by Dean Rieck
Ohio – -(AmmoLand.com)- When I began thinking about writing a review of this year's activities, it didn't take long to realize that this would be a daunting task.
While we try to keep supporters informed of what's going on day-to-day and month-to-month, we spend a lot more time working than tooting our own horn. But I started making notes and surprised myself when I saw just how many pages I filled up with the things we do over the course of a single year.
And even now as I look over this long article, I know I'm probably forgetting a lot. But I hope this gives you at least some appreciation for how hard our dedicated leaders work on your behalf.
If you follow Buckeye Firearms Association, you probably already know that we have been publishing a free email newsletter for 15 years. And our website is the most popular destination for gun owners in Ohio who care about their Second Amendment rights, offering over 12,000 pages of information going back to 2002.
Over the years, BFA and its leaders have been a driving force in Ohio for protecting and advancing gun rights. BFA has …
- Brought legal concealed carry to Ohio.
- Sued to force Ohio sheriffs to comply with CCW laws.
- Introduced castle doctrine to give citizens greater protection in their homes and cars.
- Established statewide preemption to prevent cities from passing their own gun laws.
- Closed the media access loophole to protect the privacy of concealed carry licensees.
- Won an Ohio Supreme Court case to stop Cleveland from enforcing unconstitutional gun laws.
- Restored the gun rights of armed service members and Ohio National Guard.
- Created mobility-impaired access on public hunting lands.
- Passed landmark legislation to increase CCW reciprocity agreements and have a carry license substitute for a background check for gun purchases.
- Pushed legislation to allow employees to store guns in their cars at work.
- And much more. See our timeline here.
BFA's efforts have not been confined to Ohio. The organization has been providing assistance to pro-gun organizations in other states for many years, such as sending volunteers to help unseat anti-gun Senators in Colorado and testifying in statehouses around the country to promote better gun laws.
BFA's Foundation even played an active role in the two most important federal gun rights cases in American history, D.C. v Heller and McDonald v Chicago, filing amicus briefs that helped Justices decide THE seminal Second Amendment cases of the modern era.
But that was then and this is now. So what have we done for you lately?
Looking back at 2018, here's what Buckeye Firearms Association did for Ohio's 4 million gun owners …
- BFA remained an award-winning gun rights leader in Ohio and at the national level, with 2 members of our Board also serving on the NRA Board of Directors.
- BFA's Foundation, in partnership with Ohioans for Concealed Carry, launched lawsuits against the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati after they passed unconstitutional laws attempting to regulate bumpstocks and similar firearm parts. We won the Columbus suit (which is now being appealed), and the Cincinnati case continues. Ohio law clearly removes the ability of cities to pass their own gun laws and we must protect this bulwark against infringements.
- BFA's Foundation began legal action against a Bloomberg-funded suit to stop Madison County schools from arming teachers after the school board approved FASTER Saves Lives training and authorized staff to carry.
- BFA successfully worked with citizens and city council members to remove no-gun signs in a University Heights park and revise unconstitutional laws related to emergency powers in Westerville.
- BFA provided assistance to local organizers to protest a “resolution” proposed by Worthington City Council calling on state legislators to ban AR-15 type weapons and “high-capacity” magazines, require “universal” background checks, and institute a “red flag” law.
- BFA continued to monitor efforts by the Ohio Township Association and others to change Ohio law to allow townships to regulate the discharge of firearms in the same way that municipalities do. This included two proposed constitutional amendments backed by the Ohio Community Rights Network and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.
- BFA PAC graded 284 candidates (and endorsed key candidates) at the federal, state, and local level for the 2018 general election, plus graded additional candidates for the Primary.
- BFA distributed the Pro-Gun Voter Guide to tens of thousands of voters and made the Gun Voter App available to Ohio's 4 million gun owners to help Ohioans make wise decisions at the ballot box.
