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  • BFA's Jim Irvine testifies in support of HB 48 (Eliminate many 'no-guns' victim zones)
    by Jim Irvine

    The fate of HB 48 (Eliminate many 'no-guns' victim zones) - a bill that was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives over one year ago by a whopping 68-29 vote - may come down to what happens in Ohio Senate the next 48 hours.

    HB 48 makes several critical changes to Ohio firearms laws.

    Currently it is against the law to possess a firearm on school property. There is an exemption for license-holders “immediately in the process of picking up or dropping off a child,” provided the license-holder remains in the vehicle. But drop off a spouse (not a “child”) for work, or your kids lunch/medicine/science project, and parents are subject to felony penalties. Parents with a CHL are prohibited from leaving the vehicle as may be required to sign a child out of the office or nurses’ station.

    HB 48 would fix this mess by simply stating that the gun, as opposed to the license-holder, must remain in the vehicle. It fixes a problem that license-holders, schools, law enforcement and prosecutors have had issues with. Such a simple and common-sense fix should enjoy unanimous support.

    For most people, the distinction between the “secure side” and the “non-secure” area of an airport is obvious. Non-secure areas include the road, parking garage, baggage claim, and check-in areas. The secure area is anything on the other side of security. But Ohio does not recognize this obvious difference for CHL’s. The same is true for police stations. HB 48 would fix this by allowing licensed individuals to possess firearms in the non-secure area, while leaving the prohibition in place for the secure areas.

    HB48 would allow the carry of firearms in a private airplane, just as it does a private car/truck.

    HB48 would eliminate the prohibition of having a gun in a day care facility. Requiring parents to disarm/rearm every time they drop off/pick up a child is inviting an accident. Leaving the gun holstered on one’s person is safer for the parent, children, and day care facility. Day care centers would still be permitted to adopt their own rules prohibiting firearms in their facility.

    Current law allows grade schools to authorize individuals to carry firearms in school. This is a fast-growing trend among Ohio schools, many of which have taken advantage of “FASTER Saves Lives” training as part of their security measures. HB 48 would allow colleges and universities to similarly allow carry if they desired. Prohibiting institutions of higher education from adopting “best practice” protocols for violence including active killer/active shooter is bad policy. HB 48 fixes this problem and gives each institution the ability to do what they believe is best for their staff and students.

    While this bill would greatly improve Ohio’s laws regarding concealed carry and bring the state more in line with generally acceptable standards and common sense, it has been vocally opposed by several who seem to put their anti-self-defense agenda above the good of their constituents.

    Bloomberg and the anti-gun groups he funds are fighting HARD against this bill. They've bussed in opponents to testify in committee. And they're contacting legislators asking them to vote against this bill.

    We need a committee vote, and then floor votes in both chambers, to turn this bill into law. We can make this happen with YOUR help. But you must ACT NOW!

    >>> CLICK HERE to use our Action Center to email your State Representative and State Senator.

    Following is testimony offered today before the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee by Jim Irvine, President of Buckeye Firearms Association:

    Good morning Chairman Coley, Vice Chairman Seitz, ranking member Yuko and members of the Senate Committee on Government Oversight and Reform. I testify today in support of H.B. 48.

    Ohio law is full of statutory felonies for Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders. Felony charges ruin people’s lives and should be reserved for serious offenses, not arbitrary infractions.

    H.B. 48 removes several “no carry” or “victim zones” from current law. Some have argued that we have not proven why removing those bans are proper. Carrying a firearm and defending one’s life are fundamental constitutional rights. The burden is upon the state to prove the need for such restrictions. With no legitimate reason presented, it is right to repeal the offending sections.

    Studying active killer events, we see that they are almost always committed in these victim zones. Current law creates safe locations for those who intend to commit mass murder. Life is sacred and we should be doing everything we can to protect innocent life. H.B. 48 takes important steps in that direction.

    In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, Buckeye Firearms Foundation offered a class for educators taught by John Benner of Tactical Defense Institute. We were told that teachers didn’t want to carry guns. In a few weeks we had over 1,000 people asking for training. Teachers love our kids and are willing to do anything to keep them safe.

