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  • Independence Day
    by Rick Jones

    With the upcoming holiday, let's look at what it might mean to some people…a day off with pay, just a day off, family, friends, cookouts, reunions or just a day to lounge and watch the fireworks. As for me, I think of our Constitution, our founding fathers, our Bill of Rights, our military men and women who are performing their duties to protect our freedom.

    “FREEDOM”. We say it often, exclaiming our rights by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but is it really free? Daily, there are people who are ready, willing and able to chip away at our most basic freedoms as guaranteed by the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the Constitution, and it is these people who we must fight against. The one that is the most often spoken of, is the 1st Amendment…the right to free speech, the right to choose the way we want to worship, the right of free press, the right of peaceable assembly, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This freedom in the 1st Amendment is the main reason that our forefathers came to this country… to get away from a ruler who wouldn’t allow such freedoms. The 1st Amendment was of the utmost importance to our founding fathers, and that is the reason it is listed first!

    With such freedoms now in place, how will you be able to protect them? It is with the 2nd Amendment that these freedoms are protected!

    The 2nd Amendment has been the most debated and dissected Amendment in the Bill of Rights throughout the 20th century. It contains 27 words, 3 commas and a period, and has been interpreted many different ways, been through lower courts, all the way to the Supreme Court, and is still in place today to protect your rights and mine!

    Even before the signing of our constitution, our founding fathers had their ideas of self-preservation, liberty and security. Here are a few examples:

    • "They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759 
    • "A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither" - Thomas Jefferson

    Consider this excerpt from our Declaration of Independence:

    • "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

    The only way this can happen is if the 2nd Amendment is kept in place until such time that this should have to happen!

    • "When governments fear the people there is liberty. When people fear the government there is tyranny." -Thomas Jefferson

    Please support those who fight against those who wish to take away your 2nd Amendment rights!

    Here is wishing you a “HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY”!

  • Americans Comfortable Living Around Guns, Despite Decades–long Fear Campaign

    The results of a Rasmussen Reports poll released June 12 provide further evidence of just how out-of-step the gun control movement is with the American people. In a survey of 977 likely voters, Rasmussen found that an overwhelming majority of Americans would rather live in a neighborhood where residents are allowed to own firearms than one that is completely disarmed.

    Specifically, the survey asked "Would you feel safer moving to a neighborhood where nobody was allowed to own a gun or a neighborhood where you could have a gun for your own protection?" Armed neighborhoods were favored in landslide, with 68 percent of those polled choosing a neighborhood with guns. A further 10 percent answered that they were not sure which option they preferred, while a mere 22 percent felt safer in a disarmed area.

    The Rasmussen results come at a time when various polls show strong support for gun rights. For decades Galluphas asked Americans the question, "In general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?" Since the 1990s, the percentage of respondents that answer "more strict" has significantly trended downward, while the percentage of those hoping to see firearms laws "kept as now" or made "less strict" has risen to the point where they now comprise a majority. Further, a November 2014 Gallup poll revealed that 63 percent of Americans think having a gun makes a home a safer place to be, while only 30 percent believe a firearm makes the home more dangerous.

    These results are bad news for gun control advocates, who spent the 1990s trying to convince Americans that close proximity to firearms posed a threat to their safety. The polls suggest that the public has thoroughly rejected the gun control talking points derived from the anti-gun research of Arthur L. Kellerman, M.D., while embracing the reality that firearms are frequently used for self-defense as shown by the work of Florida State University Criminologist Gary Kleck.

    The decades-long campaign to convince Americans that they are safer without firearms has been an utter failure. Unfortunately, with an infusion of funds from their oligarch benefactor, the gun control movement appears intent on trying to convince the public to reject good research and common sense well into the future.

    © 2015 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

  • Registration Open for the 2015 National Trophy Pistol & Rifle Matches at Camp Perry
    by Ashley Brugnone

    Register now on the CMP website for a spot to shoot at the 2015 National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches. These popular and historical matches will once again be fired at Camp Perry, Ohio, six miles west of Port Clinton, during the month of July.

