An Open Letter to GOP Legislators on HB 585 from a fellow Republican

I have several very blunt things to say about Governor Kasich's gun control bill as embodied by House Bill 585. It's absolutely stupid. The provisions within it are largely redundant, already codified by law. It's already illegal to do straw man purchases under federal law. To write it into law again is pointless.

As evidenced by the recent arrest of a young man in Lima, Ohio planning to attack his old school this coming September, the so-called Red Flag provision is not needed, as it basically already exists. If someone is a threat you report them to the authorities, the law will deal with it.

Provisions dealing with machine guns, armor-piercing ammo, etc...already covered by federal law. Again pointless.

So what is this bill really about? Frankly, it's really about Governor John Kasich and his plans for another embarrassing, vain attempt at running for president in 2020, most likely as a third-party candidate. This is all about John Kasich - his ego and ambition. This is so he can campaign saying he supported gun control to try to win over liberal voters. For Republicans, a party for which he has openly shown disdain, it's bluntly insipid and suicidal to help him do this. We Republicans owe John Kasich absolutely NOTHING.

So why on earth, in such an important election year with all statewide offices up for grabs, are members of the Ohio House and Ohio Senate ticking off their base and cutting their own throats? Good question. Republican turnout last November was low. People were mad at the GOP, that as of Election Day 2017 the GOP Congress had not delivered on its promises or the President's promises, and so the Republican voters, rightly irritated, stayed home in large enough numbers to hand a number of seats in various offices to Democrats. Last year was the fault of Republicans in the U.S. Senate. If it happens in Ohio this time, blame the Columbus legislators pushing this bill. We will see history repeat if they move forward with HB 585.

I say to my fellow Republicans something that should be obvious to us. This bill is pointless political poison. Its provisions are already codified elsewhere. This bill will only help Democrats. It will not win you any good will or votes from Democrats at all. It will, however, annoy and distress a natural constituency of the Republican party - gun owners. That group numbers millions of people in this state, and they may well sit at home to punish you for bringing up yet again another pointless gun control bill. After all, what motivation will they have to come out and support you? You just insulted them, blaming and punishing them for the actions of criminals... that's not how you win votes. Just ask President George H. W. Bush, who supported a gun ban in 1989 and was voted out of office the next election. Or remember that Bill Clinton credited the NRA and his semi-auto gun ban in the fall of 1994 with giving the GOP the U.S. House for the first time in 40+ years in November 1994. The folly of passing gun control just before an election has historic precedent.

To push this bill just months before a huge election is amateur hour stupidity... it's Republican suicide, and if you folks in office are this vapid...well then perhaps you in Columbus deserve to lose and be sent home to ponder why it happened.

However, I implore you to also think of all the other office holders you will bring down with you. All of our statewide candidates, folks on the local level, not to mention what you will do to our U.S. House races and to U.S. Senate candidate Jim Renacci who is trying to unseat Senator Brown, a man we all know needs to be retired from the U.S. Senate. Wake up and get a clue before you do some real damage. Scuttle HB 585 and stop taking cues from the governor. He is not worried about you or what happens to this state. This is about his political ambitions. Ohio and its future be damned, should it get in the way of his goals. Sink this bill now before it sinks you and the fortunes of your fellow Republicans.

Tim Inwood
Chairman, Clinton County Republican Party

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