Ten Threats To Our Ohio Gun Rights In 2011
by Gerard Valentino
In order to defend our rights, we have to know who or what threatens them. While there are actually too many threats to mention, as we have for the past five years, we again seek to list some of the more potent threats to our Ohio gun rights. To some degree, all of the threats that were previously listed are still dangerous to our rights. However, some of those threats have become even more powerful, some less powerful, and there are new threats that we are facing.
Dishonorable Mention - Rep. Armond Budish
Representative Armond Budish (D - Beachwood) lost his job as the Ohio Speaker of the House and as a member of the minority is no longer a direct threat to our gun rights. However, by blocking a vote on reasonable pro-gun legislation prior to the end of the last legislative session, Representative Budish damaged gun rights for the foreseeable future.
When Representative Budish chose to renege on his promise to allow a fair vote on SB239 and SB247, it might have set the process in motion for the bills to never again see the light of day.
Both bills had more than enough votes to pass the Ohio House, and former Governor Strickland promised to sign them into law. But, Representative Budish chose to take the legislative process into his own hands and deny Ohio's elected officials the opportunity to cast a vote.
If the Democrats return to power in the future, gun owners in Ohio need to remember the duplicitous actions Representative Budish took and his willingness to stab Ohioans in the back.
All the pro-gun community expected was a fair vote, as promised by then-Speaker Budish, and if the bills failed to pass then so be it.
Buckeye Firearms Association has taken part in countless negotiations with elected officials at all levels, and only disgraced former Governor Bob Taft's failure to honor his election year promise to support concealed carry is comparable to the actions taken by Representative Budish.
Honorable Mention - City of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (down from #4 last year)
Mayor Frank Jackson is a grave threat to our Ohio gun rights because of his rabid anti-gun views, and because he clearly thinks that he is above the law.
We should all remember that it was under Jackson's administration that the city refused to give a crime VICTIM his gun back despite being ordered to do so by a court. Instead of returning the gun, Mayor Jackson tried to force a law abiding citizen to write a paper justifying return of his own property.
Not only was Mayor Jackson's decision to keep the gun reprehensible, but he showed a complete lack of creativity by punishing a law-abiding citizen in the same manner that a 4th grade teacher would use to punish a student who misbehaved.
Thankfully, the Buckeye Firearms Association intervened and the victim had his property returned.
Not only did Mayor Jackson show a willingness to act outside the law by refusing to heed the court order and return a crime victim's gun, but he also chose to defy the Ohio Supreme Court ruling in the Clyde v. Ohio case that determined that statewide preemption of gun laws is constitutional.
While the City of Cleveland is unable to provide basic services to its citizens, Mayor Jackson inexplicably chose to continue to enforce local gun laws which led to another long and expensive court battle. Wasting Cleveland's limited financial resources on a court case that was unwinnable was a clear failure to act in the best interest of taxpayers, and shows a willingness to place his lunatic anti-gun views above the welfare of Cleveland's citizens.
Mayor Jackson's defiance of the Ohio Supreme Court and other court rulings is a clear indication that he believes the rule of law doesn't apply to him.
Some might even argue that his choice to waste resources on an unwinnable court battle instead of putting cops on the street is misguided or even borders on criminal negligence.
10. Toby Hoover, OCAGV Executive Director (returning to the Top Ten)
Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence executive director Toby Hoover was a major threat for a long time, but has become largely irrelevant. Only the fact that the anti-gun Joyce Foundation just gave her $50,000 kept Toby Hoover on the list. But, Toby is now a political joke and has zero political clout left. Years of using falsified statistics, exploiting tragedies, predicting a return to the Wild West if law abiding citizens are allowed to carry guns, and using outright lies to defend the anti-gun position have finally left Mrs. Hoover without a following.
Even the small number of anti-gun loons that used to surround Toby were largely invisible in the last few years.
Years of exploiting high profile tragedies and grants from liberal think tanks kept the OCAGV in the public eye. Clearly, Toby has played her best hand, but grassroots gun owners defeated her time and time again.
Even though Toby is more laughing stock than threat at this point, we cannot afford to take our eyes off of her because her willingness to exploit any tragedy, stretch any statistic or simply lie means she may become a threat once again.