    The schedule of this year’s Matches will be the same as the 2014 National Matches, featuring a variety of events such as the John C. Garand, President’s Rifle, Hearst Doubles, Vintage Sniper, as well as a multitude of prestigious pistol events. Come take part in and witness the most anticipated time of the year at Camp Perry!

    On top of competitive opportunities, a Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) will also be held for rifle and pistol enthusiasts, where participants will be instructed by some of the top military shooters in the country on firearm safety and competition technique. The SAFS courses have been a staple in the National Matches at Camp Perry since 1918.

    Many other clinics and learning opportunities, taught by qualified professionals, will also be available throughout the National Matches. Whether an experienced shooter or firing a shot for the first time, those wanting to enhance their rifle or pistol abilities can register for a number of clinics conducted during the Matches.

    Events are open to the public, and spectators are welcome to observe firing on the Camp Perry ranges at any time. Guests are encouraged to participate in the many exciting activities and visual attractions offered during the Match season.

    Don’t forget that outside of the action on the firing line, Commercial Row offers a variety of items for both spectators and shooters – with a multitude of manufacturers selling used firearms, ammunition, competition gear, accessories, apparel and much more. The CMP Store allows even more buying opportunities at the Matches with our collection of military surplus rifles.

    For registration and more information on the National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches, including a new schedule of events, log on to http://thecmp.org/competitions/cmp-national-matches/.

    We hope to see you there!

    For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org for more information and program descriptions.

  • To the Editor: A good person with a gun is valuable

    The following letter to the editor of the Toledo Blade was published on June 30, 2015:

    Your June 24 editorial “Firearms and forgiveness” is not only wrong in its opinion, but also is wrong in fact.

    Sadly, the House State Government Committee removed places of worship from the bill you cite more than two weeks before you published your editorial.

    I say sadly because a good person with a gun might have prevented the deaths at the church in Charleston, S.C., just as persons carrying concealed firearms limited deaths at New Life Church in Colorado in 2007, and prevented injuries when a man with a shotgun kicked in a door at South Side Freewill Baptist Church near Spartanburg, S.C., in 2012.

    You asked: “Does any sane person believe such a law [allowing concealed carry in churches] would not raise the risk of carnage to unacceptable levels?” How much more “unacceptable” can we get than nine dead at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston?

    If The Blade does not believe that a good person with a gun can stop a person committing an act of violence, why do people call 911 and ask for people with guns to come to their aid?

    It’s not a question of whether a good person with a gun can help. It’s only a question of how long The Blade wants victims to have to wait for help to arrive.


    Archbold, Ohio

    Editor’s note: The writer is secretary of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

  • Tanks, Bombers and Pyrotechnics Bring Spark to the CMP’s 2015 First Shot Ceremony
    by Ashley Brugnone

    CAMP PERRY, Ohio – Please join the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) on the world-famous Camp Perry ranges in Port Clinton, Ohio, for another thrilling display of live World War II history during the First Shot Ceremony of the National Trophy Pistol and Rifle Matches on July 6, 2015. Reenactors, ground vehicles, air support and exhilarating pyrotechnics will join us on Rodriguez Range for the time-honored opening ritual.

    The celebration beings at 9:30 a.m., with the help of the 122nd Army Band that will play American fanfare for assembling guests. The ceremony will formally start at 10:00 as First Shot Speaker, Congressman Robert Latta of Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District, delivers his speech and fires the traditional first shot.

    Throughout the ceremony, scheduled flyovers by Yankee Lady, a fully-restored WWII B-17G bomber, and a visit from a WWII U.S. Navy TBM Avenger aircraft, will pay tribute to the brave men and women who fought for our freedom during the second World War. A demonstration of Thunderbolt, a WWII M4 Sherman Tank, will also entertain the crowd, along with a static display of eight WWII vehicles.

