Part 2 of 3: The Battle For SAPA

Right now, the 8-10 Republicans attempting to block the Ohio Second Amendment Preservation Act are using the cover “because law enforcement doesn’t support it” as their excuse to sabotage the bill.

In our first article on this subject, we explained how Ohio’s “law enforcement associations” are actually run by militant, far-Left activists, not the cops you envision fighting crime on the front lines.

You can read that article here.

But we want you to be armed with the facts that prove this point.

That’s why, in part two of this three-part series on SAPA, we are doing a deep dive into the historical and objectively anti-gun positions of Ohio’s law enforcement organizations.

We wish this was not the case.


Pro-Gun HB142, Duty to Notify Repeal

House Bill 142 repealed Ohio’s draconian “duty to notify” law and was introduced by Republican Representative Scott Wiggam, arguably one of the most pro-gun members of the Ohio General Assembly.

He introduced it for our friends at Ohioans for Concealed Carry to address a major issue in Ohio law that was directly resulting in dangerous situations.

The “duty to notify” law required that anyone who was concealed carrying a firearm to notify each and every officer they had contact with that they were carrying a firearm – BEFORE the officer even had a chance to speak first.

This resulted in many dangerous situations that were completely unnecessary, and the law was pointless at best because law enforcement officers are already trained to treat every situation as if there is a firearm involved already.

The Ohio FOP testified against HB142, and their lobbyist, Michael Wineman, said

We see the notification as a constitutionally sound, commonsense measure to keep the permit holder and officer safe.”

Side Note: Michael Wineman is one of the nastiest gun-control activists I’ve ever run into in a state legislature.

The duty to notify was NOT constitutionally sound, but rather a violation of an Ohio gun owners’ right to be secure in our papers and our person.

Violent criminals, of course, were exempt from the law by their definition, but the attempt to notify an officer of the presence of a firearm led to many instances of an officer proning out otherwise lawful gun owners.

Today, of course, the duty to notify has been switched to the duty to answer truthfully.

The FOP is the largest union representing police officers in Ohio, but their rank and file supported HB142’s passage even while their association attempted to block it.

Pro-Gun HB228, Duty to Retreat Repeal

This was a bill that Ohio Gun Owners ultimately supported in 2018 because it repealed Ohio’s duty to retreat law, in addition to some other important changes.

FOP lobbyist Michael Wineman attempted to derail the bill in Senate Committee by attacking the idea of reducing the penalty carrying without a license, which was a precursor to Constitutional Carry:

“HB228 reduces the penalty of carrying a concealed weapon without a license to a minor misdemeanor. It has been my experience that individuals who stuff a pistol in their pocket, and do not have a concealed carry license, are not victims of an unfortunate oversight. They do so with the intention of harming someone. And that someone could very well be a police officer.”

“Now, we have individuals who didn’t bother to get a concealed carry permit that will have a weapon at hand because they have no fear of a $25.00 fine. And like those carrying a weapon on their person, are generally up to no good.”

I couldn’t believe Weinman would be so bold as to declare that someone who essentially carries a firearm to defend themselves or family is “generally up to no good,” but he did.

Pro-Gun HB 178/227/SB215, “Constitutional Carry”

“The FOP strongly opposes Sub. HB227, we feel the changes in the bill create a threat to officer safety…”

“The bill eliminates the need for a concealed carry license…”

The FOP strongly opposes SB215…”

These are the Constitutional Carry bills that were moving through the General Assembly back in 2020-2021. The FOP strongly opposed both bills and testified against them in both the House and Senate Committee hearings.

From Michael Weinman’s testimony, he laments that law-abiding gun owners would be able to carry a concealed handgun, “without training or background checks and avoid any revocations or suspensions of a license from an issuing sheriff.”

One of Weinman’s chief objections to SB215 is that it did not allow officers to detain a law-abiding citizen for simply carrying a firearm.

“Papers please,” anyone?

(Note: this is not an exhaustive list by any means. There are more examples that we could include, but it is important to note that we did not find one single “pro-gun” proponent testimony by a law enforcement association throughout our searches)


Perhaps the worst offender in the list of “law enforcement association” opposition to gun rights bills is the Ohio Sheriffs.

It is more egregious in their case because, as the highest elected office in each county, they are the last line of peaceful defense against tyranny, and they have a higher duty to understand, defend and protect our constitutional freedoms than others.

But unlike the political hacks from the other groups, however, the Sheriffs are elected by the residents of the counties they serve.

That is good news for gun owners, because it means that they can be held accountable at election time, just like legislators at the Statehouse.

I’m sad to report to you that some of Ohio’s sheriffs have adopted and promoted the Radical Left’s gun-control agenda and joined in the efforts by the gun-control organizations in Ohio to attempt to submarine pro-gun bills.

We submit to you that it is far worse for a sheriff, wearing a taxpayer funded uniform, showing up at the Statehouse in a taxpayer-funded vehicle and on the taxpayers’ dime, to lobby for gun-control than it is for other organizations to do the same.

It is a betrayal of the voters who trust them.

For our first example, let’s look at Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach.

Pro-Gun HB178, “Constitutional Carry”
Van Wert County Sheriff – OPPOSED

“The requirement for training has been an important part of Concealed Carry in Ohio.”

“Under the concealed carry laws, background checks occur to help ensure a person, who should not receive a Concealed Handgun License in Ohio, does not receive one.”

