Ohio gun rights improved in 2008; Much more still to be done

By Jim Irvine

Recently I helped our treasurer go through line by line all our donations for a campaign finance report. It struck me how many of you had donated, and how much some people donated. Thank you. It means a great deal that you put such trust in our group of leaders - who I promise will continue to work and earn that trust.

Our educational corporation, Buckeye Firearms Foundation has received final approval from the IRS for our non-profit status. Thus donations to the Foundation are tax deductible, and the Foundation can also accept corporate donations which the PAC (Buckeye Firearms Association) is prohibited from accepting. (To donate, simply mail checks to the same address, but made payable to "Buckeye Firearms Foundation" instead of "Association")

The Association is a PAC, so it can use its money to influence elections, lobby for better laws and such. All donations and expenses are public record. No corporate donations permitted. Donations not tax-deductible.

The Foundation paid expenses for the Heller brief, but is now in need of funding for future lawsuits against cities who can't figure out what "statewide preemption" means or learn from Ohio Supreme Court rulings. It sponsors the radio show, and has spent considerable time and money educating legislators. Of course with some 40 freshman legislators taking the oath in Columbus this month, the work starts again. We are also looking to teach and arm citizens who might not otherwise be able to afford a gun for protection, but who are more likely to need it than most of us. We need some corporate funding and personal donations are tax-deductible.

There is a complete 2008 Year in Review outline below, but I want to highlight a few things.

With your help in the past year:

  • We filed a well-respected brief in the District of Columbia v. Heller case, which saw the U.S. Supreme Court affirm your individual right to own a firearm. The importance of that ruling, while narrow by design, can not be overstated. Our brief was given written kudos by everyone from The National Journal to pro-Second Amendment leaders David Kopel and David Hardy.
  • We worked tirelessly to pass an amended SB184, which solved the worst problems in our firearms and concealed carry laws. For the first time we defined a loaded gun, and gave everyone the ability to legally transport firearms in vehicles. We made so many improvements the NRA called the bill the most far reaching bill (except for passing "shall issue" laws) they have passed at the state level in decades. Most importantly, we gave up nothing. This is the way gun bills should be.
  • We passed HB450, restoring firearms rights to military persons aged 18-21, qualified those 21 and over either from or based in Ohio for a CHL, and we killed a last minute amendment that would have seen the fee for a CHL dramatically increased.
  • Accomplishing either of the first two would have been a good year, but getting them both done and the third to boot is amazing. We also hosted a Dave Grossman seminar, a shooting event, multiple local gatherings, won the NRA's "Grassroots organization of the year" award, had success at the ballot box and many other fun and important accomplishments. Several years ago someone tasked me to set a fundraising goal for the year. Audaciously, I set the goal at $25,000, and we fell well short. But last year we far exceeded it, and I think used it wisely to further our restoration of your rights.
  • We also worked hard representing gun owners in a positive way in the media. Representatives of Buckeye Firearms Assoc. appeared as guests on NRANews at least twenty times in 2008. Several of our region leaders participated in the filming of FX Networks reality-based show. Articles by our amazing team of writers were republished by WorldNetDaily and by the online website of Concealed Carry Magazine, and as well as being published in the print version of that magazine and also S.W.A.T. Magazine. Media from across Ohio, the nation, and around the world turned to Buckeye Firearms Association for expertise on gun rights issues. And who could forget shout-outs from high-profile blog sites including Infowars.com, Wayne LaPierre's "What They Didn't Tell You Today, MichelleMalkin.com and Newsbusters.org (many, many more examples here).

We did this by working with other groups who share our goals, and through the volunteers who make this work. Your work, your time, your personal relationships combined with many others is why we had a good year. Thank you for being part of our team and for standing up to be counted and for doing the little things that really do add up to our collective ability to change the world.

I once received a phone call from someone who never did anything to help us in any way. But he got a CHL and carried a gun. One day he used that gun to save his life. He called to say thanks and that he thinks about our work that enabled him to tuck his kids into bed each night because we assisted in restoring his right to carry that gun.

On Christmas Eve, I spent some time wondering how many families were having a joyous time instead of sad one because they are all alive and well, because of the progress we have made. It's not just about defeating evil when it comes knocking, it's about extending a child's innocence so that they don't even have to learn about evil yet, or deal with the loss of a parent/guardian/mentor. What a gift we are collectively able to give. That is a prime motivator for me to keep doing this work. Thanks for all you do to support that effort. It is personal to me, and your trust and involvement matters more to me more than I could ever express.