9. The Joyce Foundation/George Soros (new to the Top Ten)
Unlike the National Rifle Association, which gets most of its funding from over 4 million individual guns owners, groups like the OCAGV get their money from groups like the Joyce Foundation. The Joyce Foundation is bankrolled largely by liberal millionaires, one of the few demographics which still believes in total destruction of private gun ownership. Although not connected to the Joyce Foundation, George Soros also uses private wealth to fund an anti-gun agenda.
Buckeye Firearms Association can call on more than 50,000 supporters from all 50 states and from countries as far away as South Africa and Australia. Supporters might not have millions to give but they are dedicated to the pro-gun cause which makes up for the lack of financial resources.
One hard working pro-gun volunteer has a huge effect on the gun control battle, a fact that is lost on people like Toby Hoover and George Soros.
Sadly, the huge sums of money that wealthy elitist liberals can make available to help support anti-gun groups has far-reaching effects as well.
8. The Democratic and Republican Parties (new to the Top Ten)
Both the Democrats and Republicans are more concerned with their power base than gun rights, or any other political issue. Instead of being steadfast on the issues, both are steadfast on perpetuating their own existence.
Party politics is a greater danger to Ohio's gun rights than most people believe. After all, it was party politics that forced several pro-gun Republicans to attack gun rights groups who dared to point out John Kasich's mized record on gun rights during the last gubernatorial election. As good Republicans they had no choice but to play politics with Ohio's gun rights.
Governor Strickland fell into the same trap when he supported the candidacy of President Barack Obama, a noted gun grabber, and picked Lee Fisher and Yvette McGee Brown as his running mates.
Ohio Democrats have also left a trail of destruction whenever left to craft gun policy. In the last legislative session, Speaker Armond Budish reneged on a promise to allow a vote on two pro-gun bills. The fact that Budish was re-elected by his colleagues to retain control of the Democratic caucus it shows how party politics trumps integrity and a sense of fair play.
You can bet the pro-gun community will not forgive Budish anytime soon, and they will also hold the rank and file Democrats responsible for allowing Budish to retain his position of power in the Democratic caucus.
Even Governor Strickland, an endorsee of the National Rifle Association and Buckeye Firearms Association, tainted his legacy by putting the good of his party above the will of the people. By appointing Yvette McGee Brown to the Ohio Supreme Court, and for his inability to stop Speaker Budish from blocking pro-gun reform, Governor Strickland destroyed his pro-gun legacy.
During the gubernatorial terms of George Voinovich and Bob Taft, the Ohio Republican Party blocked legal concealed carry in Ohio. Governor Voinovich and Governor Taft both used their place as the highest ranking member of the state GOP to keep pro-gun Republicans from pushing for concealed carry reform.
Taft's efforts succeeded in killing one concealed carry bill (HB274), and Taft was able to keep HB12, the bill that became Ohio's concealed carry law, bottled up through administrative trickery with the help of Senate President Doug White. The Republican led Ohio House and Ohio Senate passed similar concealed carry bills, but White refused to call a committee to rectify the differences in the bills. It took external pressure to get HB12 passed, and Governor Taft refused to sign it unless he was allowed to insert several poison pills into the bill, which were designed to deter as many people as possible from getting a concealed carry license.
Only when Bob Taft's approval rating dropped to 14%, at the end of his second term, were legislators finally willing to do the right thing, voting to override his veto of an important pro-gun bill.
The sad truth is that even the most dedicated pro-gun politician can't get anything done without the support of one party or the other. That means, at times, that compromise is the only option, and that even our friends are forced to play the game.
In a perfect world, the pro-gun majority that exists in both parties and the legislature would always carry the day.
Sadly, politics isn't a perfect world.
A longtime supporter of Buckeye Firearms Association and a member of a Republican Central Committee summed the situation up perfectly. He said that the Republican party's actions over the last 10 years forced him to choose whether he is a Republican first, or a gun owner first.
Being forced to make that choice also made the decision easy – he chose his gun rights.
7. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mayors Against Illegal Guns (no change from last year)
The Mayors Against Illegal Guns are using the same plan of attack as the now-defunct American Hunters and Shooters Association. Both groups claim to support the right to bear arms and only work to remove illegal guns from the streets.