“background checks have been an important part of the Concealed Handgun License process, and ask that these remain in place.”

Sheriff Riggenbach is the ‘Director at Large’ of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association.

What Sheriff Riggenbach and many like him don’t understand is that gun owners never needed a state mandate for training to go get it anyway, and dozens of other states have proven that.

Pro-Gun HB178, “Constitutional Carry”

Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz, then the President of the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, joined Bloomberg’s “Moms Demand Action” activists in his uniform to testify against Constitutional Carry:

“There are also issues with the legislation about changing “firearm” to “deadly weapon”. Obviously, there are several “deadly weapons” besides firearms that would be dangerous for people to conceal. With this change this would allow more weapons to be concealed causing much more risk to Law Enforcement.”

“Some of these changes may appear to be small and minute and not of any consequence to some people. To officers, regulating that people have a duty to report is very important. This helps separate law-abiding citizens from the criminals that we arrest. These changes could allow criminals to blend in better with our law-abiding citizens, creating a substantial risk to our officers.”

(Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association President Matt Lutz testifying against HB178, Constitutional Carry)

Anti-Gun SB221, DeWine’s ‘Red Flag’ Omnibus Bill

‘Red Flag’ laws allow someone to have their constitutionally recognized right of self-defense stripped away from them by a judge based on one-sided “facts” and their firearms confiscated without ever being charged, tried or convicted of a crime.

After the Dayton, OH shooting on August 4th, 2019, Governor DeWine and State Senator Matt Dolan introduced SB221, a gun-control omnibus bill that, among other gun-control, would have implemented a very nasty version of a ‘Red Flag’ law.

Preble county sheriff Mike Simpson testified in full-blown support:

“I am a 32-year veteran of the Sheriff’s office, with the last (16) years serving as Sheriff. I also serve as the Legislative Committee Chairman for the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association.”

“Gun Safety: SB221 addresses several key issues that will enhance law enforcement’s ability to manage certain areas that are lacking, as it relates to gun safety.

Even mentioning the words “gun safety,” a popular mantra of the Radical Left’s gun-control activists, was telling.

“Seller Protection Certificate: The bill would establish a process to obtain a Seller’s Protection Certificate. The Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with Ohio’s 88 Sheriffs, would provide a voluntary process for a seller to ensure that he or she is selling a firearm to someone who is not currently under a disability that would prohibit the possession of a firearm.”

What Sheriff Simpson does NOT tell you is that this ‘voluntary’ system that DeWine and Senator Dolan wanted to create was a way to outlaw the private sale of firearms by creating a registry of buyers and sellers.

In addition, SB221 placed criminal liability on the transferor of a firearm unless one of the ‘voluntary’ Seller’s Protection Certificates was purchased by the seller of a firearm!

“Increase Penalties:  This bill increases penalties for “Having Weapons Under Disability” to a 2nd degree felony. For those offenders who chose to possess weapons even though they are under a disability and have been convicted of such, the offense is a first-degree felony.”

Ohio Gun Owners opposes the increasing of penalties for the mere possession of an inanimate object, because “victimless crimes” are bogus, just like some of Ohio’s disability statutes are bogus.

We refuse to fuel the Radical Left’s narrative that firearms are the causal problem and not the evil of the criminal committing the crime.

Crime should be punished, not the possession of a tool, and it becomes a big problem with the prosecutors and judges agree to plea deals that put violent criminals right back out on the street.

“Warrants in LEADS: Finally, the bill would require law enforcement agencies to enter warrants into the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) for Tier 1 offenses, including Domestic Violence. Ensuring that all Tier 1 warrants, 32 of our most serious and violent crimes, are entered into a national database, will flag other databases. This includes the nationwide NICS background system, where firearm dealers query potential purchasers to determine if they are eligible to own a firearm under current law.”

In closing, SB 221 provides much needed enhancements and tools to both law enforcement and the courts to address gaps in our current system.”

The standard in America for losing a constitution-enshrined Right has always been the conviction of a felony offense.

For many years now, the Left has worked hard to expand that definition to include misdemeanor convictions, and we reject it.

Ohio Gun Owners rejects the expansion of the NICS database for the same reasons that Nancy Pelosi always worked hard to expand it:

  1. Background checks have never stopped a mass killing
    1. Virtually ever single mass killer you can think of in the last 20 years has passed a background check
  2. The vast majority of NICS denials are false positives (over 95%), and lead to the deprivation of rights to individuals never convicted of a felony offense.
  3. The entire goal of the NICS system to create a database of every gun and gun owner in America, and should the Left ever pass gun confiscation at the federal level, the NICS database will be the database used to go door-to-door.

Pro-Gun HB227, “Constitutional Carry”

The BSSA did not formally oppose HB227, but they did oppose nearly identical language in the previous HB178 version.

Hamilton County Sheriff Charmain McGuffey, the lesbian activist we referenced in our previous article, submitted testimony in opposition:

“I support the Second Amendment of the Constitution, as I support and cherish all of the individual freedoms we share as Americans. But as the United States Supreme Court has held many times in different contexts, our individual freedoms are neither absolute nor unlimited.”

“Allowing virtually anyone in Ohio to conceal weapons on their person without training or background checks will make Ohio less safe. More than that, it will make the job of law enforcement even more stressful.”

“Please vote against this poorly considered piece of legislation.”