Buckeye Firearms Association 2008 Year in Review


Attorney General Marc Dann asks the Ohio Supreme Court to throw out the city of Clyde's challenge to Ohio's concealed handgun licensure law.

Rep. Bruce Goodwin introduces HB450, legislation that would restore gun rights to members of the armed services or the Ohio National Guard who are between the ages of 18 and 21.

Presidential-hopeful John McCain hires recently-ousted, anti-gun Ohio Senator Mike DeWine to be his campaign chair in Ohio, and signals he would be considered for the job of Attorney General in a McCain administration.

Anti-gun briefs are filed in District of Columbia v. Heller by the District of Columbia and the Bush Department of Justice. The U.S. Supreme Court schedules oral arguments case for March 18th.

The Ohio House of Representatives, under the sponsorship of Representative Tom Patton, House District 18, issues a proclamation of congratulations to Buckeye Firearms Association on being named the 2007 Grassroots Organization of the Year by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.


Buckeye Firearms Association issues 2008 primary endorsements.

Buckeye Firearms Association volunteer Bob Harsanje offers proponent testimony before the Ohio House Finance & Appropriations Committee on House Bill 473, which would, among other things, create mobility impaired access lanes on various public hunting lands of the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Long-time Buckeye Firearms Assocation volunteer Leader Larry S. Moore is named the League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year.

Buckeye Firearms Foundation files "friend of the court", or amicus, brief, in District of Columbia v. Heller. The State of Ohio also officially joins, submitting a Writ of Certiorari in support of the pro-Second Amendment position.

Presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney suspends campaign, endorses rival John McCain.

A deranged man using a shotgun and two handguns shoots over 15 people (killing seven) at Northern Illinois university, a "gun-free" zone. It is (at least) the fourth shooting in a week in "gun-free" school zone.


The 2008 primary elections end on an encouraging note for Ohio gun owners in the races for which Buckeye Firearms Association made endorsements and recommendations.

Buckeye Firearms Assoc.-endorsed Senate Bill 209/ House Bill 473 passes overwhelmingly in the legislature. The bill creates mobility-impaired access lanes on various public hunting lands of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and allows mobility impaired, licensed individuals to hunt from such lanes with a special permit via electric-powered all-purpose vehicles or in a stationary road vehicle.

Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair Ken Hanson delivers testimony Thursday before the House Criminal Justice Committee in support of 'Castle Doctrine' legislation.

The Supreme Court of Ohio announces it will hold an oral argument on the merits in the case of Ohioans for Concealed Carry Inc. et. al v. City of Clyde et. al. [Case No. 07-0960] on Wednesday, April 9, 2008.

The Supreme Court hears the Heller case. Most in the Supreme Court chamber seem to agree that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. The issues most in contention include the meaning of the words “keep” and “bear,” and whether the amendment protects the possession of arms only during militia service or also for self-defense; whether a total ban on handguns is a “reasonable” regulation of firearms; whether restrictions on the right to arms should be subject to “strict scrutiny,” or legislatures or courts should be able to decide what is “reasonable;” and what kinds of regulations would be “reasonable” under the Second Amendment.

A Gallup poll finds that an overwhelming majority of the United States public—73%—believes that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of Americans to own firearms.


Ohio concealed handgun license-holders who obtained their licenses in 2004 begin the renewal process for the first time. Buckeye Firearms Association monitors reports of problems related to a log-jam of renewal applications. CHLs of more than 45,000 Ohioans will expire between April and December 2008.

A sad day for American gun owners; on Saturday, April 5, Charlton Heston passes away. With his passing, NRA loses a past President, dear friend, and fearless advocate, while America loses a great patriot and the Second Amendment, a faithful friend. Two resolutions honoring Mr. Heston—H.Res. 1091 by Congressman Don Young (R-AK), and S.Res. 512 by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC)—are introduced in the two houses of Congress.

Buckeye Firearms Assoc. on hand as Governor Ted Strickland signs Senate Bill 209/ House Bill 473 to create mobility impaired access lanes on various public hunting lands of the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Oral arguments are held in the case of Ohioans for Concealed Carry Inc. et. al v. City of Clyde et. al. [Case No. 07-0960]. The proceedings last for just under one hour.

During a fund-raiser with wealthy San Francisco liberals, Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama refers to midwestern gun owners as people who "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

America suffers a great blow with the passing of an American legend and patriot, Charlton Heston. Mr. Heston passed away at the age of 84 after enduring several years battling Alzheimer's disease.


One day after the Ohio House passed amended SB184 (Castle Doctrine) with a strong bipartisan majority, the Ohio Senate concurs to the improvements with an equally strong and bi-partisan 25-7 vote, and the bill goes to Gov. Ted Strickland for his signature.

