“DeWine Confident Lawmakers Will Pass His Gun Package,” Statehouse News reported in late September. “DeWine has been working on the package since unveiling it a few days after the Dayton mass shooting.”
What kind of “package”? The governor has been coy about his “17-point plan,” always a cause for concern when it’s our rights on the carving board. Talk about a time for total transparency. He says he’s working with Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA), evidently to ease gun owner concerns by assuring us that our advocates are on it.
Sorry. Our friends at BFA do what they can with what they have to work with, but I want to look under the hood and kick the tires myself. And show me the Carfax.
A Package Deal
“This package is different than a set of seven bills that were heard in a Senate committee ... three of which were bipartisan,” we are told. So “Republicans” are on board with it? Hey, Mike DeWine’s a Republican. Then again, so were Sarah and Jim Brady. What do those bills, which evidently aren’t “enough,” propose to do?
“One of the bipartisan bills raises the age for purchasing a firearm from 18 years old to 21 years old,” a mid-September Statehouse News report tells us. “Another strengthens the background check system used when firearms are purchased at gun stores. And the third bipartisan bill allows a judge to issue an order to temporarily take guns away from an owner who is reported to be a danger to themselves or others without the gun owner's knowledge beforehand.”
Great. Deny fundamental rights to citizens old enough to vote, serve in the military, and importantly, are designated by U.S. Code as members of the “unorganized militia.” Add more hurdles for the “law-abiding” to buy a gun. And to paraphrase the bandit Gold Hat from Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “Due Process? We ain’t got no due process. We don’t need no due process. I don’t have to show you any stinking due process!”
All this because a socialist/satanist who supported Elizabeth Warren and “gun control” decided to get his points across by shooting people? And those of us who aren’t any of those things get to pay for it?
Fortunately, we are told, “The three bipartisan bills do not have the support of many majority Republican lawmakers, including House and Senate leaders,” but unfortunately, that means Team DeWine is primed to come back with something that will. So what is that going to look like?
Talk was he was going to start with “enhanced” background checks, meaning “requiring warrants to be added to state and federal background systems along with violent protective orders, and other offenses.” Of course, it could also mean all transfers go through the system, which would mean the end of private sales. And missing from the scary description of the types of crimes that are included is the requirement for a conviction on the allegations.
DeWine also wanted – and here’s no surprise – a “red flag law,” presented under the kinder, gentler term “safety protection order.” Cue Gold Hat again.
And as long as we’re assigning reassuring names, we should look at DeWine’s executive order establishing the Ohio School Safety Center. That’s going to give us “intelligence experts” scanning social media. We’ll get trained on how to use a tip line. We’ll get a website. Schools will get safety plans and threat assessments, and selected bureaucrats will get treated to an “annual summit” to share “best practices.” And “professionals” will keep “up to date with the most effective school safety protocols available.”
What hasn’t been prioritized yet, because apparently it’s not “required,” is training for “school personnel who carry weapons in schools.”
“DeWine says the package he’ll bring to the legislature shortly will not infringe on Second Amendment rights and will be constitutional – but he also says it will pass and will do something to make Ohioans safer,” Statehouse News transcribes. That’s just not true and that’s just not going to happen, but it doesn’t surprise those of us who have been watching this guy for years that he’d say those things with a straight face.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Some years back, a big “tea party” rally was held at the city of Cuyahoga Falls’ Riverfront Parkway Downtown Amphitheater, replete with music, guest speakers, food and drink vendors and even a table where you could signup and join the NRA. Platitude–parroting “conservative” politicians, all Republicans, were introduced to enthusiastic cheers and applause. One of them was Mike DeWine who, as I recall, had completed his stint in the U.S. Senate and was running for state attorney general.
And the crowd, as they say, went wild, prompting me to leave shaking my head, but only after spending a few minutes talking to an old gadfly who, at his own expense, was passing out flyers urging people to “End the Fed.” As with Cassandras throughout time who have known the score and fought to get others to open their eyes, most dismissed the guy as a kook and ignored him. Naturally, I found him to be one of the few people I’d met at the rally who understood his subject matter and actually made sense.