What McGuffey should do is stick to her job trying to deal with the gangbangers on the streets of Cincinnati and let Ohio Gun Owners deal with restoring gun rights, but she won’t.

But there is some good news here.

Because Ohio’s Sheriffs have “waxed political,” Ohio Gun Owners is excited to announce that we will be surveying every single candidate running for sheriff in the 2024 elections, especially the Republican primary in March.

We will be broadcasting the results of our survey with as many gun voters as we can reach in the respected counties, so that gun owners can make informed decisions about who they believe will defend their constitutional freedoms as county sheriff.

One last thing I’d like to mention is that there are likely sheriffs that do not agree with BSSA’s gun-control lobbying, and that is good.

But we need sheriffs who are unafraid to stand up and be counted for righteousness. Why don’t they testify IN FAVOR of our gun rights at the Statehouse? Why don’t they publicly denounce BSSA’s gun-control stance?

They must do more, and our candidate survey program is designed to identify those who will.


Perhaps one of the biggest allies of Michael Bloomberg at the Ohio Statehouse is the lobby team at the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, led by former Dublin city chief of police, Heinz von Eckartsberg.

We could not find a gun bill that OACP was not on the wrong side of, so here’s a short list of examples.

Pro-Gun HB 178 – Constitutional Carry

“OACP is not here to express opposition to the Second Amendment or the right the carry concealed weapons. What we are concerned with is the removal of requirements that help insure the legal concealed carry of firearms, removal of [mandatory] training requirements, and with officer safety implications of certain provisions of this legislation.”

“This conversation can get contentious, but there must be some balance and a logical discussion. There is a difference between infringements on the Second Amendment and restrictions that states are legally permitted to legislate. There are reasonable restrictions to gun ownership and possession that are legal and just… This discussion is not anti-gun, it is really about what we find reasonable. OACP submits that the current law regarding concealed carry is not onerous and should remain in its current form.”

“…the OACP does not advocate infringing on Second Amendment rights… As much as we felt our testimony presented a reasonable concern, we were not surprised when it failed to slow this legislation in the least.”

“Much to the dismay of law enforcement, we then had to witness the exact opposite reaction when the gun lobby protested that a pamphlet regarding legal responsibilities of gun owners, “can get gun owners killed.” It is interesting and sad that this body took no action based on law enforcement concerns, yet the House felt necessary to react immediately to gun lobby emails expressing concerns with the safety ramifications OF A PAMPHLET. From our perspective, the notion that these issues are taken seriously is situational at best. Valid and reasonable concerns have been expressed by law enforcement organizations regarding this legislation only to see reasonable amendments immediately voted down. While we do not desire an antagonistic relationship with this legislative body or the gun lobby, the time has come for us to say enough is enough.”

  • Chief Bruce Pijanowski, Delaware Police Department

I am opposed to HB 178. The current concealed carry law requires that the subject declare they are carrying a weapon when stopped by a law enforcement officer, which could be vital for the safety of both the subject and the officer… Allowing an untrained person with no background checks to carry a deadly weapon is asking for tragedy to occur whether by accident or by bad decisions. It is for these reasons that I am opposed to the changes that House Bill 178 wants to make to the current concealed carry legislation.”

  • Chrsitopher Kostura, Chief of Police, Orange Village Police Department

Pro-Gun HB 201 – Constitutional Carry

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police is opposed to H. B. No. 201 because it further loosens the CCW law regulations.”

“Proponent contend that licensees are the “cream of the crop.” The Association contends that CCW licenses represent a cross-section of Ohio’s population. Every time gun laws are loosened to benefit the so-called “cream of the crop,” the law requirements are loosened for those with anger issues, (9% of the population -Columbus Dispatch, 4/12/17) and those with non-adjudicated psychological, emotional, and mental health issues-all of whom can obtain a CCW license and have access to guns… If indeed there is less violence with more guns and looser restrictions, there would be fewer individuals opposing the various gun bills. “

“Make the CCW licensee records available to a select group of university researchers or journalists.”

  • John Gilchrist, Attorney and Counselor at Law, Legal Counsel, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police

Pro-Gun SB 215 – Constitutional Carry

Let me start by making it clear that law enforcement does not support the provisions of SB 215. It is of deep concern to us that we repeatedly find ourselves objecting to the removal of the duty to notify, and the elimination of conceal carry licensing. While we say we support the second amendment, that refers to the legal ownership of firearms, along with reasonable regulation to ensure public safety.”

“The Second Amendment does not preclude certain regulations, particularly to ensure legal gun ownership and that there is in the least a basic understanding of the responsibilities of owning and carrying a gun. While we can pass any firearms legislation for political expedience under the flag of the Second Amendment, the question really should be why we are doing it and if it makes sense from a publc safety perspective.”

“Leave the duty to notify alone.”

  • Chief Bruce Pijanowski, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police

Pro-Gun HB 51 – Second Amendment Preservation Act

“It appears that the substitute bill, in its current form, would still prohibit law enforcement in Ohio from utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) forensic tool, if its use were tied to investigating or enforcing any federal firearms laws that were the original focus of an investigation.”

“The membership of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police is primarily concerned with keeping Ohioans safe and reducing and solving crime. We are strongly opposed to the unnecessary roadblocks this bill creates for law enforcement in our efforts to accomplish this mission.”

