One person carrying a weapon at the pro-gun rally wears a shirt bearing a quotation from Thomas Jefferson that he proposed for use in the Virginia Constitution. [Maddie Schroeder/Dispatch]
A member of a militia waves an American flag from the steps of the Ohio Statehouse during a pro-gun rally Saturday arranged by the group Ohio Gun Owners. [Maddie Schroeder/Dispatch]
Ohio Gun Owners director Chris Dorr holds puppets that he says represent journalists during his speech at the pro-gun rally he organized at the Ohio Statehouse on Saturday. [Maddie Schroeder/Dispatch]
Charlie Calanni, of Highland Heights, hugs a friend while holding up his ”#NoRedFlagLaws” sign at the pro-gun rally Saturday. [Maddie Schroeder/Dispatch]
A so-called red-flag bill took much of the heat from several hundred gun rights supporters gathered at the Ohio Statehouse on Saturday.
Several hundred gun rights supporters, many carrying firearms, rallied outside the Statehouse on Saturday to oppose a renewed push for restrictions on guns.
The rally was organized by Ohio Gun Owners and came about six weeks after a gunman in Dayton killed nine people and injured 27 others, prompting Republicans and Democrats to propose several initiatives to curb gun violence.
“The Second Amendment is nonnegotiable. No where in the Second Amendment does it limit our firearms to a musket or just a handgun or anything. The right of the people to be free and to be prepared in case the government becomes a tyrannical government … we need to be ready to fight back,” said Susan Ragle, 54, of Massillon.
The first legislative hearing on a gun bill was Tuesday when state lawmakers considered a “red flag” proposal drawing bipartisan support that would allow law enforcement to confiscate weapons from a gun owner if a judge determines that the individual is a danger to themselves or others.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine included a similar initiative in a package of proposals he unveiled after the shooting, although the governor’s plan would require a court hearing before seizure. DeWine also called for background checks on all gun purchases except between family members to close the “gun show loophole” that essentially allows sales with no checks.
Robert McLamara, 54, of Springfield, said taking guns away from law-abiding citizens is not the solution to protecting people from mass shootings or other violence.
“Arm everybody, if they are legally allowed to own firearms,” McLamara said. “An armed society is a people’s society. You saw no argument here. You’re in the safest place in the state of Ohio.”
Ohio Gun Owners leader Chris Dorr, of Spring Valley, told the crowd that state leaders have betrayed gun rights supporters.
“The force that is strong enough to stop this assault that is on us right now is you,” Dorr said. “This is the choke point. This is where we hold the line … all the losers that sit in that building over there, the radical gun control proponents … who simply mouth rhetoric during election time simply to get elected.”
Ohio Gun Owners touts its membership as no-compromise supporters of the Second Amendment, and Dorr has been highly critical of DeWine and other elected officials seeking to infringe on the right to bear arms, warning that they would face political repercussions if gun control measures are enacted.
Last month, the governor’s office referred Dorr to the State Highway Patrol after he threatened politicians in a video posted on Facebook saying “there will be political bodies laying all over the ground. … We gun owners will pull the trigger and leave the corpse for the buzzards.”
The patrol reviewed the matter but declined to file criminal charges.
State Rep. Ron Hood, a longtime champion of gun rights and among a handful of lawmakers at the rally, said “every time one of these tragedies happen … there is always a call for some ‘common-sense’ gun law. I would like you to tell me what is a common-sense gun law?”
Gun buybacks, an assault-weapons ban, red-flag laws, gun-free zones and other proposals make no sense, Hood said, because they take away people’s ability to defend themselves.
“If no one in a school has a gun except a criminal, is that common sense?” asked Hood, R-Ashville. “If you want to defend, you need more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.”
Hood is sponsoring a “constitutional carry bill,” which would allow Ohioans to carry hidden handguns without a permit or training as is currently required.
“Law-abiding gun owners are of no threat whatsoever to public safety. It’s criminals and that element that use firearms for nefarious purposes. Gun (restrictions) only empower criminals. Gun laws disarm law-abiding citizens and empower criminals,” Hood said. “It makes no sense whatsoever to disarm law-abiding citizens and give aid and comfort to criminals who won’t have to worry about law-abiding citizens to fight back.”
Catherine Candisky,The Columbus Dispatch, September 15, 2019
Gun rights advocates protest Ohio gun control proposals in wake of Dayton shooting