    Guns in schools seems controversial to some, but that is because they don’t understand active killer events or the deep bond school staff share with our children. This is NOT for everyone. But in every building there is someone who is going to respond to the event and do whatever they can to save the children, no matter what the policy, no matter what the consequences. They have proven they are willing to die for our kids. For those special people, we owe them the ability to stop the killing. With training they have the mindset, tools, and skills to end the violence and start treating the injured. If that is what we all want in these horrible situations, then you must change the law to achieve it.

    Appropriate questions to ask are, “How long do we want the violence to continue?” and “Do we want a slow or a fast response time?” Thus our program, “FASTER Saves Lives.” We have trained over 600 people, in 170 school districts, in 8 states, including at least 63 of Ohio’s 88 counties. We have outstanding results, not a hypothetical idea.

    As I stand here, there are schools all over Ohio where children are kept safe, not by a useless “no guns” sticker on the door, or words in a policy manual, but by trained, armed staff members.

    Over the past two years we have opened up our training to some college faculty members. Their employers understand they are trained and competent to provide a critical layer of security for their staff and students. Under current Ohio law, it is illegal for colleges to employ best practices for violence. All they are asking for is the same ability that grade schools currently have; local control to do what is right for their school.

    H.B. 48 is needed because it corrects several deficiencies our laws. We support its passage.

    Respectfully submitted,

    James Irvine, President

     



  • ACTION ALERT - Gun Bill Needs Your Support TODAY

    Earlier, we asked you to contact your legislators about HB 48 to eliminate victim zones and THOUSANDS of you sent emails. The effect was amazing and YOU HAVE BEEN HEARD!

    NOW another bill needs your IMMEDIATE support ...

    SB 199 is an important bill that would allow active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces to carry a handgun without a license AND an amendment to this bill would allow employees to store a gun in their vehicle while in the parking lot at work without threat of losing their job.

    Your Senator and Representative need to hear from you on this. Military members protect our country and risk their lives while deployed. And we MUST allow them to protect themselves in their everyday lives.

    As amended, SB 199 also allows employees to remain armed while driving to and from work. Right now, your employer can ban guns not only inside but outside in the parking lot preventing you from exercising your right of self defense as you travel to and from work. This must end.

    The Ohio Chamber of Commerce (click to email!) is strongly opposing this bill. And in addition to emails from every gun owner, we need business owners and leaders to call to explain why it is vital to allow gun owners to store firearms in their personal vehicles at work.

    Gun Owners:
    Click here to send an email.
    Business Owners and Leaders:
    Click here to make a phone call.

    This is how we make a difference. This is how we WIN!

    Thank you for your help and support!

    Dean Rieck
    Executive Director

    UPDATE - The language of the amendment follows:

    For any employer, to discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against a person who holds a valid concealed handgun license with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment, because the licensee possessed a firearm within the person's private real property or within a motor vehicle not owned or controlled by the employer, regardless of whether the motor vehicle is located on the employer's real property and, if the motor vehicle is located on the employer's real property, regardless of the location of the motor vehicle on the employer's real property.



  • ACTION ALERT - Write your legislators NOW!

    We're close to passing an important bill that will help eliminate many no-gun "victim zones" throughout Ohio. But Bloomberg is fighting us!

    We need your help now. TODAY!

    House Bill 48 (HB 48) allows for concealed carry in places it is already legal to open carry guns. It removes many "victim zones" which are places that are easy for bad people to kill many innocents, such as day-care facilities, aircraft, certain government facilities, and public areas of airport terminals, and it makes improvements to school safety zones. 

    HB 48 also grants colleges and universities the authority, if they choose, to allow people to legally possess firearms. 

    Bloomberg and the anti-gun groups he funds are fighting HARD against this bill. They've bussed in opponents to testify in committee. And they're contacting legislators asking them to vote against this bill.

    We need a committee vote, and then floor votes in both chambers, to turn this bill into law. We can make this happen with YOUR help. But you must ACT NOW!

    >>> CLICK HERE to use our Action Center to email your State Representative and State Senator.

    Thank you for your support of this important bill.