It is a testament to the strength of the pro-gun movement that rabidly anti-gun politicians like Michael Bloomberg are hiding their true agenda. Hiding their true agenda and appearing to support reasonable gun control makes MAIG particularly dangerous. The fact is many Americans, and Ohioans, believe the foolish notion that "reasonable" gun control can exist, and that groups like Buckeye Firearms Association or the National Rifle Association push an extreme agenda.
Several mayors in Ohio have joined MAIG, including Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman, and Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams. There are many more Ohio members and they are not all from major cities.
Bloomberg's war on gun shows should also concern the pro-gun community. Despite Mayor Bloomberg's claim that gun shows are overrun by gangbangers, criminals and drug dealers looking to buy guns illegally, these events are actually where pro-gun advocates meet and where the pro-gun culture is cultivated and grows. Being a vital part of the gun community is what makes gun shows a target for the likes of Mayor Bloomberg and MAIG.
Gun shows are at risk because MAIG appears willing to break the law by taking part in illegal investigations to prove gun shows enable criminals to easily obtain guns.
6. The Confrontational Gun Owner (no change from last year)
The confrontational gun owner was a new addition to our annual Ten Threats list last year, but has rapidly become a major threat. The confrontational gun owner is someone who purposely gets involved in a situation with law enforcement in hopes that they are arrested in an effort to fight for our Second Amendment rights in court. Unfortunately, they choose to fight the legal battle in criminal court instead of using the proper channels.
When the story makes its way to the media, gun owners appear to the general public like irrational and confrontational people. This hurts us in gaining public support for our rights from non-gun-owners.
Furthermore, this method not only puts the confrontational gun owner's personal freedom and Second Amendment rights in jeopardy, but it also puts all of our Second Amendment rights in jeopardy. They may have been right legally, but juries and judges HATE it when people instigate a situation to make a political statement and will sometimes find a way to rule against the confrontational gun owner, even if they were technically, legally right. As a result, we're stuck with a ruling against our gun rights, which makes it harder to preserve our Second Amendment rights.
5. The Obama Administration and the ATF (no change from last year)
President Obama remains and clear and present danger to our gun rights. Although he hasn't pushed anti-gun legislation, President Obama used the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as a blunt force instrument. In a move that will have a negative effect on how the firearms industry conducts independent safety testing, President Obama forced the ATF to change a long-held and reasonable policy in how guns are transferred for the purposes of testing and evaluation.
The change in the policy makes it impossible for a gun company to easily send one of their products to independent labs for safety testing because it will require a full background check and transfer through the NICS system.
President Obama broke a precedent that existed for nearly 40 years because he knew the change would go unnoticed by most gun owners. It was nothing short of an act designed to subvert the way the gun industry does business.
More recently, the agency has filed for an Emergency Regulation requiring gun dealers to keep track of their customers and file special reports to ATF whenever a customer purchases more than one semi-automatic rifle within any 5-day period. As has been pointed out, such special reporting is already required for multiple sales of handguns and has proven to be thoroughly useless as a law enforcement tool.
We should be reminded that President Obama, a former Joyce Foundation board member, has a long history of fighting AGAINST our Second Amendment rights and is possibly the most anti-gun president ever elected. Throughout the election, he claimed with a straight face that he supported the Second Amendment despite his extremely anti-gun record. His past public statements and voting record disprove his claims.
4. State of Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (up four places from last year)
With the Ohio Republican Party returning to power, the gun community can't forget that former Governor Bob Taft and former Senate President Doug White used the opposition of groups like The State of Ohio Fraternal Order of Police as an excuse to oppose legal concealed carry. Republican George Voinovich also fell victim to the FOP's opposition to legal concealed carry during his two terms in office.
Most notable, however, is incoming Attorney General Mike DeWine, who served in the position once before, and is credited as the reason concealed carry legislation was dead on arrival during George Voinovich's gubernatorial administration. Attorney General DeWine has stated publicly that it was the FOP's opposition that he used to base his own view on legal concealed carry.
The question remains if Attorney General DeWine will do the same this time around. He has promised to support legal concealed carry during his upcoming term in office and we can only hope he follows through.
By contrast, former Governor Ted Strickland refused to let the Ohio FOP dictate the law when it came to pro-gun legislation, taking the position that the police enforce the law, they don't make the law. He knew the FOP is just another political lobbying organization that is prone to push their agenda at the expense of everyone else.
