The Second Amendment
I am a gun owning member of the NRA and an avid defender of the Second Amendment. While I understand the urge to respond to violent episodes, we cannot raise the white flag on red flag laws. For some this is "feel good" legislation but it is not "real good" legislation. Removing the rights of law abiding citizens is counterproductive.
Each violent episode that flashes across our social media places added pressure on politicians to address gun violence by restricting our second amendment rights. You don't have to be Republican or Democrat to feel the pain of hurting families and friends. Even if you are not a problem solver by nature, this is a problem the cries out to be solved.
The dilemma that we face is not whether or not to do something but rather what to do. The simplistic view says to just take all the guns off of the streets. Yet, if we hop on the turnpike and drive a little over four hours west, we will find ourselves in Chicago, the most violent city of the nation. Is it coincidence that the state of Illinois is also one of the states with the most restrictive gun laws? Probably not.
Every advocate of the second amendment understands that gun laws only affect law abiding citizens. Removing the right to self-defense simply leaves the target defenseless and thus emboldens violent criminals.
Representatives Douglas Swearingen and Phil Plummer recently introduce HB 354 as a measure to improve our current firearms background check process and close gaps in state law to help local law enforcement and prosecutors better protect Ohioans. As with any piece of legislation, the devil is in the details. While some aspects show promise, other aspects raise concerns. One of the key features is that this bill increases, from age 23 to 28, the age at which most sexual and violent juvenile offenders’ records remain on file before they are expunged. This is common sense legislation that addresses criminals and victims of mental health disorders rather than healthy, law abiding citizens. It appears to fix the gaps in the NICS system that hinder law enforcement from simply enforcing the laws on the books. However, other concerns have been brought to my attention since I first learned of this bill. Rest assured that I will never raise the white flag on red flag laws and never ever support registering our firearms.
Before I ever sign on to a piece of legislation I will consult with the major second amendment advocates in Ohio to seek their council and advice.