    In addition to the TBM aircraft, the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, will also provide German reenactors, vehicles and anti-aircraft guns. Kevin Winters, military historian, will provide G.I. reenactors.

    New this year, the ceremony will give special recognition to the hard working women of WWII with a “Rosie the Riveter” reenactor. The 555th Honors Detachment from Wooster, Ohio, will serve as color guard, while U.S. Navy (Ret.) Captain Pat Thompson will bring in the "Wolverine Division" of the US Naval Sea Cadets of Monroe, Mich., to serve as honor guards and reenactors.

    To add the feel along with the look of WWII, Robert Gillmor from Gillmor Ordnance will provide pyrotechnics both on the range leading up to the parade ground and will detonate the ceremonial first shot target. Guests should be prepared for a few exciting moments of booms, smoke, fire and amazement.

    The First Shot Ceremony is free and open to the public. All are encouraged to join us on our day of celebration. For more information on the National Matches, visit http://thecmp.org/competitions/cmp-national-matches/.

    For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org for more information and program descriptions.

  • Governor signs budget bill - media access loophole is closed
    by Jim Irvine & Chad D. Baus

    Governor Kasich has signed HB 64, Ohio's biennial budget. Contained in the massive bill is language which removes the media access loophole (MAL), a provision which gave journalists a special exemption to access the confidential information of concealed handgun license (CHL) holders.

    Senator Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township) proposed the amendment, which was adopted by the Ohio Senate in it's version of the budget. It survived the conference committee report, and was passed by both the House and Senate.

    The history of this fight goes back more than a decade, before concealed carry was law in Ohio. Then-Governor Bob Taft (R) had made campaign promises to sign concealed carry legislation, but then arranged to have the Senate kill it for him twice. The third time he had again promised to sign, but insisted that many “poison pills” be added to the bill, HB 12. (Much of our work over the past 10 years is removing those provisions, or “de-Tafting” our law.)

    Finally, a deal was made and we had a concealed carry bill out of conference committee. The major media were beside themselves that they had not been able to kill it with their biased and factually incorrect “reporting” and editorializing. They insisted they be given access to license-holder information, and Taft decided he’d veto the Act he had promised to sign.

    The Act was undone, the bill was re-amended in conference committee and re-voted in the House and Senate and sent again to the Governor, this time giving journalists access to license-holder's confidential information. The bill's primary sponsor, Rep. James Aslanides (R-Coshocton), said of the media access loophole, "If [journalists] abuse the privilege, we can cause them to lose the privilege,"

    The abuse, harassment and intimidation began almost immediately. At least ten media outlets (including what was at the time largest newspaper in the state – the Cleveland Plain Dealer) began publishing the names of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of law-abiding citizens who resided in some of the Buckeye State's most populous counties.

    After the Sandusky Register published a list of license-holders, Buckeye Firearms Association received national attention from Rush Limbaugh for using Sandusky Register editor Matt Westerhold as a case study to demonstrate the types of sensitive information that can already be gathered through truly public records - not to mention newspapers making public information which statutorily was not to be public. In another case of abuse, the Middletown Journal used the MAL to compile and publish a list of elected officials in the Buckeye State who have obtained concealed handgun licenses.

    On the other hand, the media have never used their access for their stated purpose, and through the many interviews I (Jim) have done on topic in the last month, not one reporter could tell me one good thing that has come from their access. The damage is impossible to measure. For some it was just embarrassment or being evicted from their apartment. For a former Ohio prison guard it meant being tracked down by a former inmate by using a concealed carry license list published in the local paper. For a couple of others we are aware of it was a tragic meeting with a jilted lover come to get final revenge.

    Over the years of media abuse, the legislature has amended the media’s access to the data, but journalists continued to abuse the privilege, proving that half-measures will never help one accomplish the ultimate goal. They can get you closer, but never quite there.

    At long last, and in fulfillment of a promise made by Rep. Aslanides more than a decade ago, the access that should never have been granted has been removed.

