By Alex Payton
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 four 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.
Honorable mention goes to Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. She was a major threat for a long time, but has become largely irrelevant. She has played her best hand, but grassroots gun owners defeated her time and time again. We cannot afford to take our eyes off of her, because she may become a threat once again.
[UPDATE: In the wake of Ohio GOP wrangling that eliminated a contested primary in the race for attorney general, honorable mention also goes to Mike DeWine. DeWine was thrown out of his U.S. Senate seat by voters in 2006, after running around sporting a Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (formerly Handgun Control Inc.) endorsement because "his record really wowed the group." As the Senator from Ohio, DeWine was named among the "Top 10 anti-gun U.S. Senators," noting that he was "consistently the only Republican to speak in favor of anti-2nd Amendment legislation on the Senate floor." DeWine will appear on the November ballot for attorney general against pro-gun Democrat Richard Cordray.]
10. OSHA and Other Government Organizations (new to the Top Ten)
There is a new threat on the horizon, and it may be even more difficult to beat than bad legislation. Because of the diligence of gun owners, it is getting harder and harder for anti-gun legislators to pass bad legislation. As a result, the anti-gunners have changed tactics. They are now starting to go after guns as a threat to public health and safety.
If they are successful, private gun ownership can become very difficult or even impossible due to administrative hurdles that could be imposed by organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. By its own fiat, OSHA could outlaw the possession of firearms in every workplace and every employee parking lot in the United States. They can even target shooting ranges and declare them to be a hazard due to lead or other factors.
We are keeping a close eye on this threat and will not be surprised if it sky rockets to the top of the list next year, under the direction of anti-gun Obama -appointee David Michaels.
9. The American Hunters and Shooters Association (down one place from last year)
Anti-gun organizations posing as pro-gun organizations will be a threat as the elections in November get closer. One such organization is the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA). They played a role in the last election and tricked some gun owners into voting for President Obama. The Buckeye Firearms Association first warned about the American Hunters and Shooters Association in June of 2006 in an article called "A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing."
AHSA will continue to strengthen its ties with anti-gun legislators and to raise money for its cause. Remember, their real cause is NOT to fight for the Second Amendment; it is to slowly erode it away. Unless they are stopped, they will continue to play a large role in getting anti-gun candidates elected. We must work hard to reveal their true colors to the average gun owner.
8. State of Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (down one place from last year)
The State of Ohio Fraternal Order of Police has repeatedly tried to use its political clout to crush legislation that has even a hint of being pro-gun. They took a hard- line stance against the initial concealed carry law, opposed the Castle Doctrine, and opposed any attempts to improve ANY gun law in Ohio.
The State of Ohio Fraternal Order of Police has not taken a stance in support of 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.
The State of Ohio Fraternal Order is a threat because it carries a large amount of political clout. 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.
The criticism of the State of Ohio Fraternal Order of Police is not meant to bash police officers who put their lives on the line every day. The criticism is directly toward the administrators and decision makers in the State of Ohio Fraternal Order of Police who oppose our Second Amendment rights every chance that they get.
7. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (new to the Top Ten)
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proven himself to be a significant threat to Ohioans' gun rights despite not even being a mayor or politician in the Buckeye State. He has made it a personal mission to spread his restrictive New York City gun laws all over the country. One way he is doing this is through his anti-gun organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).
The Mayors Against Illegal Guns are not only targeting illegal guns, they are actively working against legal gun ownership. Several mayors in Ohio have joined, 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. You can see the entire list here.
Bloomberg has also declared war on gun shows. He has sent undercover private investigators into gun shows, including several in Ohio, and his investigators may have broken the same laws that they complain are being violated by attendees. His goal is not to prevent illegal gun sales; it is to shut down gun shows.
6. United Nations (down one place from last year)
It is no a secret that the United Nations is still actively working on disarming the entire population of the world, including citizens of the United States. They believe that only the military and police forces should be allowed to own firearms.
With an anti-gun president in office, there is a significant threat that the United States will enter into various treaties with the United Nations that will limit our Second Amendment rights.
5. The Confrontational Gun Owner (new to the Top Ten)
The confrontational gun owner is a new addition to our annual Ten Threats list, 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.
4. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (up two places from last year)
Frank Jackson is an extreme threat to our Ohio gun rights because of his extremely anti-gun views and the fact that he thinks that he is above the law. Despite an Ohio Supreme Court ruling, in Ohioans For Concealed Carry v. City of Clyde, which ruled that guns do not fall under home rule, he continues to insist that Cleveland's strict local gun laws be enforced. There have been several city residents who have been arrested for having an unregistered handgun even though state law clearly says that a city cannot require that someone register their handguns. There has just been a ruling by the Cuyahoga County Court of Appeals that ruled on the side of the city when it comes to home rule and guns, but it will be over turned by the Ohio Supreme Court since they have already ruled on the issue.
We should all remember that it was under Jackson's administration that the city refused to give a crime VICTIM his gun back despite a court order. They tried to make him write a paper explaining why he thinks he should be allowed to have his own gun back. Thankfully, the Buckeye Firearms Association intervened and the victim had his property returned.
Jackson is also working on getting legislation passed at the state level that would prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from possessing or using a gun in Ohio. If such a bill became law, it could make it illegal in the state of Ohio for someone under the age of 21 to use a shotgun or muzzleloader to hunt.
Recent reports have stated that Cleveland's crime rate is increasing while other cities such as Columbus are seeing a decrease in crime. Jackson's response has been to refuse federal money that would put more cops on the streets. Despite a rising crime rate, Jackson wants to strip us of the ability to defend ourselves while taking police officers off the streets. He has laid off police officers and EMS providers.
3. President Obama and his Administration (down two places from last year)
In his first year in office, President Obama has not made any overt attacks on our Second Amendment rights. This may lead people into thinking that the threat he poses was over-hyped and they may no longer pay attention. However, he has used his position to appoint several rabidly anti-gun people to powerful positions. For example, he appointed Eric Holder as the Attorney General. Eric Holder served as a Deputy Attorney General under Janet Reno. During that time, Holder worked extremely hard to restrict private gun ownership. He supported complete handgun bans, assault rifle bans, mandatory waiting periods, national gun registration, limiting the purchases of handguns to one a month, and wanted to shut down gun shows.
We should be reminded that President Obama 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.
2. The Anti-Gun Gun Owner (no change from last year)
Anti-gun gun owners continue to be a huge threat to our Ohio gun rights. The anti-gun gun owner is more than willing to demonize and may even support a ban on a certain type of firearms. However, they will argue for their right to own their preferred type. The most common example of this is someone who owns shotguns and rifles to hunt, but would not oppose a ban on tactical rifles or handguns.
What they don't realize is that the gun-grabbers will attempt to confiscate and ban guns one type at a time until they are all banned. They will not stop at confiscating and banning only the types of guns that the anti-gun gun owner despises. The anti-gun gun owner will be held up as an example of the "reasonable" gun owner by anti-gun organizations and legislators. This makes it more difficult for true Second Amendment advocates to preserve our rights.
The anti-gun gun owner needs to realize that they are doing more harm than good when it comes to preserving our Second Amendment rights. They need to realize that what they are doing is making them an enemy of the Second Amendment and actually helping the gun-grabbers.
1. The Apathetic Ohio Gun Owner (no change from last year)
The apathetic gun owner has been and continues to be the biggest threat to our Ohio gun rights. The apathetic gun owner is a freeloader who expects everyone else to fight the fight for them. They reap the benefits and enjoyment of gun ownership, but do absolutely nothing to defend it. They often deny that there is any real threat to our Second Amendment rights and feel that the government would never actually confiscate guns from law-abiding Americans. This is despite the fact that it has been done in the past.
The apathetic gun owner often does not get involved politically in the fight for our Second Amendment rights. He may neither vote nor volunteer on the campaigns of pro-gun candidates. As a result, anti-gun candidates win elections and our Second Amendment rights continue to slowly erode. He can't spare even a few minutes to call or email his representatives to urge them to pass pro-gun legislation, yet complains when anti-gun legislation is passed. When this happens, the apathetic gun owner will blame the NRA and other pro-gun organizations and accuse them of not doing enough. He does not realize that the power of the NRA and other gun groups comes from everyday gun owners.
The apathetic gun owner more than likely has stocked up on guns and ammo since B. Hussein Obama was elected. However, he did not do anything during the election season to defeat him. If only his apathy did not prevent him from taking Obama's threat to our rights seriously in the first place.
The apathetic gun owner does not actively support pro-gun organizations such as the Buckeye Firearms Association, the National Rifle Association, and the Second Amendment Foundation.
Without a doubt, the apathetic gun owner is the most dangerous threat to our gun rights. In order to fully restore our Second Amendment rights, all gun owners must actively join the struggle.
"Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth."
- George Washington