  • Heinz von Eckartsberg, Retired Police Chief of Dublin, OH, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police

Pro-Gun HB 142 – Repeal Duty to Notify

I am the Chief of Police for the Dublin Police Department. I am submitting testimony in opposition to HB 142 on behalf of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.”

“The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police is not interested in restricting CCW holder’s rights. Instead, we would like to ensure the law provides a safe and practical process whereby the CCW holder can communicate to law enforcement that they are in possession of a firearm. This knowledge will not incriminate the CCW holder.”

  • Heinz von Eckartsberg, Dublin Police Department, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Polic

Pro-Gun HB 228 – Duty to Retreat Repeal

“… it modifies the current requirement to keep hands in plain sight when stopped by police by adding the wording; unless “it is impractical…”

“Also in this bill, many of the penalties for illegally carrying a firearm are reduced to minor misdemeanors. We understand that a first degree misdemeanor for some of those violations may be inappropriate, but we cannot support the reduction of some of these violations to a minor misdemeanor. In particular, under this proposed bill, a person illegally transporting a loaded firearm in a car, and without a CCW permit, would only be guilty of a minor misdemeanor (currently a fourth degree felony), unless committing another offense. This means that, if a police officer stops someone for a traffic violation, and a person in that car has a loaded handgun under their seat or carried on their person, they could not be arrested unless they were committing another offense at that time, or were otherwise illegally in possession of that gun.”

  • Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police

“The Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police opposes Substitute House Bill 228 and particularly the “stand-your-ground” provision. As it relates to the “stand-your-ground” provision, the bill seeks to repeal one of the elements one must prove to prevail in a self-defense action- that is, the individual would no longer have to prove that he did not violate the duty to retreat… It allows the killing of an individual in certain situations where the death could have been avoided and thus makes a criminal homicide a justifiable homicide.”

“Again, under the current self-defense law, an individual has an obligation to try to defuse a confrontation before it escalates to the point where he fears imminent danger-if he doesn’t then the duty to retreat is breached and it is unlikely he will prevail in alleging self-defense.”

“Remove the duty to retreat, you remove a legal constraint that will allow pride, passion, and ego to prevail over common sense.”

“The Association also opposes provisions in this bill that would change the current law dealing with an affirmative defense in self-defense situations.” “Proponents contend that having to prove the elements required for a self-defense action violates their Fifth Amendment rights. To this end they want to place the burden on prosecutors to prove it was not self-defense.”

“The Association is also opposed to the various reduction in penalties for violation of the conceal carry and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle provisions.”

“In closing, it is unfortunate that proponents did not make a better case as to why the current law should be changed. The provided no examples of abuse or need for the law change.”

  • Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police

Pro-Gun HB 233 – Concealed Cary in gun-free zones

The Association believes that if this bill passes, in reality, there will no longer be any prohibited places for CCW licensees. Licensees will knowlingly and purposely carry into prohibited places knowing there will be no penalty if they leave when asked. In addition, licensees understand that it is virtually impossible to proved that they knowingly carried into a prohibited place- a person can keep carrying into prohibited places until he get caught and when he gets caught he gets a pass.”

“The Association sees this bill as a step in chipping away the CCW law dealing with carrying into prohibited places-with the goal of total repeal of all restrictions on conceal carry. The proponents’ social media also indicates that this is the goal of this legislation.”

“In closing, the Association opposes H.B. No 233.”

  • John Gilchrist, Legislative Counsel, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police

Here are the gun-control bills that the OACP have supported:

Anti-Gun HB 585 – John Kasich’s Red Flag Gun Confiscation

“It is our belief that the provisions contained in H.B. 585 will assist in reducing the availability of weapons to persons that are not legally permitted to own them, will benefit the accuracy of the National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NICS) System, and most importantly will give family members and law enforcement a tool to restrict firearm access from persons who might be suffering a mental health crisis.”

“We do not believe these provisions are an infringement on the Second Amendment. Our position is that people that illegally own and use firearms are the ones that we should focus our attention on.”

“We also support the provisions of this legislation that creates the extreme risk protection orders.”

“It is our position that the extreme risk protection order that is proposed would give law enforcement and family members a tool to temporarily separate an at risk person from their firearms, while providing due process and a means for appeal.”

  • Bruce Pijanowski, Chief of Police, Delaware OH, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police

Anti-Gun SB 221 – DeWine’s Gun Control Omnibus Bill

“I am here on behalf of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police in support of the provisions of SB221. Gun Violence protection is such an important issue that we conducted a membership wide survey to gauge the opinions of our wide and varied membership. We conclusively found that our membership supports change.”

“It is our belief that the provisions of SB 221 – safety protection orders, enhanced background checks, and greater penalties for mishandling firearms are the right balance between gun reform in the interest of safety and the second amendment.  As police officers we support and defend the second amendment, but we are also committed to safe communities.  We support SB 221 for its attention to both.”

“We support the provisions of SB 221, and we advocate for a commitment to law enforcement training that will allow us to do more to address these issues before they become a crisis.”

  • Bruce Pijanowski, Chief of Police, Delaware OH, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police

I am Chief Robin Lees of the Youngstown Police Department… I can tell you that I support this bill because it provides for a number of common sense remedies to the challenges that we face every day from gun violence.”

“It addresses the issues of: mental health, substance abuse, background checks, the sharing of data base information to make the background checks more effective, allows private sellers the ability question background of unknown purchasers, finally, and most important to me, this bill enhances penalties for selling or illegally possessing firearms.”