We know The State of Ohio Fraternal Order of Police has never supported the Second Amendment rights of the average citizen, but has taken numerous opportunities to suppress or eliminate them. However, it should be noted that some local-level Fraternal Order of Police chapters have taken a pro-gun stance.
If the Republicans once again allow groups like the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police to have an inordinate amount of clout when it comes to pro-gun reform, the rights of law abiding citizens are in jeopardy. Politicians hate to be seen as opponents of the police. It is a sure bet that they will attempt to defeat any pro-gun legislation in the future.
Buckeye Firearms Association is contacted regularly by rank and file law enforcement officers who are upset with the anti-gun actions of The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police. If The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police leadership would support the viewpoint of their membership, there is little doubt they would be an avid supporter of self-defense and pro-gun rights.
3. Ohio State Highway Patrol Superintendent John Born (new to Top Ten)
One of Governor-elect John Kasich's first acts was to name John Born as the head of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, something that should concern all Ohio gun owners.
During the debate over HB12, the bill that eventually became Ohio's concealed carry law, Governor Bob Taft played John Born like a political fiddle. Taft was able to manipulate Born and use him as an excuse to oppose legal concealed carry. When it was clear the legsialture was going to pass concealed carry reform, Taft and Born then opposed letting concealed carry license holders carry loaded guns in motor vehicles.
Born famously stated that if someone was attacked while in a car they could simply "drive off," but since then several Ohioans have been killed trying to follow such misguided advice. In the aftermath, "getting Borned" came to define a law-abiding citizen shot while trying to drive away from a violent attack.
The fact that Governor-elect Kasich chose someone to lead the OSHP with such a dismal record on guns is a concern. After all, Kasich has a spotty record on guns in his own right.
We can only hope that John Born will lead the OSHP to success in the future, but we also hope he will keep his mouth shut when it comes to legal concealed carry and pro-gun reform. Otherwise, another Ohio governor might choose to let John Born dictate Ohio law instead of upholding it.
2. The Anti-Gun Gun Owner (no change from last year)
During the debate over legal concealed carry the establishment media was able to find members of the NRA who said the gun community was not united in the fight to allow law-abiding citizens the ability to legally carry guns. By doing so the anti-gun gun-owner gives credence to the argument that proponents of concealed carry or other similar pro gun reforms are extremists.
Sadly, it might seem like gun owners are, by definition, pro-gun, but nothing is further from the truth, and there are few individuals more damaging to the gun movement than the anti-gun gun owner.
The fact is that certain segments of the gun community are willing to sacrifice fellow gun enthusiast in a misguided attempt to save certain types of guns. Most notable are gun owners unwilling to protect so-called assault weapons or inexpensive "Saturday Night Specials" because they think the anti-gun community will not come after hunting guns, or guns used for target competitions.
There is only one other threat more dangerous to gun owners than the anti-gun gun owner...
1. The Apathetic Ohio Gun Owner (no change from last year)
Ohio has a huge population of gun owners, yet the state-level pro gun advocacy groups are still hard pressed for volunteers and money.
If half of the state's gun owners took the time to send a letter demanding former Speaker of the House Armond Budish live up to his promise to bring SB239 and SB247 to a vote it would have shut down his office. The sad fact is there are too many Ohio gun owners willing to take advantage of the work put in by the few who have dedicated time and money to the cause.
The same was true during the fight make legal concealed carry the law of the land in Ohio via HB12. When the Open Carry Defense Walks took place, a state with literally millions and millions of gun owners was only able to generate 170 people at the biggest pro gun demonstration in state history.
Groups like Buckeye Firearms Association are inundated with requests that begin with, "when you guys get X problem fixed I will get my concealed carry license." Instead, the message should be an offer of help in getting the problem fixed.
When gun groups do get someone who wants to help, they usually walk away when the realization hits that volunteering isn't glamorous, and involves countless hours completing mundane tasks.
Simply stated, there are far too many examples of the apathetic gun owner hurting the cause.
If you are one reading this article, chances are you don't fall into this category. Sadly, the act of reading Buckeye Firearms Association's website is more than most gun owners do to further gun rights in Ohio.