Ohio Constitution "modernization" panel moves ahead; BuckeyeFirearms.org readers react

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission (OCMC), an obscure group whose Bill of Rights and Voting Rights Committee is considering "modernizing" the "right to bear arms" section of Ohio's consitution, is ready to move ahead after more than two years of slow, bureaucratic ground work.

From the article:

Steven Hollon understands the frustration some observers have thus far with the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission.

The 32-member panel, formed more than 2 1/2 years ago to give the state Constitution its first thorough examination in 40 years and suggest changes, has yet to offer a recommendation.

It took several months to get the 20 public members of the commission named (the rest are lawmakers). And while committees have been meeting for about 15 months, it took legislative leaders until this spring to name an executive director — after rebooting the process because they could not agree on initial finalists.


Hollon...would not predict when the commission would act. He’s also aware that Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, who spearheaded the effort to create the commission, has said it is important to him that the panel produce at least one recommendation before he leaves at the end of the year because of term limits.

News that the OCMC was considering an attempt to make changes to the "right to bear arms" section of Ohio's consitution prompted an immediate response on our Facebook page.

  • "That's dangerous. Thanks for keeping us informed."
  • "Always remain vigilant. The OH constitution's 2nd Amendment is perfect as is."
  • "Plain talk is easy understood ( shall not be infringed ) is pretty plain. Don't need a lawyer to figure that out now do we."

The section which the panel is considering attempting to change states as follows:

§ 1.04 Bearing arms; standing armies; military powers (1851)

The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Several Facebook commenters also questioned the root of the effort to change this section, and the source of the commission's power.

  • "If it is not broken; where does the need to fix it come from?"
  • "Ten people in a room making decisions that could impact every one of us here in Ohio with no constituent representation? Talk about backdoor politics."

Judging by comments from the Bill of Rights and Voting Rights Committee members as reported by the Gongwer News Service in June, the desire to "fix" it comes straight out of a mistaken belief that the right to bear arms is somehow responsible for "the current situation with the shootings in the school and so forth," as well as the mistaken belief that an inalienable right that has been recognized in our state constitution since 1802 is somehow out-dated.

Fortunately, the Dispatch report reveals that there will in fact be extensive accountability placed upon this commission. Indeed, any recommendation for changes by the commission takes a three-fifths vote of the Ohio legislature to place an issue on the statewide ballot, which then of course would require a majority vote of the people before the Constitution was amended.

Members of the Bill of Rights and Voting Rights Committee can be found here.

Members of the entire OCMC can be found here.

Buckeye Firearms Association will be keeping a VERY close eye on the OCMC's actions in the future, and we hope you will take the time to share your thoughts now. Commission members need to know that ANY proposal to weaken our state constitution's recognition of our right to bear arms for defense and security will be met with vigorous grassroots objection.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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