Part 1 of 3: The Battle For SAPA

This article is the first of a three-part series that we are producing to properly expose the efforts of those attempting to block HB51, the Ohio Second Amendment Preservation Act, from passing.

  1. The first article, which you are reading, comprehensively examines the context of our current effort to pass SAPA.
  2. The second article will address “law enforcement opposition” to HB51 by examining law enforcement’s historical opposition to pro-gun legislation in Ohio using their own words and going back more than two decades.
  3. We will examine the politicians themselves at the center of the efforts to block HB51, including campaign contributions, previous personal entanglements and more.

As a fan of brevity, I apologize for the length of these articles. But in these articles we hope to explain to you and equip you with the knowledge needed to effectively fight back against the efforts of those trying to stop HB51.

The sheer size, scope and historical consistency of the enemies of SAPA and the 2nd Amendment in Ohio are such that we cannot in short-form do justice to the subject.

SAPA Defined

So let’s first do some recap.

The Ohio Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA) is simple: it forbids Ohio law enforcement from enforcing federal gun-control laws, executive orders, or arbitrary agency rulings.

Also importantly, it accomplishes the long-term goal of making sure that Ohio law enforcement never becomes extensions of federal law enforcement agencies by way of financial or other control mechanisms.

Most gun owners already know this, but there is a major, concerted effort underway to federalize and militarize state and local law enforcement agencies, and SAPA does a great job of making sure that is never the case in Ohio.

Ohio has the right and the legal authority to pass such a law under the 10th Amendment, too.

The 10th Amendment plainly states that the Federal Government only has those powers delegated to it in the Constitution, and if a power isn’t listed, that power belongs to the states or to the people.

But What About Missouri?

SAPA is already currently on the books in Missouri.

I was a part of the effort to pass SAPA in Missouri and helped manage the lobbying, the direct mail and the social media mobilization programs for it and was there the day it passed their legislature.

One thing that I want to be clear about is that the whole team at the Missouri Firearms Coalition expected and was prepared for the Biden DOJ to file a lawsuit against the State of Missouri to try to get the court to strike down the law.

They have to.

They cannot let states start asserting their rights without challenging them.

So when the DOJ “judge-shopped” the bill to the Western District of Missouri and found Obama-appointed federal judge Brian Wimes to hear the case, were fully expected a negative ruling.

To be more clear, a negative ruling at the district level was necessary in order to get the case appealed up to the far more conservative 8th circuit federal court.

That case is currently scheduled for oral arguments in February, where Missouri’s conservative Republican Attorney General, Andrew Bailey, is confident the law will be upheld.

I say all this to make one point: when opponents of HB51 point at Missouri’s law being “struck down” as a reason not to pass Ohio’s version, they are deliberately misleading legislators in their efforts to sabotage the bill.

But we weren’t about to let a liberal judge’s opinion go to waste…

Missouri’s Lesson

Just because Obama-appointed Western Missouri Federal District Court Judge Bryan Wimes wrote an opinion against Missouri’s SAPA law (one that was totally biased) did not mean there were no lessons to be gleaned from his opinion.

Ohio Gun Owners was in the process of crafting the final wording of Ohio House Bill 51 with the bill’s sponsors when Wimes’ opinion against Missouri’s law was released.

In fact, we were on our way from OGO headquarters in Lancaster, OH up to the Statehouse in Columbus to give proponent testimony on HB51 when we heard the news.

What’s more, we even had Jered Taylor, the former Missouri state Representative and author/sponsor of SAPA with us in our car, as he was OGO’s expert witness for that day!

This was a fabulous opportunity, because we were able to take Judge Wimes’ opinion and make key changes to HB51 that vastly improved the bill and strengthened its chances of surviving a federal court challenge in the 6th federal circuit, which Ohio is in.

Some of the changes included removing language that could be construed as “nullification” language, and we removed any duty on the courts that was present in the “as-introduced” version of HB51.