- BFA PAC made cash contributions to key candidates and provided volunteer support to campaigns for get-out-the-vote phone calls, door-to-door literature distribution, and polling station support.
- BFA leaders co-hosted a Second Amendment candidates meet and greet in Cincinnati and attended countless fundraisers, meetings, and other political events around the state.
- BFA strongly opposed Governor Kasich's H.B. 585, a raft of gun control measures meant primarily to appeal to liberal and moderate voters for a planned run at the Presidency in 2020. BFA prepared and submitted a point-by-point legal analysis, detailing its many problems and infringements.
- BFA pushed back on S.B. 260, a bill sponsored by Democrats that sought to prohibit the possession or acquisition of semi-automatic firearms and create a database of gun and ammunition purchases – in other words, a bill that would have banned the majority of firearms in Ohio.
- BFA supported S.B. 81, a bill that removed the concealed handgun license fee for active duty military and retired and honorably discharged veterans.
- BFA continued to champion H.B. 142, a bill to eliminate the confusing requirement to “promptly” notify law enforcement if you're carrying a firearm, and H.B. 228, a bill we've been working on for nearly 2 years that shifts the burden of proof back to the state when a gun owner claims self defense. It also modifies the “hands in plain sight” requirement for traffic stops, amends penalties for minor infractions with firearms in a motor vehicle, eliminates the requirement to post “no guns” signs in places approved for carry, and more. As I'm writing this, the fate of these bills is uncertain as the legislative session comes to an end. UPDATE: On Dec. 27, 2018, the Ohio General Assembly voted to override the Governor's veto of H.B. 228. Victory!
- BFA drove thousands of phone calls and emails to the Ohio Supreme Court to convince Justices to reject proposed rule changes to disarm and force those subject to a civil protection order to surrender firearms, ammunition, and concealed handgun license to law enforcement. The overwhelming volume of messages shut down the court's email system on two separate occasions and shut down their phone system.
- BFA leaders attended and presented talks at the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation, and attended by America's most influential 2A organizations, writers, attorneys, and activists. (BFA won the prestigious Grassroots Organization of the Year award in 2017.)
- BFA maintained a robust presence in the media discussing issues and educating the public throughout the state, around the U.S., and in countries worldwide, including major media in England, Japan, Germany, and others.
- BFA served as the primary source for firearms news commentary for nearly 700 newspapers, radio shows, and TV stations throughout Ohio, including The Columbus Dispatch, The Plain Dealer, and The Cincinnati Enquirer.
- BFA hosted the Patriots Day Rally, a celebration of Patriotism and Freedom, at the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus along with fellow pro-gun organizations Ohioans for Concealed Carry and Ohio Carry.
- BFA launched OhioGunClass.org, a new online directory that lets gun owners search for firearms instructors and classes by keyword or location.
- BFA Foundations's FASTER Saves Lives program trained hundreds more teachers and staff. To date, 2,000 have received training in 250 school districts across 15 states and in 77 of 88 Ohio counties.
- BFA volunteers ran the first-ever FASTER training class in Indiana as proof of concept to demonstrate the effectiveness of the rigorous and in-depth 3-day curriculum.
- BFA started doing stand-alone trauma medical and mindset training and the Foundation opened up the FASTER program to churches for volunteer security teams.
- BFA's Foundation organized and hosted the “Experts Town Hall: Effective Response to Active Killer Events,” a first-of-its-kind public discussion attended by over 200 concerned citizens and covered by Ohio media. The event included a live active-killer demonstration to illustrate how fast and deadly school shootings are and the difference immediate armed response makes.
- BFA's Foundation worked with the United Kingdom's Sundog Pictures Ltd. to produce an exclusive full-length documentary on the FASTER Saves Lives program, set to air on English television and around the world in 2019.
- BFA testified in the Maryland state legislature to encourage lawmakers to allocate funds for high-quality defensive and medical training for armed school staff.