Republican Presidential nominee John McCain receives lukewarm reception at the NRA Annual Meetings, and announces he is still willing to consider an assault weapons ban.

The Ohio House of Representatives passes HB450, sponsored by Representative Bruce Goodwin (R-74), with a strong bi-partisan 90-3 vote.

Buckeye Firearms Association co-sponsors a Candidates Reception with the US Sportsman Alliance (USSA) for the third year in a row.

The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) awards Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair Ken Hanson, Esq. with its Defender of Justice Award.

Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann resigns amidst scandal.

Wal-Mart announces a partnership with the anti-gun extremist and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to video-tape and keep records on gun buyers.

Fake pro-gun group American Hunters and Shooters Association endorses anti-gun Presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Surveying Democrat and Republican presidential candidates (McCain and Obama/ Clinton), Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence President declares "we got the ball back."

Department of the Interior proposes a rule change that would allow people to carry a concealed firearm in a national park or wildlife refuge.


Buckeye Firearms Assoc. on hand as Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D) signs BFA-endorsed SB184 (“Castle Doctrine” legislation) into law to expand the self-defense rights of law-abiding citizens. The legislation also fixed many of the more unpopular aspects of Ohio's concealed handgun licensure law.

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirms, in a 5-4 decision, the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that the Second Amendment protects a pre-existing, private, individually-held Right to Keep Arms and to Bear Arms, without regard to a person’s relationship to a militia!


In a brazen show of disrespect for the recent Supreme Court decision, the District of Columbia refuses to register Dick Heller's gun when he shows up at police headquarters.

Department of the Interior extends deadline for comments regarding right-to-carry in National Parks and Wildlife Refuges until August 8.

The National Rifle Association announces that it plans to spend about $40 million on this year’s campaign, with $15 million of that devoted to outing Barack Obama as a threat to Second Amendment rights.


Buckeye Firearms Association issues 2008 general election endorsements.

Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama signals agenda for renewing Clinton Gun Ban in his acceptance speech at Invesco Field in Denver. Obama reinforces his opposition to the Second Amendment by choosing fellow NRA F-rated Senator Joe Biden to be his running mate.

Polls continue to show tepid support among gun owners for John McCain, but the Republican presidential nominee boosts hopes among gun owners by picking pro-gun hunter and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.

National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action announces that it has named Buckeye Firearms Association as 2007 "NRA-ILA Volunteer Organization of the Year".


Buckeye Firearms Association is proud to make its first-ever endorsement in a Presidential race, and announces the endorsement of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President of the United States.

Ohio's Castle Doctrine law (SB184) takes effect.

The Ohio Supreme Court rules 4-3 that R.C. 9.68 is valid, and that municipalities may not infringe on the broad statutory and constitutional right to carry firearms. Within a few days, this opinion sees application in courtrooms around the state.

Buckeye Firearms Assoc. leaders accept the award for 2007 NRA-ILA Grassroots Organization of the Year in Washington D.C.

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign sends threatening letters to news agencies in Pennsylvania and Ohio demanding that they stop airing ads sponsored by the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) exposing his anti-gun record.

Radical anti-hunting organization Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) endorses Obama for President.

Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings, an Obama supporter, tells black and Jewish voters they should not support Republican vice presidential nominee and Buckeye Firearms Association-endorsee Sarah Palin because "anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks."

Several members of Buckeye Firearms Association joined hunters, anglers and trappers from across the state at the United States Sportsman’s Alliance's 12th Annual "Save Our Heritage Rally" held in Columbus. Keynote speaker John McCain receives loud applause at mention of his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin as a running mate.

The Obama campaign in Indiana unlawfully obtains and makes unauthorized use of a proprietary media list belonging to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the trade association for the firearms industry.

Associated Television News/ Zogby poll find a strong majority of likely voters disagree with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on firearms and self-defense related issues, and that the opposition to Obama's stance on these issues is widespread across multiple demographics.


Buckeye Firearms Association receives word from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) that the NO GUNS signs at state rest stops have been ordered removed.

The Outdoor Wire, an outdoor sports industry resource, reports that Barack Obama's prematurely-established 'transition team' is already considering changes to the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) for firearms purchases that would allow gun purchase records to be stored on government servers.

Buckeye Firearms Association exposes the City of Cleveland for lying about their supposed halt on enforcement of illegal local gun control ordinances.