  • Giving a Firearm as a Gift? Some (Updated) Reminders from NSSF
    by Bill Brassard

    The holidays are just around the corner. As hunters, shooters, collectors or just plain plinkers, it’s a natural instinct to want to share our enjoyment of firearms with others. What better way to do that than to make a gift of a firearm to a family member, close friend or relative?

    The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that . . . it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.

    The first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. With more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place; for example, juveniles (under age 18), generally speaking, are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.

    There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state. Abramski v. United States, a recent Supreme Court decision involving a “straw purchase” of a firearm did not change the law regarding firearms as gifts. The following states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State) and the District of Columbia require you to transfer a firearm through a local firearms retailer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun.  Maryland and Pennsylvania require a background check for private party transfer of a handgun.  There are exceptions, so it’s important to carefully check the law of your state or ask your local firearms retailer.

    The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store, buying it on your own and giving it to, say your father, consider instead purchasing a gift certificate from that retailer and giving it to Dad as his present. That way he’ll get the exact gun he wants, and there’s no question about who is “the actual buyer of the firearm,” which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase.

    You can only ship a handgun by common carrier (but not U.S. Mail) and a long gun by U.S. Mail or common carrier to a federally licensed retailer, but not to a non-licensed individual in another state. With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms.

    What if you want to give “Old Betsy,” your favorite old deer rifle, to your son or daughter as a college graduation gift? Again, in most states, there’s no law that says you can’t, but some states require even inter-family transfers to go through a licensed retailer. Remember, you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed retailer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides. Using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives might be a good solution. Pre-1898 antique firearms are generally exempt from the retailer requirement. Be safe and check with your retailer or local law enforcement before you hand over your prized possession.

    It’s often an emotional moment when a treasured family heirloom is passed down to the next generation. These moments are part of what our cherished enjoyment of firearms is all about and represent that unique bond that sportsmen have with their fellow enthusiasts.

    So enjoy the holidays and do it right!

    Click here to read the entire article at NSSFBlog.com.



  • Remember to fight for your Second Amendment rights with year-end donations
    by Jim Irvine

    As you are going over your end of year “to do” lists, there are some donations you can make to support your ideals.

    Tax credit – the gift that costs you nothing! You can make a donation of $50/100 per person/couple to an Ohio statewide candidate, State Representative or State Senator and receive a tax credit for the entire donation. This is not a “tax deduction” where you get a portion back; this is a “tax credit” where your donation counts toward your tax bill. The donation can be all to one candidate, or split between multiple candidates. You get it back when you file your Ohio tax return.

    Buckeye Firearms Foundation is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Donations to it may qualify for tax deductions depending on your tax situations. The Foundation supports the FASTER (Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response) program that is improving the safety and security in our schools.

    For those who must make mandatory withdraws on IRA's/401(k)'s or other retirement accounts, if your withdrawal is given to an approved charity such as Buckeye Firearms Foundation, you do not pay federal income tax on the amount donated to charity. Just tell your financial institution who you want the donation given to, and the amount and they will help you through the process.

    But you need to act quickly for 2016. The checks do not need to be received/cashed by the end of the year, but you do need to mail the check or give instructions to your financial institution by December 31st, and most close early on New Year’s Eve.

    Thank you for supporting Buckeye Firearms Association, Buckeye Firearms Association PAC, and Buckeye Firearms Foundation, and our endorsed candidates who work with us in Columbus.

    Checks to Buckeye Firearms Foundation can be mailed to:

    P.O. Box 357
    Greenville, OH 45331

    Have a happy and safe New Year.

    Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association President, BFA PAC Chairman 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."



  • Lively testimony on HB 48 (Eliminate many 'no-guns' victim zones) follows OSU attack
    by Chad D. Baus

    Just 24 hours after a man influenced by Islamic extremism slammed his car into a crowd of Ohio State students and then began slashing at them with a butcher knife, OSU students and others presented testimony on a bill pending before the Ohio Senate that would allow universities the option of restoring their students' self-defense rights on campus.

    HB 48 passed the Ohio House over one year ago by a 68-29 vote, but has been languishing in the Ohio Senate, where members have been preoccupied with the election cycle. The Senate had scheduled to resume hearings on the bill last week, before the attack at OSU. Members of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee heard tesimony from both supporters and opponents of the bill this week.