    After a decade of improving the law, the information which Ohio law has ALWAYS considered to be confidential - not a public record (see O.R.C. § 2923.129 (B) (1) is finally and truly private. No longer will applicants have to fear their confidential information falling into the hands of a scornful reporter.

    We thank Senator Uecker and the other senators who supported this fix, the conference committee members who left it in the budget, and the House members who approved the measure. We also thank Governor Kasich for signing the final solution on this issue into law.

    Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."

    Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

  • Civitas Media fights to retain ability to develop database of CHL-holders (and they're not alone )
    by Chad D. Baus

    In early, 2014, I exposed an internal email proving that Civitas Media, which owns some 88 newspapers in 12 states - including 38 here in Ohio - was discussing the use of "public records act requests" to "build state-by-state databases that list those who have the right to carry" firearm licenses.

    My article quickly went viral. Soon after being picked up by DailyCaller.com, DrudgeReport.com added a link to the DailyCaller.com piece. I was eventually interviewed by Fox News and the resulting article was posted as the top story at FoxNews.com.

    Less than 24 hours after my original article was published, and despite having spurned my earlier requests to provide much in the way of public comment concerning the status of plans to create this database, Civitas Media issued a statement saying that the company "never had any plans or intentions of publishing in print or online lists of holders of 'conceal and carry' permits" and would not "develop databases of permit holders."

    Civitas had done what it took to get Fox News, with whom I had actually taped a segment for Megyn Kelly, off their back. The "Kelly File" segment never ran. But just a year and a half later, it is now obvious that Civitas Media hasn't done away with their intentions to obtain concealed handgun license (CHL) -holders' confidential information.

    In 2012, Civitas Media purchased the Lima News, a newspaper which has a long history of editorial support for the right to bear arms. In fact, in 2006, the newspaper published an op-ed in favor of closing the media access loophole (MAL) which allows journalists to view Ohio CHL-holders' confidential information.

    Lawmakers again are looking at Ohioans who carry concealed weapons. Legislators want either to restrict who can access the now-public lists of permit holders or close access to them altogether.

    Closing the lists altogether makes sense. It’s not a popular opinion among newspaper people (the Ohio Newspaper Association, which this paper belongs to, opposes shutting off the lists).

    Certainly, keeping public records open is important in a free society, but owning and carrying a gun isn’t sufficient reason to have your name and address kept on file for anyone to access.

    Defining rights and privileges is important to this debate. You shouldn’t have to license yourself in order to exercise a freedom. It’s another thing if you look to take advantage of a privilege such as driving.

    Now that Civitas Media owns the newspaper, however, the Lima News is singing a different tune. From an editorial published June 28, 2015:

    People who have read The Lima News for years know of its long history of supporting the rights of gun owners.

    Thus, they may be shocked that we are asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to use his line-item veto to ensure journalists access to the names of concealed carry permit holders. Language was slipped into the budget bill at the last minute that tightened restrictions.

    Indeed, readers who are unaware that the small-town newspaper is now owned by a national media conglomerate that does not share their values may be "shocked," but the rest of us could see it coming a mile away. Civitas Media is at it again, and this time, they have help.

    You see, the editorial published by the Lima News wasn't written by anyone at that newspaper, despite the fact that it is published without the proper citation. As I perused the predictable plethora of "sky is falling" editorials addressing the closing of the MAL in the budget bill, I took note of several editorials that were calling on Governor Kasich (R) to use his line-item veto pen and leave the journalists' loophole open.

    When I looked closer, I noticed that the exact same language was used in three different newspapers - this one from the Lima News, this one from Ashtabula's Star-Beacon, and this one from the Akron Beacon Journal. The following is published word-for-word in all three newspapers, but neither Civitas Media's Lima News nor the Star-Beacon cited the author, who turns out to be none other than Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association:

    There are times when it is necessary and in the public’s best interest for journalists to ask if someone has a concealed carry permit.

