Ohio Supreme Court receives thousands of comments on proposed rules to seize guns
On Monday, October 8 we reported that the Ohio Supreme Court (OSC) had proposed rule changes that would disarm and force those subject to a civil protection order to surrender firearms, ammunition, and concealed handgun license to law enforcement. This seizure would take place even if there is no "sufficient nexus," specifically evidence that a firearm was threatened to be used, used, or brandished.
The rule changes were put out for public comment with a deadline of Friday, October 12, 2018.
We asked gun owners to email their thoughts to the Court, and they did BY THE THOUSANDS!
So many people took action, it shut down the Court's email system. We told the Court that emails were bouncing and citizens could not share their comments. Hours later, we were informed, “Our IT department has fixed this problem. Public comments are coming into the inbox without further difficulty." Soon, emails overwhelmed and shut down the system again. For a second time, we told the Court Ohio citizens could not make their voices heard.
So we provided phone numbers for the Court, and the flood of calls overwhelmed the switchboard, filled up the available voicemail, and for a third time we alerted the Court that people were unable to comment on the proposed rules.
We identified a defect with their proposed rules. You identified a defect with their system for public comment. Both are issues that will need to be addressed by the OSC.
The good news:
The OSC justices now understand why the proposed rules are not acceptable and several have indicated that they look forward to fixing them. We have already been thanked for bringing this to the attention of the Justices.
We will follow this closely as it moves through the review process next year. As President Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.”
We have heard that people are understandably upset about the Justices sending such a defective product out for public comment. We agree 100%.
I talked with two justices who voted to send the proposed rules out for public comment. Both stated that they wanted public input, including specific input from Buckeye Firearms Association to help them correct the bad language and draft good language. I appreciate their thinking, but the Court never reached out to us for that input. That is not necessarily the fault of individual justices, but is another issue that the court must address. Ultimately, the buck stops with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.
We stand by our endorsements of Judge Craig Baldwin and Justice Mary DeGenaro.
We will continue to monitor the situation. We thank everyone who took the time to respond to the outrageous rules being considered. Every time we act together, we win. That is a great lesson to keep in mind over the next three weeks as the elections will determine what is possible over the next two years.
Jim Irvine is Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award and CCRKBA's 2012 Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award.