    From Gongwer News Service:

    Proponents of a bill that would in part allow colleges and universities to permit the carrying of concealed firearms on campus told a Senate panel Tuesday that it would improve student safety.

    ...

    "We know that when these attacks are stopped by an armed citizen, there are usually a lot fewer injuries than when we must wait for police officers," said Jonathan Beshears, a law student at OSU. "Why do we insist that students cannot feel safe on campus? Is a college classroom somehow more sacred than a place of worship?"

    Mr. Beshears said he believed allowing students to carry firearms would make attackers more fearful.

    "There is a strong, quiet majority that understands that police cannot be everywhere at once, and want to be able to keep themselves safe," he said. "Make the knife-wielding maniacs be the ones who have to live in fear."

    In follow-up commentary, Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) observed the bill would also benefit students who park off campus and then walk to campus.

    Shannon Davis, an OSU student, said she was in a classroom during Monday's attack and realized her pepper spray likely wouldn't help, and none of her classmates were armed to protect against an attacker.

    "I have a number of friends who are not going to class today because they are terrified," she said.

    Sen. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) asked Ms. Davis if there were any areas where she thought concealed carry should not be allowed.

    She said in government buildings, which have metal detectors, it could be banned, but in open areas like a full college campus, it doesn't make as much sense.

    Others offering proponent testimony included Jack Hershey, president and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, who offered praise for a provision in the bill which would allow each campus to decide its own policy.

    George Lang, a township trustee in West Chester, spoke in favor of provisions allowing more concealed carry in government buildings.

    "The state must show a need to restrict a fundamental, constitutional right. There is no evidence that restricting good people from the means to defend themselves in government buildings provides any good for society, and given that almost all active killers select places where guns are prohibited for their crimes, there is a strong argument that such bans are dangerous," he said.

    Opponents, meanwhile, offered the same worn-out claims they've been making for the past decade in Ohio - warnings and predictions of mayhem that NEVER come to pass.

    Again, from Gongwer News Service:

    Opponents of a bill that would allow colleges and universities to permit concealed firearms on campuses told a Senate panel Wednesday that the policy would only make campuses more dangerous.

    Dozens of speakers told the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee that the change would increase the likelihood of violence and accidental harm.

    Former state Rep. Marian Harris, representing Ohioans for Safe Communities, said the bill would expand the rights of concealed carry permit holders at the risk of possible harm to the majority of Ohioans who don't hold the permits.

    "None of these changes increases the security of Ohioans from gun violence," she said. "On the contrary, by expanding the rights of concealed carry licensees to take guns into more places and reducing penalties for concealed carry violations, the rights of Ohioans to be free of the possible intimidation, accidental loss or discharge, or assault by a concealed carry holder who may lose his or her composure are diminished by this bill."

    ...

    Steve Mockabee, a professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, said the Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors opposed the bill because it would introduce more guns onto college campuses and lower the penalty for people who carry firearms in gun-free zones.

    "We believe it is important to keep the penalty for carrying in a gun-free zone a felony, so that conceal/carry licensees understand the severity of breaking this important law," he said. "A minor misdemeanor is a slap on the wrist that will not serve as an effective deterrent."

    Mr. Mockabee did not offer an explanation as to his theory on why the OSU attacker was undeterred by the numerous felony prohibitions to his actions on Monday.

    Rev. Kristine Eggert of South Euclid said she opposed the bill despite it not including churches, saying it was written for the convenience of the 4% of Ohioans who have concealed carry permits.

    "It is not a bill that is about safety for all of us who live in Ohio," she said.

    Amy Thompson, a professor of public health at the University of Toledo who has studied gun violence, cited statistics showing that students, campus law enforcement and other groups oppose more guns on campuses.

    "The bottom line is this: This is not a good idea," she said. "We can't expect that an armed student or faculty member is going to save the day."

    John Gilchrist, legislative counsel for the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, testified against elements of the bill that would allow concealed carry permit holders to carry in public areas of police stations and reduce the punishment for people who knowingly carry in gun-free zones.