The result became marvelous: HB51 is a far more elegant, simple and robust version of Missouri’s law, and once passed will do the job it was designed to do extremely well.

Belt & Suspenders

During opposition testimony on HB51 earlier in 2023, a common theme among the opponents of HB51 was that they were unclear about whether the bill would allow them to continue working with federal officers on drug task forces.

Even though a plain reading of the bill would have alleviated their concerns, OGO nevertheless agreed to additional clarification language (aka, “belt and suspenders”) that made sure of a couple of things.

First of all, we spelled it out very clearly that Ohio law enforcement was allowed to participate in federal drug task forces.

Second, we made it clear that Ohio law enforcement was allowed to participate in federal sex-trafficking and human-trafficking task forces.

Third, we made it clear that Ohio law enforcement was still able to pursue federal firearms charges on firearms that were discovered in the course of non-gun federal task force participation, or firearms that were “ancillary” to the original task force mission.

These efforts were undertaken to directly address the concerns verbalized in committee by Ohio’s “law enforcement” associations.

“Law Enforcement”

What do you think of when you picture “law enforcement” in your head?

I don’t know about you, but I picture uniformed guys and gals in cop cars, the ones you see out on the beat in your local community stopping drunk drivers.

I picture their uniforms, I picture their sunglasses, I picture the radio earpiece wires and, being a Glock fan, I always picture a .40 caliber Glock 22 on their hip.

And the k9 units…. Can’t forget the k9 units. 

You might even be one, be related to one or be friends with one, as I sure am.

Without a doubt, most of the folks you and I picture in our mind’s eye are great Americans, people who pursued the job because they want to serve their communities and put bad guys behind bars.

We are PROUD to have many law enforcement officers (LEO’s) in our membership rolls here at OGO because these men and women understand how important individual firearms ownership is in protecting our freedoms from tyrannical government.

But I bet your mental picture of law enforcement probably isn’t the politically appointed Columbus chief of police and gun-control activist Elaine Bryant.

And I bet you didn’t picture Hamilton County Sheriff and far-left lesbian activist Charmaine McGuffey (who is married to her wife, Christine).

(Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey)

And I bet you’re not thinking about die-hard liberal Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, who is infamous for locking up an innocent gun owner for over 100 days because he was forced to use his firearm for self-defense.

You’d be right not to think of these people as examples of law enforcement, because most of them are political hacks who get their jobs because of identity politics and because out-of-state, big-money Leftists fund their campaigns.

Heck, most of them haven’t been on the street slapping cuffs on suspects or interacting with the general public in years, decades and sometimes ever.

Law Enforcement “Associations”

One of the biggest obstacles that SAPA faces at the Statehouse right now is that legislators are being lobbied by the “law enforcement associations” to block the bill.

Republicans, as a rule, are supportive of “law and order,” and many of them get nervous about casting votes that can be used in negative ad mailers during election time as being such.

The problem, however, is that the leadership teams of the law enforcement associations that lobby at the Ohio Statehouse on gun-related issues are not composed of the rank-and-file LEO’s that actually fight crime.

They’re controlled by the political hacks I just mentioned above, and a whole lot more of them.

These political hacks have been getting into leadership positions for years within the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association (BSSA), the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s Association (OPAA), and it is not by accident, either.

They are very deliberate, because it is a perfect position from which to promote and advance their Leftist agenda in a legislature controlled by a Republican supermajority.

In other words, these nefarious actors are smart about it.

From these powerful positions, they get to make the decisions about what bills the associations lobby for and against, and they get to do so in the name of rank-and-file LEO’s.

Because Ohio has Republican supermajorities, these far-left activists don’t lobby like far-left activists when they’re at the Statehouse.

They don’t go in front of the Republican committee chairs and shout about the diversity, equity and inclusion worldview they themselves believe in and promote within their departments.