“Ohio needs more meaningful legislation when it comes to gun crimes. I suppose this bill because it contains those measures.”

  • Robin Lees, Chief of Police, Youngstown Police Department

“I’m a gun guy. I firmly believe if the 2nd amendment. I want as many good guys with guns around as possible. I would not support this bill if it curtailed the rights of law abiding citizens. This bill is about taking weapons from those who should not own them and holding the small percentage of people that commit majority of the violent crime accountable.”

“There is due process in this bill. Taking weapons when they are not evidence or contraband is not new. Having a codified due process to do it is. Ask any old cops who worked in the 80’s and 90’s. We used to collect weapons constantly.”

I’m a gun guy. I want as many good guys with guns around as possible, but the Oregon District shooting in Dayton highlighted how that’s not enough. Dayton PD had a heroic response in 30 seconds. There were still 9 killed and 27 injured. Our department has devoted a lot of time and money for training to respond to an active shooter. I don’t think we’ll beat a 3- second response.”

  • Adam Pillar, Chief of Police, Lancaster OH

We could probably write a book containing all of the anti-gun positions of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, but this sampling paints the accurate picture that they are committed gun-control activists.


Like the Ohio Chiefs of Police, one name gun owners can always count on to oppose their gun rights at the Statehouse is the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association, and especially Louis Tobin their lobbyist.

The fact is, many of Ohio’s prosecuting attorneys are like Thomas Binger, the prosecutor who tried Kyle Rittenhouse back in 2021, and they’ll run you through the ringer if they ever get the chance.

We know this, too. That’s why Ohio Gun Owners always makes sure our bills are constructed to protect lawful gun owners from liberal, Soros-backed prosecutors so they aren’t victimized a second time after defending themselves in the first place.

The OPAA has made it very clear that they are not for our gun rights and instead prefer to align their offices with the policies of Joe Biden/Merrick Garland’s Department of Injustice.

Every time Chris and I see Lou Tobin (OPAA executive director) at the Statehouse, we know he is working in committee or behind the scenes to stop or block pro-gun bills.

Here’s a sample:

Pro-Gun HB 51 – Second Amendment Preservation Act

From Lou Tobin:

The primary concern with this bill is the negative impact it will have on cooperation between local, state, and federal law enforcement in efforts to address gun violence and gun crimes in Ohio.”

Of course it will have an impact on their cooperation with the feds. That’s the point. Ohioans don’t want Ohio law enforcement, which they pay for, to be in the business of being Joe Biden or any other administration’s gun-control enforcers.


And of course, Tobin never utters a negative word about the gun-control agenda coming out of Washington, D.C..

“In Ohio, like in other states, law enforcement engage in a variety of joint task forces with the federal government that are made up of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers. Local and state officials can be deputized as federal law enforcement officials.”

The whole point of HB51 is that we no longer want Ohio law enforcement, which Ohio taxpayers pay for, and who enforce the Ohio laws that Ohioans choose to pass each election cycle when they elect the Ohio General Assembly, to be Joe Biden’s enforcers.

The problem manifested itself the day Joe Biden got in front of the microphone as the President of the United States and shouted, “BAN ‘EM. WE GOT TO BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS!”

During the November 14, 2023 hearing on the bill where it passed the committee, Tobin made a last ditch effort to tank this bill before it went onto the House session calendar:

“The state or political subdivision remains subject to a $50,000 civil penalty. For us, this will prevent cross designations of prosecutors as Assistant United States Attorneys. For law enforcement, it will prevent cross designations to serve on federal task forces.”

You’re d*mn right it will.

His last sentence was misleading, however, because the bill does protect the ability of law enforcement to work on federal task forces aimed at drug interdiction, human trafficking, and others not related to enforcing gun laws.

“All of this lack of clarity will inevitably have a chilling effect on voluntary cooperative efforts between Ohio law enforcement and federal law enforcement in efforts to address a variety of types of crime. It will have a profound effect on cooperative efforts to keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous criminals and to get them off our streets. For these reasons we remain opposed to the legislation.”

Joining Tobin was Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley who all threw in their two cents to try to submarine the bill.

Keep in mind, if Joe Biden’s gun control agenda passes Congress, these two jurisdictions will be at the forefront of enforcing any gun confiscation orders.

To sum it all up, the prosecutors and Columbus City Attorney are opposed to SAPA because the bill does what it needs to do – it stops Ohio law enforcement from being federal gestapo agents for gun control.

The bill’s opponents want unfettered access to federal resources, chiefly MONEY, all while refusing to prosecute the most violent criminals that they already have in their systems.

Pro-Gun HB 228 – Duty to retreat Repeal

As you might recall from earlier, HB228 did a number of pro-gun things like reducing penalties for carrying a weapon under disability, shifting the burden of proof in self-defense cases to the prosecution, and was eventually amended to include a repealer of Ohio’s duty-to-retreat law.

OPAA and Lou Tobin were opposed:

“Our… concern with House Bill 228 is the elimination of the duty to retreat in areas outside the home or vehicle. We think the current policy that one should take advantage of an opportunity to retreat, when reasonable to do so, is good policy that prevents needless confrontations and the unnecessary loss of life.”

What Tobin is saying here is that the prosecutors wanted this to remain in place so people like Zach Klein and Michael O’Malley can use it to lock gun owners up for using a firearm for self-defense.