    "Police agencies are restricted areas, they are not victim zones, as some of the proponents have described them," he said. "Our chiefs do not want people carrying their handguns into the police station."

    Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) said he expected police stations to be taken out of the bill, along with secured government buildings.

    "I think that's going to be changed," he said after Senate session Wednesday. "I think there's general agreement on that. I think what they're going to do is deal with government buildings that are not otherwise secure."

    According to Gongwer, Sen. Coley said he expects to vote the bill out of the committee early next week after considering any amendments. Fourth and fifth hearings have been scheduled for Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30am in the Finance Hearing Room and Wednesday, December 7 at 8:45am, both in the Finance Hearing Room.

    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.



  • Experts say more than 175 school districts in Ohio now have armed staff members
    by Chad D. Baus

    The Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum is reporting on the growing trend of school districts around Ohio that have authorized teachers and school staff members to carry concealed firearms in classrooms.

    From the article:

    The next time a person is shot in an Ohio school, it could be at the hands of a teacher allowed to carry a gun.

    In a trend that has grown rapidly since the late 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, an increasing number of school districts around Ohio have authorized teachers and school staff members to carry concealed firearms in classrooms.

    But which schools allow armed teachers, or which teachers volunteer to be armed, across Ohio is not known. Details of the policies are legally allowed to be secret and some districts do little to let the public know such a policy has even been enacted. But expert estimates put the number of districts arming staff members at more than 175, or more than one in four districts in the state.

    The article goes on to quote from David Hire, superintendent of Coshocton City Schools, who hopes to have armed staff members in his schools by year end:

    “Five years ago we probably wouldn’t have considered it, and even three or two years ago I would still have been saying this is not the direction we want to go, but we’re living in a society where this is becoming almost weekly or every other week where there is some event somewhere around the country.”

    Hire said he also got the support of the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office before moving ahead with a concealed-carry policy.

    The article notes that districts have long been allowed by state law to authorize specific staff members such as teachers, custodians or administrators to carry concealed weapons. Few, if any, districts were known to have done so — until the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, when 20 children and six adults were fatally shot by a gunman in Connecticut.

    Following that incident, the Columbus-based Buckeye Firearms Association, which advocates for gun ownership and fewer gun control laws, began more actively promoting the arming of school staff, along with spearheading a training program for school employees who want to carry concealed firearms in schools. The West Union-based Tactical Defense Institute, funded by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, said that it has trained staff members from 175 districts around the state to carry concealed firearms.

    As more schools have adopted such measures, district administrators have begun to get more comfortable with the notion of arming school staff, said Hire, who estimates as many as 200 districts in the state have adopted the firearms measures. Hire said he expects that number to continue to grow.

    “It has always been the thinking that we don’t need to go in this direction,” Hire said. “But I said I’m so impressed with the quality of the training and what they are learning that I think this is something we need to talk about.”

    Training is crucial for armed staff members to be effective, said Joe Eaton, program director for Buckeye Firearms Foundation's FASTER SAves Lives Program.

    “All you have to have is a concealed handgun license and permission from the school board,” he is quoted as saying. “But most schools realize that getting additional specialized training on these kind of events is necessary.”

    The article notes that there is no official list of which Ohio schools allow school staff to carry concealed weapons.

    School districts are required to adopt policies in public school board meetings, but Ohio law gives districts the ability to keep much about arming staff members secret because school security plans aren’t public. That can lead to some schools disclosing their approach, and others staying mum.

    The Zanesville City Schools District for example, adopted a concealed firearms policy in a public meeting in June, but at East Muskingum Local Schools, the neighboring district to the east, parents and students are kept in the dark on whether staff members are carrying guns or not.

    “As protected by the law, school safety plans are not public record,” Superintendent Jill Sheridan said in an email inquiring as to whether the school district has adopted a policy to arm its staff.

    The article notes that some schools pay the salaries of resource officers, but that arming staff members is usually a much cheaper route as existing employees are already being paid to perform their normal duties and typically purchase their own firearms.

    Dick Caster, the school safety and security consultant for the Ohio School Boards Association, is quoted as saying arming school staff members is a decision each district has to make based on its own needs and circumstances.

    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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