    For example, in the case of a shooting, a reporter might ask these questions: Did the shooter have a concealed carry permit? If so, was it proper and legal? And, if it wasn’t issued appropriately, why was the permit not revoked as the law requires? These are the kinds of questions good reporters ask – and may no longer be possible to ask under Ohio law.

    That is why the Ohio Newspaper Association, joined by the Ohio Association of Broadcasters and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, believe it was wrong for the state legislature to throw the secrecy shroud over another government activity by eliminating the limited access to this information. It is why the ONA urges Gov. Kasich to use his line-item veto power to restore the current language in the law.

    The provision is in the massive budget bill, House Bill 64, headed to the governor’s desk. (You might wonder why such a provision was tossed into the budget bill late in the game, but that’s a subject for another day.)

    To explain how we got here, it’s important to debunk myths about this information. Ohio sharply limits the access of journalists to this information already. Reporters can’t take notes or copy the permits; nor do they see specific street addresses. This prevents media outlets from publishing or posting long lists of permit holders – an initiative by a few media outlets that sparked controversy around the country.

    Efforts to block even that limited access flared in 2011 after the Middletown Journal published a story in which a reporter checked to see if local elected officials had carry permits. This article has been used as “evidence” that the media simply seeks to sensationalize and invade the privacy of legal gun owners.

    I urge the people with concerns to actually read the story. It’s legitimate by any standard of good journalism. It couldn’t have been more “fair and balanced.”

    The story came at a time when there was a debate in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona about elected officials being able to arm and protect themselves in public settings. Several state legislators were interviewed — and even posed for a photo at a shooting range. Local officials who had permits were interviewed on the record.

    The story also contained what has to be one of the most memorable quotes of 2011 from Rep. Ron Maag, who said, “The reason I carry a gun is because I can’t carry a cop.”

    One is left to wonder why the Star-Beacon and Civitas Media's Lima News published this op-ed as if it was their own? Did they think it would carry more weight with their readers than if they knew the truth - that it was an op-ed written by a biased outsider?

    Hetzel has provided previous comment to newspapers writing about the move to close the MAL once and for all, and, like his editorial, his comments have been full of misinformation and distraction.

    In his editorial, which has likely been distributed to all ONA member newspapers in hopes that more will publish it, as did these three, Hetzel suggests that "a reporter might ask these questions: Did the shooter have a concealed carry permit? If so, was it proper and legal? And, if it wasn’t issued appropriately, why was the permit not revoked as the law requires?"

    The problem is, if the reporters do ask such questions, readers never are told about it. I've read a large amount of media coverage about issues involving the criminal misuse of firearms, and NOT ONCE EVER have I seen a report that says, "the gang banger that did the drive-by did not have a concealed handgun license," or "the stabbing victim who was robbed at knife-point had not obtained a concealed handgun license and was thus unable to protect themselves."

    Instead, in the vast majority of cases where the media access loophole was used, it was used to harass and intimidate law-abiding Ohioans.

    Hetzel has been quoted as saying "once government decides to create a record, the law in Ohio couldn’t be clearer that it is an open record unless there is a compelling reason to close it.” He neglects to mention that CHL records have been considered confidential, and not a public record (see O.R.C. § 2923.129 (B) (1)), since the day Ohio's concealed carry law was first passed. Only journalists have ever had access to the confidential information.

    ​If the ONA loves openness so much, perhaps Hetzel could explain why, in 2011, he and the ONA opposed a bill that sought to shine the light of openness on journalists who were requesting access to this confidential information. What's good for the goose, right? But no, the ONA opposed openness in that instance because this fight isn't about openness.

    This fight has always been about an anti-self-defense, anti-gun rights elitists in the media seeking to harass and intimidate those who are simply choosing the best tool possible to keep themselves and their families safe.

    The media have never used their privileged access to this confidential information for the reasons they claimed it was needed, and Gov. Kasich will be ending a long and sad chapter in the history of Ohio's concealed carry law when he signs HB 64 - with the MAL fix - into law.

    Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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