Strickland & Blackwell - Bookends on Gun Rights

By Chad D. Baus, Larry S. Moore & Linda Walker

A series of articles in the Dayton Daily News last week provide further evidence that Ohio gun rights supporters and owners are in a great position come Election Day. For the first time in decades, all 3 of the candidates for Governor are pro-gun. Our future looks bright, at least for the next 4 years.

DDN writer Laura Bischoff had the opportunity to shoot trap and talk gun issues with the two major party candidates for Governor, Rep. Ted Strickland (D) and Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R), on separate occasions this summer.

Click on 'Read More' for the entire commentary.

In her coverage of her time with Ted Strickland and Ken Blackwell, Bischoff reveals that although she can shoot trap better than Ted Strickland, she still has a lot to learn about guns.

The articles ask if the candidates have a "concealed handgun permit". As readers of this website will not doubt be fully aware, there are no concealed handgun "permits" issued by the State of Ohio. State of Ohio issues a Concealed Handgun License. Perhaps it's a small technical difference; however the correct terminology is license, not permit.

In the shotguns listed as owned by Mr. Blackwell are a “Merkle” and a “Baretta”. The correct spelling is “Merkel” and “Beretta”.

Ms. Bischoff, in the piece “Blackwell keeps eyes on the prize when trapshooting”, writes, “I note he’s using a 10-gauge shotgun. Isn’t that the size kids use in trap tournaments?”.

We don’t know what gauge shotgun Mr. Blackwell used for this particular round of trap. However when he helped open the Ohio State Trapshoot, he was using a 20-gauge gun. 10-gauge shotguns are not used in shooting competitive trap. Additionally, the 20-gauge shotgun is rarely used in shooting trap as the 12-gauge is the standard. Almost all the youth who competed in the Ohio State Trapshoot used the standard 12-gauge as did the ladies who shot there.

Perhaps Ms. Bischoff was attempting to poke fun at Mr. Blackwell’s choice of firearms. Well, when you don’t know the terminology, the punch line just isn’t funny!

This is not to say that the articles were not, in the greater scheme of things, well-done. The DDN deserves credit for its efforts to study these two candidates' positions on gun issues, and any time a journalist takes time to go shooting is a good thing.

After their time on the range, Bischoff submitted questions to both men on their opinions on gun related issues. Not surprisingly, both had near identical answers.

Both expressed support for efforts to protect concealed handgun license holders' private information from the media or public, both expressed the need for a statewide preemption of local gun laws, and both said they believe the "plain sight" requirement needs to be removed from Ohio's concealed carry law. In short, both agreed that HB347 should be passed into law.

Looking beyond current legislation, Bischoff asked both men about their feelings on laws restricting the number of handgun purchases, or on background checks for private sales gun shows. Both men said they do not support such gun control efforts.

Both men expressed general support for 'Castle Doctrine' legislation, although Strickland said he was not familiar with HB541, which is currently awaiting hearings in the Ohio House. When it comes to gun safety, Ken Blackwell said he would support legislation which "would support legislation that mandates safety programs such as the NRA's Eddie Eagle." Strickland expressed his belief that responsibility for gun safety rests in the hands of gun owners and also parents.

Their answers to the following question speak for themselves:

    Q What is your view of the Second Amendment?

    Blackwell: "I support the Second Amendment right of every law-abiding Ohioan to keep and own firearms for hunting, personal protection and any other lawful purpose."

    Strickland: "I think it is a part of our constitutional system that keeps us a free people. It is something I take seriously and have throughout my political career."

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