- BFA's Foundation manned a booth at the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) trade show to educate decision-makers from around the state about the FASTER Saves Lives program, and one of our program leaders gave a well-attended presentation on school security.
- BFA hosted author and trainer Massad Ayoob to present his “Rules of Armed Defense” workshop to 300 attendees, covering the rules of engagement for armed, law-abiding private citizens, emphasizing legal issues, tactical issues, and aftermath management.
- BFA's Foundation sponsored 2 youth shoots, in the Spring and in the Fall, to promote the shooting sports and provide healthy activities for Ohio's young men and women.
- BFA ran a dozen high-quality firearms training classes focused on concealed carry, close quarters combat, tactical rifle, shotgun tactics, low light encounters, and knife defense.
- BFA hosted its annual Buckeye Blast fundraising shoot at Tactical Defense Institute, giving over 60 participants the opportunity to experience IDPA competition in one of the country's top training facilities.
- BFA's Foundation hosted its annual Fun Day at Dillon Shooting Range, welcoming the public to shoot all day for just $5 and providing an opportunity to meet and talk to our leaders from around the state.
- BFA volunteers manned educational booths at a variety of gun shows and events around Ohio, including the Annie Oakley Festival, Deer & Turkey Expo, Preppers Ball, Patriots Day at the Statehouse, and 6 State Fairgrounds gun shows.
- BFA participated in the “Protect What's Right” campaign with Sportsmen's Alliance, interviewing and educating gubernatorial candidates on hunting, trapping, fishing, and other sportsman issues for the 2018 Ohio primary election. Buckeye Firearms Foundation also provided a $10,000 grant for the effort.
- BFA leaders joined the Division of Wildlife Range Committee, which is working to upgrade and promote public shooting ranges around the state and partner with private ranges in urban areas to open up more pubic shooting opportunities.
- BFA volunteers did extensive work, including presenting testimony, on S.B. 257, sponsored by the Ohio Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, which makes changes to laws governing hunting and fishing and gives the Ohio Division of Wildlife more flexibility in creating licensing incentives and setting fees while maintaining revenue to pay for programs.
- BFA supported Ohio Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus events, including their annual breakfast and sporting clays shoot.
- BFA participated in and provided support for the Hunting Works for Ohio kickoff event and sporting clays shoot. This grassroots program promotes a strong economic partnership between the hunting and shooting communities and the local economy of the state of Ohio.
- BFA volunteers continued to build and maintain strong personal relationships with the Ohio Conservation Federation, which includes state and national wildlife organizations and is the leading voice for sportsmen conservationists and promotes the wise use and stewardship of Ohio’s wildlife and natural resources.
- BFA supported fellow organizations around the state, co-hosting the Sportsmen's Alliance Legislative Reception, attending the Sportsmen's Alliance Rally, representing gun owners at the Ohio Republican Party State Dinner with President Trump, and attending the Ohio Gun Collectors annual banquet.
- BFA helped promote the Honor Flight Tri-State fundraiser at Tactical Defense Institute. Honor Flight is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor our nation’s veterans by taking them on an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to see their war memorials.
- BFA co-founded the “Ohio Gun Shop Project,” a suicide awareness and prevention initiative, partnering with gun stores and ranges, the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, and Franklin County LOSS. Renowned writer and trainer Massad Ayoob gave his personal endorsement of this program.
- BFA continued its work with the “Store it Safe” program, in partnership with the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, to encourage safe storage of firearms and educate families with young children about safety issues.
As I said previously, I'm sure this list is far from complete. And 2018 was not in any way an unusual year. This is just what we do. It's what we've been doing for nearly 15 years, and what many of our leaders have been doing for many years before we became Buckeye Firearms Association.
Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, #1 NRA Recruiter for 2013, business owner and partner with Second Call Defense.
About Buckeye Firearms Association:
Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots political action committee dedicated to defending and advancing the right of Ohio citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities. Visit: www.buckeyefirearms.org