In fact, O’Malley did exactly that and locked up a gun owner for over 100 days and only let him go after the gun owner’s defense team compelled the prosecutor’s office to release the video footage of the event.

Tobin continued:

Finally, we are opposed to the changes to the penalties for the offense of carrying a concealed handgun under R.R. 2923.12. This amendment reduces the penalty for individuals who are carrying handguns illegally.”

Again, here at Ohio Gun Owners, we are opposed to the mere fact of having a handgun being the crime. The crime committed against another person should be prosecuted, not the existence of a firearm.

Ultimately, House Bill 228 rests on the idea that prosecutors are charging and obtaining convictions in cases where the use of force was justifiable. We simply do not believe this to be the case. We should have faith in our elected officials’ judgement and trust that they will use their discretion wisely. This means trusting our prosecutors to make decisions about when it is and is not appropriate to charge someone with a crime in the first place… Current law strikes the appropriate balance between promoting public safety, preventing needless confrontation and the loss of innocent lives, and protecting the rights of the accused.”

This is exactly what is wrong with prosecutors today. They want blind allegiance and trust that they will always do what is right.

But after the whole nation watched what happened to Kyle Rittenhouse and Mark and Patricia McClosky, gun owners are right in insisting that the prosecutors be forced to live within guard rails.

The fact is, sometimes lawful gun owners need to be protected from agenda-driven activists who have worked themselves into positions of authority, as some of these prosecutors have done.

(And no, we aren’t even going to get into George Soros’ influence with this particular crowd)

Pro-Gun HB 248 – Antique Firearms

We haven’t covered this bill yet, because it merely made a new classification of firearm called ‘antique firearms’ that are not classified under Ohio law.

These are firearms manufactured before 1898 and do not require a background check because they are classified as ‘antique firearms’ under federal law.

The problem is that Ohio does not make that distinction, classifying even those antique firearms in the same way they would classify a Glock 19.

But here’s what Lou Tobin had to say,

“While we appreciate the problem faced by federally licensed firearms dealers who are prohibited from running a background check through the national instant criminal background check system (NICS) when the firearm is an antique firearm, the solution should not be to allow an individual who is under a weapons disability to purchase firearms. A better solution would be to seek to change federal law or the NICS regulations to allow background checks under these circumstances, or, possibly, to require background checks on antique firearm purchases to be conducted through the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

Wait, what? Even though the federal government doesn’t require a background check for those firearms, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s think you need an Ohio-based background check?

That’s ridiculous. But that’s Lou Tobin.

Pro-Gun HB 178 – Constitutional Carry

Seeing their track record, its no surprise that the OPAA would also oppose Constitutional Carry.

“We are opposed to several provisions of this bill that we feel place the safety of our law enforcement officer at greater risk and reduce punishments for individuals carrying deadly weapons during the commission of a crime. We are here today to ask you to support your law enforcement community and help us promote public safety by making three changes to this legislation.”

“First, the duty to notify law enforcement that a person is carrying a concealed weapon should be maintained even if the licensure is no longer required. Overall, the bill will make encounters between law enforcement and members of the public more tense and dangerous for both the officer and the stopped person… This problem is exacerbated by the bill’s proposed repeal of the requirement that a stopped person inform any law enforcement officer who approaches the person that the person is then carrying a concealed handgun. This is a small responsibility to place on law-abiding gun owners in the name of officer safety and public safety.

“Second, the bill provides that the carrying or possessing of a deadly weapon “does not constitute grounds for any law enforcement officer or agent of the state, a county, or a municipal organization, or a township to conduct any search, seizure, or detention, no matter how temporary in duration, of an otherwise law-abiding person.”

To put it bluntly, Tobin wants the ability to “stop and frisk.” And that’s just dumb. Just as dumb as stopping and demanding papers from someone exercising their First Amendment rights…

Pro-Gun HB 201 – Duty to retreat Repeal

HB201 was the constitutional carry bill introduced by former representatives and pro-gun champions Ron Hood and Tom Brinkman back in 2017.

Again, Ohio’s prosecutors were there to object:

This would qualify a number of persons who are not currently qualified to carry a concealed firearm. These include persons who have not had the firearms training that is currently required, persons who have been convicted of a number of misdemeanor offenses including some misdemeanor drug offenses and misdemeanor assault of a police officer. The bill also dispenses with the background check that is currently required.”

OGO stands firmly on the principle that misdemeanor convictions should not disqualify an Ohioan, or anyone, from their constitutional, God-given right to self-defense.

“Since there is no background check and no licensure requirement, presumably the person simply carries a concealed firearm if he thinks he is not disqualified. Whether he or she is in fact disqualified would only be determined after the fact.”

Every Ohioan is innocent until proven guilty. That has always been the standard. If someone is disqualified from carrying a weapon, then the burden is on prosecutors to overcome the presumption of innocence.

“We think the existing licensing process with the training requirements and background check are critical to public safety. These requirements help insure that only persons who are not disqualified by criminal convictions or mental illness will be able to secure a license, and that licensees have proper training in handling firearms. HB-201 would remove all of these safeguards.”

Nowhere in the Constitution of the United States or Ohio does it say that the right to keep and bear arms is dependent on the amount of training you receive or whether a background check was performed.

The reason why is because our Founders codified these rights as a restriction on government, not We the People!

