisive answer to our survey that prompted BFA lobbyist Rob Sexton to tell Zuckerman that he is confident DeWine will do what he said.

“He committed to sign constitutional carry previously,” Sexton said. “Our expectation is that he lives up to his promises because he has before.”


“A lot of our members are very unhappy about his support for Strong Ohio but happy with the duty to retreat,” Sexton said. “As [DeWine] heads toward his re-election campaign, it would be a heck of a message to send gun owners if he signs constitutional carry and emergency powers [another BFA policy goal] in that same year. I think it would send a message that he can be counted on for strong, pro-gun legislation.”

It is obvious from this and other recent articles that anti-self-defense rights extremists are hoping to set up a sort of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" dilemma for DeWine. Again, from the Ohio Capitol Journal:

In 2018, Gov. Mike DeWine told the gun lobby, in writing, that he’d deliver as governor on two major firearms bills if they reached his desk.

One expanded the use of lethal force in self defense. The other allowed Ohio adults to carry concealed weapons without training or a background check.

About a year later, a young man shot and killed nine people and injured 17 in a mass shooting outside a Dayton bar. It was the nation’s second mass killing in a 24-hour period. In the aftermath, DeWine attended the funeral of the father of Dion Green. Green was at the bar with his father that night and watched him die.

After the funeral, the governor handwrote a letter, obtained by the Ohio Capital Journal, to Green. He promised action.

“As governor, I will do everything that I can to see that something positive comes out of this horrible tragedy,” DeWine wrote.

“I believe that we can do things to make everyone safer. While we know that can’t bring your dad back, we (I) owe it to all victims to try.”

Since DeWine has expressed a desire to reduce gun violence and do as much as he can to prevent multiple-victim public mass murders, anti-self-defense extremists like to claim that he would be violating those principles if he follows through on his promise to support a CC bill. But the restoration of law-abiding Ohioans' Constitutional rights and efforts to ensure that criminals who misuse firearms are punished to the full extent of the law are not opposed to one another.

That's because, as has been proven time and time and time again, efforts to restore law-abiding citizens' right to bear arms for self-defense are NOT connected to rates of crimes committed with guns. Criminals, by their very nature and definition, don't care what our laws are. Criminals carry concealed guns now, without a concealed handgun license (CHL), in violation of a statewide ban on the practice. Criminals who are prohibited from even being in possession of a firearm still choose to obtain and carry concealed firearms. Criminal behavior when it comes to firearms won't change with the passage of these new laws - they'll just continue to ignore them and do whatever they want.

There are already innummerable gun control laws in place with which to punish criminals who misused guns in violation of the law. The problem, which Governor DeWine COULD very easily address at the same time he gets busy signing the next round of gun rights legislation sent to him by the General Assembly, is that these laws are not being enforced. (See here and here and here.)

If done correctly, this isn't a lose-lose proposition for the incumbent governor who is seeking reelection - it can be a win-win.

If he is willing to focus his administration's efforts on ensuring that government entities fairly, consistently, and regularly use the crime-fighting tools they already have, Governor DeWine can follow through on his promises to gun owners AND send a strong message that he cares about meaningful action to punish the criminal misuse of firearms.

Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Related Articles:

If Gov. DeWine truly wants to curb repeat offenders with guns, he should start here

Dispatch editorial: "Gun laws pointless if not enforced"

Headline: 'Straw-buyers' in illegal gun buys rarely prosecuted despite crackdown

Opposition to “STRONG Ohio” Remains Strong

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