Make Ohio GOP Senate Candidates Answer Unequivocally on Second Amendment

Ohio-Gun-Control-iStock-884221290 Allexxandar
Ohio gun owners deserve to know exactly where the candidates stand with no hedging or evasion. (iStock-884221290)

U.S.A. – -( “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.

David Codrea

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I’d ask Vance how he feels now about his 2016 backing of ‘open borders “independent” candidate Evan McMullen, who pledged to protect the Second Amendment and then ended up supporting Joe Biden in 2020,’ and if he’s learned anything that would help him avoid such catastrophes in the future.


As soon as someone says “Constitutional Rights” or “2nd Amendment Rights” or something similar they lose my support. We DO NOT have Constitutional Rights. We have unalienable rights granted to us by our Creator. We have those rights as human beings. We have those rights whether we believe in God, or some other deity. We have those rights even if you are an atheist, (although I have a hard time stating that since they don’t believe in a Creator). The question they need to be asked is “What is the difference in Constitutional Rights and Unalienable Rights?” The other question… Read more »

Wild Bill

Constitutional Rights is just a short hand for the Rights that you correctly describe. Perhaps you could explain to them that the constitution is not the source of Rights, and our unalienable Rights do not depend upon that document … Well … not her.

Last edited 10 months ago by Wild Bill

Matt Dolan & Joe Biden agree that is bad for Ohio and America. Ohio Law enforcement officials have pledge support for Matt Dolan
Matt Dolan will say one thing to support those listening than do another if elected.

Wild Bill

You could have stopped at “Matt Dolan & Joe Biden agree …” Nuff said.

Last edited 10 months ago by Wild Bill

Yes sir I agree If folks read little then is is no longer just my opinion.


Ohio your people new in advance about Matt Dolan ?itok=RnswOfW4 “STRONG Ohio” water-carrier Matt Dolan announces Senate runby Chad D. Baus 7:00AM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 01, 2021 One would be hard-pressed to find a gun owner over the age of 35 in this state (perhaps even in this entire country) who doesn’t remember the problems Mike DeWine created for the Second Amendment while he served in the United States Senate. After he was voted out of office and returned to state politics, his record on the Second Amendment, first as state attorney general and now as governor, has been better in many respects.… Read more »


Matt Dolan is no friend to gun owners here are some facts from a  MARCH 14, 2022  roundtable with law enforcement In Columbus, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Matt Dolan hosted a roundtable Friday with law enforcement officials to underscore his record in the Statehouse and his plans for Washington. The Chagrin Falls senator touts his ability as finance chair to deliver funding for police training, fighting human trafficking and stemming the opioid crisis. He, like many other Republicans running for office, also tries to takes credit for a quarter billion dollars in new funding from the American Rescue Plan. The… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by john

More on Ohio firearms legislation for teachers.
Some educators fearful of Ohio bill that would reduce training hours to have gun in school | KTVO


There’s really only two questions that need to be asked of any new candidate. 1) Do you believe all arms laws violate the 2A and are, therefore, unconstitutional? 2) Will you oppose any new arms legislation that would infringe on our rights and will you work to repeal arms laws currently on the books. If they refuse to give a straight answer on any of these questions then they’re definitely hiding something. For any incumbent, it’s incredibly easy to look up their voting record. Don’t forget to search for any pro-2A legislation that has been introduced. If the incumbent hasn’t… Read more »