“We therefore oppose the enactment of HB-201.”

  • John Murphy, Executive Director, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association

Pro-Gun HB 381 – Stand Your Ground

HB381 was OGO’s 2020 full-orbed Stand-Your-Ground bill introduced by Representatives Ron Hood and Candice Keller.

It was big, perfect, beautiful, and we are working on getting this bill reintroduced for the 2024 legislative session.

And of course, Lou Tobin marched his Communist suit into the House Criminal Justice committee on June 9, 2020 and went to work to sabotage the bill, this time attacking gun owners for wanting Ohio law to protect them rather than criminals…

“…thank you for the opportunity to provide opponent testimony on House Bill 381, a bill that we believe is unnecessary particularly in light of recent changes to the law of self-defense, that poses risks to public safety, and that will place substantial new burdens, financial and practice, on our justice system.

Right, because the burdens that have bene placed on gun owners for decades is nothing compared to the financial strain that will be placed on the ‘justice’ system for actually administering justice!

“The bill provides that the procedural act of filing a motion claiming self-defense establishes a viable claim of self-defense that must be disproved by clear and convincing evidence. It person filing the motion is not required to put forth any evidence even tending to support that they used the force in self-defense. It makes the procedural act of filing a piece of paper more important that the substantive facts surrounding the event.”

This is a total crock of you-know-what.

During a pre-trial immunity hearing, the prosecution has to convince (not prove to) a judge that the gun owner did not act in reasonable self-defense by a lesser standard than they would have to use in the full-blown trial.

And to a prosecutor who believes they have the evidence to convince a jury “beyond a reasonable doubt” that someone acted outside the law, this is an easy task.

It’s always cute to watch a political hack like Lou Tobin pretend they care one bit about the “dollars and cents” burden of the taxpayers. In reality, they could not care less and routinely bilk taxpayers for all they’re worth.

“While this may be ideal from the perspective of a law-abiding gun owner who justifiable uses force in self-defense, it is unworkable and dangerous from the perspective of prosecutors who will need to overcome immunity in all manner of cases where violent offenders assert bogus claims of self-defense and are granted immunity.”

See our above comments. Any prosecutor worth their salt will be able to disprove a self-defense claim to a judge at the preponderance of the evidence level, because they already have the burden of proving the same case to the JURY at the much higher “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

What some of these prosecutors really don’t want is for their ability to make a political prosecution taken away from them.

current policy, that one should take advantage of a reasonable opportunity to retreat before using deadly force, is a good policy that prevents needless confrontations and potentially the unnecessary loss of life. It is important to understand that it is only a reasonable duty to retreat… More importantly, the bill specifically provides that the trier of fact shall not consider the possibility of retreat as a factor in determining the reasonableness of force used in self-defense.”

To be perfectly clear, there is nothing ‘reasonable’ about forcing a gun owner to show that they attempted to retreat before being able to reasonably halt a threat to their life.

This has always been a tool of the radical left to come after gun owners and victimize them a second time.

“House Bill 381 would require courts to conduct trials within trials in order to determine whether an individual should or should not be immune from prosecution. This will be practically and financially burdensome to prosecutors, the judicial system, and ultimately to taxpayers. Many violent offenders will assert bogus claims of self-defense that may nevertheless prevent arrest, and will require this trial within a trial, at a substantial cost to public safety and to the administration of justice in Ohio.”

“We urge this committee and the House to allow time for the implementation of House Bill 228 and proper analysis of what problems it creates.”

Waaaa! Cry harder Lou! Gun owners deserve justice, no matter what the cost. And that’s exactly what Stand-your-ground law does.


Not as frequently seen opposing gun bills at the Statehouse, the troopers, the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association will occasionally emerge from their cubicles and leave their coffee mugs behind to come and flap their gums about how gun owners should have less freedom.

Pro-Gun HB 89 – Duty to Notify Repeal

For example, House Bill 89, sponsored in the 134th General Assembly by Representative Scott Wiggam, would have removed the duty to notify, but it drew the ire of Mike DeWine’s Department of Public Safety and the Superintendent of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

(Keep in mind, this is a guy that was appointed to his post by Governor Dewine)

“…thank you for the opportunity to provide written testimony in opposition to HB 89.”

“In 2004, the General Assembly passed legislation that provided Ohioans with the legal authority to possess concealed weapons through the permit process. The permit process includes background checks, education, training, and demonstration of weapon competency. All of these aspects played a vital role to ensure the proper vetting of permit holders and to garner the support of the interested parties in the legislation.”

If the special interests are against our gun rights, we have no interest in striking a deal with them.

“In addition to the aforementioned items, another key component negotiated into the concealed carry legislation was the mandatory notification to law enforcement officers when a permit holder is carrying a concealed weapon. This is one of the essential aspects of the legislation that keeps everyone safe but most importantly the permit holder themselves.”

This is a common theme among law enforcement testimony, but it just is not true.

If the presence of a weapon is not the focus of the interaction, there should be no problem keeping it concealed and keeping it from becoming a problem.

Besides, we routinely heard from officers in support of the bill that they are all trained to treat every situation and interaction as if there is a firearm present anyway.

Problems arise when the presence of a weapon is made known, then creating tension on both sides of the equation.

“Eliminating the duty to notify creates a very dangerous situation. When a law enforcement officer observes a weapon, they must instinctively react to the threat (weapon) and by doing so, it places everyone involved in a very volatile circumstance.”

