“HB 354 mandates lifetime gun disability for alcohol or substance users,” Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) announced in a January analysis of the bill. It was supposedly written as an “alternative” to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s so-called “STRONG Plan” (which among other infringements would turn voluntary private sale background checks into a “de facto mandate,” eliminates doctor/patient confidentiality in drug and alcohol abuse cases, put weapons possession penalties “on par with murder and rape,” and turn involuntary commitments into “a lifetime firearms ban”).
DeWine’s natural inclination to cave and betray on guns comes as no surprise to those of us who have watched this political animal over time. As Firearms News noted in an examination of his on again/off again gun-grabber roots, we’re talking about someone once endorsed by the Brady Campaign who saw that his political ambitions would best be served switching teams. And as with everyone whose “principles” adapt to whichever way the wind is blowing, when the going got tough, as it started to after a lunatic Bernie/Warren backer murdered some innocents in Dayton, the gutless governor couldn’t propose new infringements fast enough.
BFA did not mince words about Republican Rep. Phil Plummer’s bill, co-authored with Republican Rep. D.J. Swearingen, “To improve background checks, close gaps between federal and state law, improve focus on mental health disorders and to make an appropriation.”
“Unfortunately, it creates a train wreck of problems for Ohioans and may be the single worst piece of legislation we have seen in a very long time,” the grassroots group declared. Among the infringements noted by BFA:
- Changes the legal definition of ‘mental illness’ to include alcohol and substance users and mandates a lifetime firearms disability.
- Delays the sealing of juvenile records for 10 years after becoming an adult.
- Dramatically increases the number of people who cannot possess firearms.
- Ignores due process and prohibits guns upon being charged with a crime.
- Turns otherwise law-abiding gun owners into instant felons.
- Creates a ‘data portal’ with no privacy rules or means of correcting mistakes.”
Those don’t quite square with what Rep. Plummer promised Ohio voters on his campaign website.
Owning a firearm is a constitutional right guaranteed to every citizen,” he starts out, sounding like he knows the score. “I support our 2nd Amendment and will fight to make sure that right is not infringed upon.”
Plummer would have done better if he’d left out the part about “educating anyone and everyone in an armed household to appropriately fear and respect firearms.” We know what he’s trying to say, but fear has no place in that equation. And how much he truly understands about rights should be called into question from a “tweet” he sent out to his social media followers, where, dressed in Fuddwear camo, and with his finger hovering over the trigger of his shotgun, he exclaimed:
“Great day to spend in the woods, enjoying the freedoms granted by the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution!”
So according to this former sheriff and Republican lawmaker, who was given an “A” rating and endorsed by BFA in 2018, the Second Amendment is about hunting and rights are granted by government [EDITOR’S NOTE: The Second Amendment recognizes your God-given right to defend yourself, and your liberties, against a tyrannical government. It grants nothing and is a restraint on government from infringing this right. It has NOTHING to do with hunting or sport shooting.] It’s par for the course for the guy, who, when accepting credit for fixing a legislative screwup that should have never happened in the first place declared, “It’s an honor to run a bill that protects our gun rights. It’s emergency legislation that protects our deer hunters and sportsmen. I’m proud to stand up and fight for Second Amendment rights.”
For someone who places such a priority on “sporting purposes” (and if you want to know the origin of that term, Google it along with “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership” to see where it originated), it’s curious that, based on the date of Plummer’s tweet, he was in violation of Ohio law requiring him to be outfitted in hunter orange IF he was in fact hunting, and not just posing for a fake publicity photo.
And Then There’s the Other Kind
Such disconnects don’t appear to be malicious, but are simply reflections of what we can expect when you give power to a person who has never really considered founding intent for the Second Amendment. Our political leaders ought to be using their bully pulpits to educate and rally their constituents around that. Falling short of it is either an act of malpractice and/or malevolence. And those Republicans who know better but infringe anyway are the ones who hurt us the most, the enemies within the gates.
So, we have those who make no bones about being virulently anti-gun – the late Sen. John Chaffee, and his idiot son Lincoln (now thinking of running for president as a Libertarian), come to mind. But more dangerous than that are the politicians who feign Second Amendment solidarity, but then start betraying those who elected them by siding with the gun-grabbers, typically after they’ve secured their seats and realized they live in districts where they can get away with doing so.