Instead, they mask everything they say behind the shroud of “Ohio’s law enforcement community,” when in reality the policies they advocate for are often 100% opposite of Ohio’s rural deputies and cops would like to see happen.

It Gets Worse

For obvious reasons, it is a bad thing to have liberal activists at the helm of Ohio’s law enforcement associations.

It becomes a far worse problem in the future when you consider the possibility of Joe Biden or the Radical Left being successful at passing major federal gun-control laws through Congress (or even rule changes through the ATF).

If that day ever comes and gun control enforcement becomes widespread, those who are in position to speak and make decisions for how Ohio law enforcement participates in that enforcement will matter greatly – if they are not properly constrained by the law.

And if that day comes, it won’t be just the corrupt “law enforcement associations” encouraging Ohio LEO’s to join the federal enforcement teams – big city mayors and local governments will pile on, too.

That’s why passing the Ohio Second Amendment Preservation Act into law is so important.

Gun-control militants like Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther would gladly direct CPD’s chief of police (that he appointed to that position) to instruct their officers to work with the ATF to confiscate AR-15s under a so-called ‘Assault Weapons’ ban.

They don’t care that it is unconstitutional.

They don’t care that it tramples your 2nd Amendment.

They don’t care that the government does not have the authority to trample the inalienable rights that our Creator endowed us with.

That’s why these big city Democrats and metro-county sheriffs will swear on the Constitution when they get sworn in and turn right around to violate it moments later.

They. Don’t. Care. They hate you.

An Old Tale

Because political power and access to the political class — rather than principles – decides their course of action, the political law enforcement organizations in Columbus long ago abandoned the defense of the 2nd Amendment.

And in gun politics the old phrase “if you’re not for us, you’re against us” is 100% accurate – they have the decades-long history to prove it.

Going back all the way to the original CCW bill that was passed back in 2003-2004, these organizations have opposed virtually every single pro-gun bill that has come before the Ohio General Assembly!

(Don’t worry, we are going to prove it to you shortly)

So when Ohio’s “Law Enforcement Associations” came out in full force against the Second Amendment Preservation Act, HB51, we were not surprised at all.

But what is frustrating is the number of RINO Republicans who blindly follow or at least for political cover the political hacks who run these organizations.

To be clear, these RINO’s are deliberately trying to block SAPA, which is arguably the most consequential and important piece of pro-gun legislation ever introduced in Columbus, and they are using the corrupt law enforcement groups to hide behind.

Here are some of the Republicans I’m referring to:

Representative Cindy Abrams
Representative Sara Carruthers
Representative Gail Pavliga
Representative Tracy Richardson
Representative Sharon Ray
Representative Tom Young
Representative Brian Lampton

These are some of the Republicans in Columbus who are desperately trying to kill off HB51, and they’re hiding behind the corrupt law enforcement associations to do it.

The Evidence

How do you know when a politician is lying? Their lips are moving.

Sadly, that is often the case at the Statehouse in Columbus, and I wish it wasn’t.

But because some of these politicians ARE liars and are deliberately hiding behind the “law enforcement” cover, I want you to be equipped with the truth when you talk to them or call them out.

And no, I don’t want you to just take my word for it.

That’s why Rob and I have done the hard work of digging and sifting through years and years of public testimony statements on the gun rights and gun control bills that have been considered at the Statehouse over the last two decades.

After you are done reading this, you are going to be shocked and angry at how deliberately these anti-gun activists, in the name of representing ‘law enforcement,’ have worked against your right to keep and bear arms over the years.

Again, I want you to know this information so that you know exactly what a politician is saying when they say they side with “law enforcement” against House Bill 51.

So where have each of the “law enforcement associations” stood in the past on gun bills at the Statehouse?

We are glad you asked.

In my next article, we are going to dig into the publicly available, historical, anti-gun positions of Ohio’s law enforcement associations, going back over two decades.

Stay tuned…

For Freedom,

Chris Dorr, Director
Ohio Gun Owners