State and federal data indicate purchases of firearms and ammunition have risen 8 to 10 percent this year, withbuyers and experts attributing the increase in part to fears that if Barack Obama wins the presidency, he will join with fellow Democrats in Congress to enact new gun controls. Obama's "Joe the Hunter" moment comes when he states "I am concerned about allowing loaded firearms into family-oriented spaces."

National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund PAC is endorsing Republican presidential nominee John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, a leading national gun control group, endorses Obama for President.

Buckeye Firearms Association exposes the Ohio Democratic Party's financing of two deceptive anti-gun mailers attacking Buckeye Firearms Assoc. endorsee and State Representative Ross McGregor's vote for Ohio's Castle Doctrine bill, SB184. BFA sends late-election season mailers and a newspaper ad to counter misleading attacks on one of our endorsees. The margin of victory for McGregor in November was 533 votes.

The president of faux gun group American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA), Ray Schoenke, appeared in Ohio and admits his group's partisan origins: "I've always been amazed that Democrats have never had a gun rights organization."

After a three-year legal battle over the unconstitutional confiscation of lawfully owned firearms, the City of New Orleans agrees to settle a lawsuit by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly endorses the idea of an unprecedented treaty regulating the global arms trade, despite opposition from the United States.


Ohio is returning a strong pro-gun delegation to the United States House of Representatives. Buckeye Firearms Association made recommendations in all but two Congressional districts, and 85% of BFA-endorsed candidates won their races, and another two representatives will join them from races which featured two pro-gun candidates.

Ohio gun owners rejoice in the re-election of our two friends, Justices Maureen O'Connor and Evelyn Lundberg-Stratton, to the state Supreme Court

There were sixteen Senate seats up for re-election, and Buckeye Firearms Association endorsed in fifteen. Every single BFA endorsee wins their race and will be representing gun owners next year under continued Republican leadership.

Buckeye Firearms Association made recommendations in all but eleven of ninety-nine House districts, and 73% of BFA-endorsed candidates won their races. Another five representatives will join them from races which featured two pro-gun candidates.

After months of telling the American people that he supports the Second Amendment, and only hours after being declared the president-elect, the Obama transition team announces an agenda taken straight from the anti-gun lobby--four initiatives designed to ban guns and drive law-abiding firearm manufacturers and dealers out of business.

Obama immediately begins to disrespect gun owners with a number of staff appointments, including Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, dubbed Sarah Brady's "go-to-guy, and a "good friend" of gun control, and Attorney General nominee Eric Holder, who signed an amicus brief in the Heller case that supported the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, and also argued that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual right.

Potential Obama administration employees are asked, "Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage."

Even though Barack Obama worked to convince voters that he meant no threat to their gun rights, Americans seem to be casting their votes against Obama - with their wallets. Reports from across the country indicate that gun and ammunition sales have shot through the roof since Election Day.

Buckeye Firearms Association receives word from ODOT that "the [no-guns] signs will be coming down in the visitor centers as well" as roadside rest areas.

Buckeye Firearms Assocation volunteers were on hand the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the development of the Mobility Impaired Hunting Access Area at Lake La Su An Wildlife Area near Montpelier in Williams County.

Buckeye Firearms Association endorsees are elected by fellow caucus members to a majority of leadership positions among House Democrats.

Terrorists in invade the country of India, exposing the impotence of the country's severe gun-control laws with deadly Black Friday attacks on civilians at a train station and hotel.


Buckeye Firearms Association-endorsed House Bill 450 passes with near-unanimous support in the final minutes of the 127th General Assembly, and is signed into law by Governor Ted Strickland in early January. The amended bill restores gun rights to 18-20 year-old members of our armed services, clears up residency issues that had prevented our armed services serving over-seas from renewing their concealed handgun licenses, and clarifies the residency criterion for the concealed handgun license (CHL), and also clarifies that any previously issued CHL that has not been revoked is prima-facie evidence that a licensee at one time had a competency certification.

Gun rights groups score a collective victory with defeat of HB446 and HB223, the so-called "puppy mill" bill that sought to increase fees and impose new regulations on dog breeders and kennel owners.

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), through the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announces the final amended version of its changes to rules on carrying of firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. DOI’s move will restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners who wish to transport and carry firearms for lawful purposes on most DOI lands, and will make federal law consistent with the state law in which these public lands are located.

California resident Bruce Pardo violates virtually every form of gun control law yet devised when he takes as many as four handguns and a homemade flame-thrower to the home of his ex-wife's parents, where at least 25 people were enjoying a Christmas Eve party. Pardo shoots at partygoers and burned down the house, murdering at least nine people before committing suicide hours later.

2008 summary compiled by Chad Baus from reports filed at BuckeyeFirearms.org and NRAILA.org.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.