Pro-Gun Punditry: Wednesday's Buckeye State Roundabout
There are more stories pertaining to our gun rights in Ohio then we can possibly draw attention to with individual daily commentary. But they are worthy of comment.
What follows is our weekly view of headlines from around the state though a pro-gun rights lens.
Click on the "Read More..." link below for seven days of headlines accompanied by short, concise pro-gun analysis.
Wednesday from Columbus: Blackwell the Only GOP Winner in Zogby Poll
- Republican Gov. Bob Taft's time is up due to term limits, and Democrats hope the investment scandal that engulfed him this year will mar his party's hopes to hold the seat. According to Zogby, the Democrats have two strong candidates in Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman elected in 2000 as the city's first African-American mayor and Congressman Ted Strickland. Secretary of State Ken Blackwell who oversaw the state's extremely close presidential race in 2004 seems to be the strongest Republican candidate, according to Zogby Interactive. Mr. Blackwell continued to show tight margins in the mid-September poll, clocking in up one percentage point on Mr. Coleman and up two against Rep. Strickland. If Mr. Blackwell were to drop out or lose in the primary to the Republican polling in second place, Attorney General Jim Petro, Mr. Petro would trail Rep. Strickland.
We're now approaching a full year of polls that show essentially this same result. Despite a lack of support from his own state party apparatus, Ken Blackwell leads over his Republican challengers, and now his Democrat ones as well.
Thursday from Columbus: House passes ‘three-strikes’ bill for violent offenders
- A bill restricting use of eminent domain and one boosting penalties for repeat criminals got plenty of support yesterday as the legislature held its first voting session in two months. For the second straight year, the House passed Ohio’s version of the "three-strikes" law, requiring judges to impose maximum penalities on those convicted of three violent first- or second-degree felonies.
The session ended last year before the Senate acted on the bill. Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, the bill’s sponsor, called it a "modest" three-strikes proposal because it focuses only on the top felony classifications. States that give people life sentences for any three felony convictions "go too far, in my opinion," Seitz said. A three-time violent offender would have to serve at least 10 years for a first-degree conviction and eight years for a second-degree crime. The bill also makes it easier for prosecutors to add a repeatviolent-offender specification for those facing their third violent criminal charge, Seitz said.
Always like to see legislation that puts the crime-reduction focus on the people committing the crimes, and not on law-abiding citizens.
Friday from Cleveland: Democratic candidates for governor face off
- The single issue on which Coleman and Strickland disagreed was gun control. After Columbus enacted a citywide ban on assault weapons, the National Rifle Association canceled plans to hold its 2007 national convention there. “We’re not going to be blackmailed by the NRA,” Coleman said he told the powerful gun lobby. “AK-47s are made to shoot people, not deer.” Strickland noted that the NRA has always supported him. He voted against a 1994 anti-crime bill, because it contained a ban on assault weapons. Few Americans noticed any difference in their safety when the ban on assault weapons expired a year ago, Strickland said. However, he maintained that the passage of that law cost the Democrats their majority in the House of Representatives. “For 10 years, Democrats haven’t been able to assert their views (in Congress),” he said. “I think other issues are more important.”
Mayor Coleman is going to find that gun control isn't a winning position beyond the inner-city limits.
Sunday from Cincinnati: Seitz promoted
- State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township, was promoted to assistant majority whip in the Ohio House on Wednesday. Speaker Jon Husted recommended the election of Seitz after the departure of former Majority Floor Leader Merle Grace Kearns. She resigned from the House to become the director of the Department of Aging. Seitz served as co-chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee, working with the speaker and members of leadership on public policy issues for the state. Rep. Tom Raga, R-Mason, will now serve as the sole chairman of the House Policy Committee.
Rep. Bill Seitz is a friend to gun owners, and his more powerful position in the ranks of House leadership is most certainly good news.
Sunday from Columbus: Blackwell grabs early lead, but 40% undecided
- For months, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has declared himself the frontrunner in the intense struggle for the GOP gubernatorial nomination next year. Looks like he’s right. Seven months before Ohio’s 2006 primary election, Blackwell has dashed to the head of the pack in the first Dispatch Poll for a campaign expected to draw national attention. He has opened a 14-point lead over Attorney General Jim Petro, who in turn tops Auditor Betty D. Montgomery by 2 points among Republican poll respondents. U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland holds a 3-point margin over Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman among the Democrats polled. Former state Rep. Bryan Flannery is far behind. The mail survey’s margin of error for both intraparty matchups is 4.5 percentage points. Blackwell also holds a narrow lead when voters of all stripes are asked to choose among the six major candidates. However, the top five finishers all fall within 5 points of one another — and the total for each is dwarfed by the 40 percent of poll participants who say they are undecided.
It speaks volumes to the grassroots power of gun owners that the top contenders in both parties are pro-Second Amendment. But it's a long way to November 2006, and we've all got work to do if we want to see Ohio elect a pro-gun Governor!
Tuesday from Columbus: Armed robbers hit again in German Village area
- The Chihuahuas were roused, and Michael Reames heard the noise coming from downstairs. Stepping out of his bedroom into the hallway yesterday morning, he was confronted by two teenage boys. Columbus police said they might be the same ones who robbed a nearby German Village home two weeks ago. The bandits told Reames to get his fiancee out of bed. It was 6 a.m., still dark outside. One of the teens was holding a handgun, the other had swiped the largest knife from Reames’ kitchen. He later learned they had entered through an unlocked side window of the home at 312 Siebert St. "I was frozen for a couple of seconds," Melanie Pinkerton said. She had stepped out of the bedroom and knelt when she saw the barrel of the handgun pointed at her and Reames. The bandits forced Reames and Pinkerton to undress, then tied them to chairs using Reames’ neckties. Before she was tied up, Pinkerton took off her diamond engagement ring and held it in her closed fist. The robbers never got the ring, but left with other jewelry, credit cards, cell phones and her 2005 BMW.
These same criminals pulled another woman out of the shower before robbing her. The police can't get there in time. The neighbors are scared. And what would gun control extremists offer them as consolation? Nothing.