Still, what do I have against DeWine, and why did the rally make me think of the word “teajacking”?
That’s easy. It’s because back when he was in the United States Senate, a PR Newswire press release told us where he stood on guns in no uncertain terms.
“Principled Statesman Mike DeWine Endorsed by Brady Campaign,” the headline read.
"While many politicians pander to ideologically out of touch special interests, Mike DeWine does the hard work on bread and butter issues and defends the rights of the majority,” the flack piece continued. “DeWine was a leader in the fight against legislation that called for special rights for gun dealers and manufacturers facing gun violence victims trying to hold them accountable for negligence.”
That means he wanted gun-grabbers to sue manufacturers and dealers out of existence, or at least make the price of a gun prohibitive for the average budget. But wait, as late TV pitchman Billy Mays used to say, there’s more!
“He has strongly supported legislation to renew laws to keep military-style semiautomatic assault weapons out of our communities and close the gun show loophole,” the report elaborated. “Senator DeWine also introduced a bill in the 109th Congress that would prohibit the sale of firearms to anyone who has been convicted of a felony in a foreign country.”
That’ll teach those refugees of conscience from communist China and Iran! And those who own guns in defiance of repressive states...
A Changed Man?
Somewhere along the way DeWine wet his finger, stuck it boldly in the air and decided it was time for those “principles” the Bradys praised him over to reverse polarity. It’s not like he really changed, but he told the gun groups what they wanted to hear to reverse his ratings from “F” to “A,” and stopped saying and doing stupid stuff to make covering his past with nose-holding “Republican über alles” gun owners more difficult.
“As attorney general, DeWine signed ‘friend of the court’ briefs in several landmark cases, including Peruta v. California, which argued that the Second Amendment protects the right to carry a firearm outside the home for self-defense,” NRA offered to explain the turnaround. “DeWine also supports national concealed carry reciprocity legislation, which would ensure Ohioans can protect themselves when crossing the state line.”
Fine. What did that cost him? And what would the price have been had he followed his earlier instincts? He didn’t overtly oppose “pro-gun” efforts and nominally “supported” the ones that would hurt him if he crossed his new political benefactors. That makes him a political opportunist, not our pal.
As long as we’re going to cite what he did do as AG, here’s something he didn’t—until politics convinced him he needed to “do something.” DeWine showed deliberate indifference to making sure Ohio cops were trained on the law regarding open carry—that’s after I had sent him documented accounts of police illegally harassing, bullying, drawing guns on and endangering the lives of citizens who weren’t breaking any laws. It’s even after I sent him further documentation of officers contemptuously “joking” about “double tapping” citizens openly carrying firearms.
It wasn’t until after some high profile police shootings started drawing media criticism that DeWine decided that he could no longer politically afford to ignore the obvious, so he did what comes so naturally to him: He reversed course.
Once More Unto the Breach
“Gov. Mike DeWine retreats on ‘red-flag’ law, universal background checks on guns,” Cleveland.com is reporting. “Instead of near-universal background checks, the governor is now looking to create a voluntary state-level background check process for gun sales between private sellers. Rather than a ‘red-flag’ system allowing judges to order the seizure of guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others, DeWine is now seeking to expand the state’s existing ‘pink-slip’ law to allow authorities to send people with drug or alcohol problems to a psychiatric hospital, where they cannot legally have access to guns.”
Why the change of heart? Aside from the fact that Ohio’s not quite ready to turn blue and he still needs the gun owner vote?
“DeWine ... revised his earlier gun plan because of concerns it wouldn’t pass the GOP-dominated Ohio General Assembly,” the report reveals. So it’s not about those principles and refusal to engage in ideological pandering the Bradys gave him such high marks for? It’s about politics? And if those change, we can expect this guy to do another 180?
Why does Proverbs 26:11 come to mind?
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.