U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “Nexstar’s Ohio TV stations will host [an] hour-long debate with candidates Mike Gibbons, Josh Mandel, Jane Timken, JD Vance and Matt Dolan at 7 p.m. on March 21,” Fox 8 News Cleveland reports. “We’re giving viewers the opportunity to have their questions answered by the candidates live on television during the debate.”
They are offering viewers two ways to submit questions, one via social media (Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram) using the hashtag #OHGOPSenateDebate, or by submitting a video via email to [email protected] and/or sharing it on their social media platforms. If shooting a video they have one important rule, that should probably also apply to written questions:
“Keep your question to 20 seconds.”
That means questions must be designed to get to the heart of the matter and leave no outs for weasel-wording, evasion, and later back-tracking. Gun owners should expect the candidates to state, for the record, unequivocally, what the Founders intended when they included the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights and further qualified it with “shall not be infringed.”
What’s the one best question to ask, where they can’t come back later and vote for “red flag” prior restraints, or “ghost gun” bans, or “universal background” registration enabling and the like, without being exposed as opportunistic liars?
I’ve tried in the past to come up with candidate questionnaires, but in order to corner them to where there’s no wiggle room, multiple questions were asked. That won’t play here with the brevity requirement. As an aside, it’s the same as with people who don’t get their letters to the editor published because they turned in all-encompassing editorials as opposed to sticking with a specific point and being mindful of required word limits.
I analyzed this race and the candidates last October for Firearms News and came up with profiles on what I could find out about their stances on the right to keep and bear arms. I also focused on how retiring Senator Rob Portman came up with all the hollow generalities to get an “A” rating and endorsement from the National Rifle Association, and then ended up on Gun Owners of America’s “See Which Members of Congress Betrayed Gun Owners” list.
From assessments based on what I could find at the time:
- “We need to have constitutional carry where patriots can carry a weapon anywhere,” Josh Mandel declared, his assertions exploited by “progressive” Raw Story as if they were bad things. “At the end of the day, the Second Amendment is about combatting tyranny from the government. We’ve got tyranny coming out of the White House with Biden. But we also have tyranny coming out of governor’s mansions like right here in Ohio where this squishy establishment Mike DeWine is trying to push mask mandates and vaccine passports on the people. And that’s why we have to arm up.”
- Jane Timken’s website … rolls the Second Amendment into a broader “Our Values” statement about “Protecting our constitutional rights to life, liberty, and religion” on her Issues page… I believe our rights are God-given, not government-given, and that includes our fundamental rights to bear arms and worship freely… The government has no authority to infringe on these unalienable rights, and I will fiercely defend these liberties as Senator … There (are) appropriate times to have background checks, but the way that the proposals of the Democrats have done this, I disagree with,” she answered, trying to appease both sides. “There should be no infringement on people’s Second Amendment rights.”
- JD Vance … decried the Biden administration and an “unholy alliance” against guns between government and business, criticized the nomination of David Chipman to head ATF, showed he understood both the “ghost gun” and brace issues and highlighted corporate efforts to financially undermine the right to keep and bear arms. [The problem is, in 2016 he backed open borders “independent” candidate Evan McMullen, who pledged to protect the Second Amendment and then ended up supporting Joe Biden in 2020.] It’s not out of line to expect him to flesh out how he went from adamant “Never Trumper” to someone asking not to be judged for what he said in 2016. We deserve to know how the object of his contempt went from being “reprehensible” to being “a good president,” with a real explanation as to what changed and why. And if he would do a reversal on something that fundamental in such a short amount of time, what else might supporters see a polar shift on?
- “I believe strongly in our Second Amendment rights, and I will work to protect those rights from those who would try to limit in any way our ability to protect ourselves,” Mike Gibbons promises. “Our Founders wrote the Second Amendment to protect our God-given right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment isn’t about hunting, it’s about our ability to stand up and defend ourselves. A lifelong member of the NRA, I will never waver in my support of our Second Amendment rights.”
- State Senator Matt Dolan, a “moderate Republican,” may as well be a Democrat as far as gun owners are concerned. Described by CNN as a “non-Trump Republican … in the McCain lane, the Romney lane…” Dolan penned an op-ed in support of the state’s proposed STRONG Act, essentially a “red flag” edict that promises due process before gun confiscations without really delivering it, and requires “background checks” on private sales, and adds liability penalties to sellers.
With that as the backdrop, and understanding the requirements for questions, what would you ask? Why not do so? Even if your question isn’t the one that makes it on the air, posting it or your video on one of the social media pages (consider them advocacy media pages and see why we turn our noses up at them at our peril) will mean others outside of the “gun rights” echo chamber will see it, and perhaps consider what it means to them and their freedom.
It will also tell us much if Fox 8 News doesn’t pose such a question to the candidates, or if they do, will it be a good one that they can’t dodge or otherwise slither around?
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. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.