2019: The year ahead

A new year brings us a new governor and lieutenant governor team, as well as the other statewide offices, many new Statehouse legislators and two new Ohio Supreme Court justices. We keep the same old anti-gun rights U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.

As we start a new legislative session with Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, it seems the outgoing governor gave us one last gift. Kasich’s actions over the past month have energized legislators like never before. We have formed stronger bonds by sticking together through adversity. Winning against a strong and obstinate foe has made us all stronger.

Because of last month’s victory, Ohio law changes on or about March 29. Ohio will become like every other state where victims forced to defend their lives will enjoy the same presumption of innocence that their would-be killer enjoys. Other significant changes also take place on the same day.

Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted will submit their first budget process and begin working with the legislature their platform issues, as well as all the issues the 132 different legislators feel are important. Firearms/self-defense/Second Amendment issues will see much discussion and action from all perspectives.

One thing that I think will be strikingly different than sessions over the past 30 years is the opportunity to move multiple smaller good bills instead of trying to cram everything into one gigantic bill that passes in lame duck. Because Governor DeWine is supportive of self-defense and Second Amendment issues, he is not prone to dictate that he will “only sign one-gun bill” per (two year) session. That opens the door to dialog on specific issues with those opposed and a chance to work with them long term.

While the DNC and many in the Democratic party have openly shunned anything to do with shooting, even as a sport or in defense of innocent life, there is an opening for Republicans and Democrats to work together in Ohio. We will see a bi-partisan sponsorship of concealed carry-related legislation this session, and it will be signed into law.

Still, many in Democratic party will follow their national leaders and remain opposed to protecting civil rights of our most vulnerable citizens. You will also see some Republicans champion gun control, and we must be ready to fight emotion and rhetoric with calmly stated facts. Winning political battles is about education and winning the hearts and minds of good people, even though they seem to have beliefs contrary to ours.

While I don’t know how we could do more FASTER Saves Lives training that we did last year, I think demand will continue to increase. There will be more active killers, including our schools, and even those who don’t like guns will see that status quo is not acceptable.

We will receive positive rulings in our lawsuits against Cincinnati and Columbus. Those cities are clearly in violation of state law and the judges will continue to rule in our favor. We will also work with small cities to see outdated code repealed.

Turning our attention to D.C. and the federal government, I foresee more turmoil and problems. With Speaker Nancy Pelosi in charge of the House, every committee will have a Democratic Chairman, who will likely be anti-Second Amendment. They will pass horrible bills and garner accolades from the media while pretending to be moderate and tolerant. They are neither.

But the Republican-controlled Senate will push back, because partisan politics dictate. Little will get done at the federal legislative level. Because so little is getting done, there may be an opportunity to advance a few things that a majority of legislators support, like the Hearing Protection Act (taking suppressors off
the regulated firearms list) or National Reciprocity. (Note that I expected these to pass in 2017, but I was wrong. Hope springs eternal.)

Many Democrats will start running in earnest for their party’s nomination for President of the United States. Most of them will work hard to come up with new and outlandish ways to revoke your Constitutional rights. You will see former Governor John Kasich join them and shake your head wondering how someone who received such strong support four years ago could fall so far, so fast or be so disconnected from reality.

The best part of the national scene may be the U.S. Supreme Court. There are several important cases that appear ripe for the Court to hear. We will be listening and waiting to see about stepping into that ring again.

Through it all, Buckeye Firearms Association will continue to be involved and keep you appraised of all the important happenings. We will hold our annual “Buckeye Bash” and many other shooting events as well as some educational lectures. By reading our weekly newsletter you will be an informed and a trusted source of accurate information at your work, range, club, forums, or other places where firearms and hunting are discussed.

Together we will face great challenges, with horrific perils should we lose. But by working together we will prevail and look back upon 2019 as a great year for the Second Amendment and our freedoms.

Jim Irvine is Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association Political Action Committee (BFA-PAC). He is also Board President of Buckeye Firearms Association, and recipient of the NRA-ILA’s 2011 “Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award,” the CCRKBA’s 2012 “Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award,” and the SAF’s 2015 “Defender of Freedom Award.”