That’s how we get “compromisers” like NRA “A”-rated Marco Rubio, supporting “red flag laws” while disingenuously denying such edicts infringe on either the Second Amendment or on due process. These are Republicans who value cheap labor über alles more than guns. The “pathway to citizenship” they’re adding high speed lanes to means adding a population of voters that has proven to be 70% anti-gun Democrat, with all the legislative and judicial ramifications that implies.
It’s also where we get political opportunist turncoats like Florida State Sen. Bill Galvano, who in 2008 enjoyed an “A”-rating from NRA, and now is in-your-face with his campaign committee taking in $500,000 from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown in 2018.
The Art of the Possible
With the incessant barrage of political and media attacks, and with losses like what was recently suffered in Virginia, more and more Republican politicians are starting to believe they can betray desperate gun owners with impunity. It recalls a sentiment about gun owners I first heard attributed to the late RNC Chair Lee Atwater:
“Who else are they going to vote for?”
Whether he actually said that or not, we’ve all seen it play out – if we don’t vote for the Republican who stabbed us in the back, a Democrat who will really, really hurt us will win in his place. Gun owners have come to accept that because, rather than taking out the first or second or third turncoat as an example to others in a very public manner 30 years ago, our “leaders” pushed “lesser of two evils” capitulation as the norm. They responded to angry calls for electoral revenge with insipid platitudes like “The perfect is the enemy of the good” and “Politics is the art of the possible.”
How people who refuse to push the envelope would know what is possible has been left unsaid, as is how many times they’d accept the parallel of being publicly cheated on by a spouse. So we gun owners now find ourselves in the situation we’re in because the people who assign the ratings haven’t made a practice of loudly giving turncoats the boot and suffering an occasional loss as the cost of keeping other candidates “loyal” – if not out of principle then at least out of self-preservation.
Nor have they developed an effective methodology to consistently “primary” the cheaters with acceptable candidates. And in the case of out-and-out double-crossers like New York-born state senator Bill Galvano of Florida, if a Democrat does win the general, in the words of Hillary Clinton, “What difference does it make?” The guy shouldn’t be able to get elected dog catcher, and Republicans need to grok that if they want our support, they’ll need to field someone else or feel our pain.
Is It Too Late?
“2020 is Trump’s to blow with gun owners,” I wrote in issue 17 of Firearms News. Despite Trump’s numerous disappointments on the right to keep and bear arms, and some of the stupid stuff the guy keeps volunteering that his apologists continue to excuse as “3D chess,” if he does not win we’ll be left with the choices of surrender or resist. Count on it: The Democrats will go into a national eye-rolling feeding frenzy that Virginia’s can only hint at.
The problem being, if the president feels like he can get away with reneging on his 2A fidelity pledge when he still needs us, what can we expect from him when he no longer does?
And no, of course no sane gun owner would “rather have” Bernie or Bloomberg, and ironically, they may turn out to hand us, if not our salvation, at least a temporary respite. No one has a crystal ball so we can’t predict who the Democrat nominee will be, but we can at least grope around with probabilities. The folks we thought were Democrat frontrunners are being upended, and it could very well be one of those two. If Bernie gets the nod, Bloomberg’s well-heeled Wall Street backers aren’t about to let a commie ideologue tank their bottom lines, and if Bloomberg gets the nod, look for no shortage of immature radicals backing Bernie to go full Antifa.
If the president, with the enthusiastic MAGA hordes that turn out for his rallies, wins a second term, our state and national gun groups need to come up with a better game plan for dealing with Republican turncoats. These are the folks who presume to be our leaders in directing gun owner attention and resources.
We need them to lead us in this, particularly in dealing with the party to groom candidates who truly believe that the right of the people to keep and bear arms is more relevant than ever. And we need them to strategically select turncoats who can be made examples of without jeopardizing the balance of power in favor of the Democrats.
They can start by giving realistic 2A ratings. We’re big boys and we can take that this guy gets a “B” because he did or didn’t do something we wanted, instead of fraudulently attesting that a mediocrity, at best, is some kind of “staunch supporter of the Second Amendment.” People catch on to that, get justifiably cynical, stop wanting to play and evaluator credibility is shot. Give us the unvarnished truth and trust that we’re capable of seeing what the alternatives are and of making our adult decisions accordingly.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. In addition to being a regular featured contributor for Firearms Newsand AmmoLand Shooting Sports News, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts onTwitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.