Strickland statement on HB347 gains press attention; Blackwell's voice coveted

By Chad D. Baus

Following up on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland's statement on the Ohio "Senate's failure to act on legislation to strengthen Protections for Ohio's gun owners (HB347), the Canton Repository published further comments made by Strickland on the campaign trail this week.

Following a rally marking the end of a three-day, 19-county campaign tour, Ted Strickland said he supports House Bill 347, dealing with concealed weapons because of its tie to the Second Amendment. Strickland has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

HB 347, which is sponsored by state Rep. James Aslanides, R-Coshocton, makes a number of changes to existing law, which was passed during the last term of the Legislature. It passed the House in March, but has stalled in the Senate.

“I’m concerned about violence in society,” Strickland said. “I’m concerned about whether we are going to have safe schools and safe streets. I just come from a different perspective.

“I believe those who choose to misuse firearms for criminal purposes are not going to be constrained by the laws we pass. There is a limit to what government can or should do in terms of interfering with individual decision-making.”

...Strickland said gun issues are not “central to what we ought to be about as a government,” yet it is an issue that “polarizes people and divides people needlessly.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell was the first major-party candidate to publicly introduce a call for some type of firearms law reform into his campaign. But since then, Blackwell has been silent - silent when language to protect people endangered by the media access loophole was stripped from HB347, and silent when HB347 was shelved by GOP leaders in the Senate.

Click 'Read More' for the entire op-ed.

An inspiring speech-giver, Ken Blackwell speaks highly of the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, but he has never held a statewide office (Treasurer of State from 1994-1998, and Secretary of State from 1998-present), with which he could put those words into action.

Even before Congressman Strickland decided to highlight the fact that Republicans are delaying passage of HB347, it has been this conservative Republican's hope that Blackwell would begin using the bully-pulpit of his candidacy to encourage GOP leaders to start listening to the new leader of their party, instead of the old one (Bob Taft).

Ted Strickland continues to make moves in an effort to ensure that grassroots gun owners will not block-vote for a Republican in 2006, and thus, more than ever, it is time for Ken Blackwell to speak out about HB347, HB541, and the other pieces of pro-gun legislation currently being considered by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Chad D. Baus is a member of the Fulton County Republican Central Committee, and Vice Chairman of Buckeye Firearms Association.

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