“Members of the committee, you need to ask yourself one question: who will be safer as a result of this legislation? The simple anaswer is no one, especially not the permit holder who is alleged to benefit from this legislation.”

“Proponents of HB 89 have made three basic arguments against the duty to notify. There are as follows:

  1. The penalty for failure to notify is a 1st degree misdemeanor which is alleged to be “draconian.”
  2. Multiple officers at a scene or traffic stop create multiple notifications which is a burden on the permit holder.
  3. The working of “prompt” is vague, ambiguous and subjective.”


“The Division cannot support the bill in its current state and as a result would request the committee to reject HB 89 as it is currently written.”

  • Colonel Richard S. Fambro, Superintendent, Ohio State Highway Patrol

Keep in mind, this written testimony that was submitted, also bears the name of the Department of Public Safety letterhead, which also has the names of Mike DeWine and Jon Husted listed.

I bet you can imagine how intimidating that looked for the legislators on the committee!

Pro-Gun HB 89 – Duty to Notify Repeal

In addition to opposing the duty to notify repeal, the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio State Highway Patrol opposed HB228 at the time: 

“HB 228 significantly reduces the penalties for those who illegally carry concealed weapons. As currently written, HB 228 reduces these offenses to minor misdemeanors unless the individual is committing another offense, at which time the current penalties would apply. The reduction in penalty is particularly concerning because law enforcement officers cannot make custodial arrests for minor misdemeanor violations. In effect, HB 228 removes all incentive for individuals to go through the permitting process, and it shields the criminal element—those who cannot pass a background check—from a custodial arrest.”

If the original crime committed was punished severely enough, we would not have to worry about repeat offenders carrying weapons.

And like we have said before, the mere presence of a firearm, an inanimate object, should not be a crime. The crime is what the criminal does to the victim and the injustice that results from it.

“HB 228 also reduces the penalty for improper transportation of a firearm in a motor vehicle to a minor misdemeanor unless committing another offense, at which time the current penalties would apply.”

Yeah, and what’s wrong with that? Criminals do whatever the heck they want to.

Ohioans should be able to carry their firearms with them in their vehicle, especially if they are going hunting or want to keep a firearm other than a pistol in the vehicle for self-defense, or as a ‘car gun.’

“Another provision in HB 228 reduces the penalties for failure to promptly notify a law enforcement officer of the possession of a concealed weapon from a first degree misdemeanor to a minor misdemeanor and eliminates the permit sanctions. The argument has been proffered that simply forgetting to advise an officer of a concealed weapon should not subject an otherwise law abiding citizen to a first degree misdemeanor. The Division believes everyone is safer when all parties involved know there is a weapon present. Prompt notification to the law enforcement officer is vitally important to ensure the safety of both the permit holder and the officer. Failure to make prompt notification should have consequences”

Everyone is safer when nobody but the lawful gun owner knows if a firearm is present, especially when the firearm is not the subject of the interaction with law enforcement.

“In closing, the Division believes those who fail to obtain the necessary permit to carry a concealed weapon (whether by choice or due to ineligibility), on their person or illegally in a motor vehicle, should be subject to current penalties commensurate with serious weapon violations. Additionally, permit holders who knowingly fail to abide by the aforementioned provisions established to protect law enforcement officers should also be subject to current penalties. Reducing these penalties to minor misdemeanors and linking penalties to the commission of other offenses will not promote consistency nor serve as an effective deterrent for the perilous behavior. The Highway Patrol cannot support HB 228 in its current state”

This testimony was also delivered using the Ohio Department of Public Safety letterhead, bearing DeWine and Husted’s names, on their behalf.

But the real kicker? This testimony was delivered by then Lt. Kevin Miller of the Ohio State Highway Patrol (their lobbyist. Yes, the Patrol has a lobbyist!)

That lobbyist is now State Representative Kevin Miller of the 69th House District, and he’s one of the legislators who in caucus meetings has been trying to slow down SAPA today!

Pro-Gun HB 228 – Duty to Retreat Repeal

Ohio OSP/DPS were also present to oppose HB228 after the duty-to-retreat repealer was added into the bill after the first testimony was given:

“The Ohio State Highway Patrol opposes many of the provisions included in HB 228 including the “stand your ground provision” as well as changes which alter the penalties to existing weapon and concealed carry permit violations.”

“With respect to the “stand your ground” provision-…the parties [officer and person] separate and go on their way without any interaction from law enforcement. In many cases we do not have enough evidence to open an investigation. We believe provisions of HB 228 will provide citizens with a legal defense to stay engaged in altercations as opposed to disengaging which is currently the case 85 percent of the time.”

I honestly have no idea what I just read there, and we aren’t going to waste further time trying to figure it out. The rest of the testimony is a copy and paste clone from the previous testimony offered by Kevin Miller.

But it is clear that the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety do NOT support stand your ground or the repealing of the duty to retreat.


We wanted to make sure that this testimony was included, because, as you’ll see, it is particularly important for gun owners to know that not only are the Sheriffs, the Prosecutors, the Chiefs of Police, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol against pro-gun bills, but also the unions that represent the troopers.

Here is Michael Hayes, President of the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association testifying against HB 178 – OGO’s Constitutional Carry bill sponsored by Rep. Ron Hood and Rep. Tom Brinkman,

“I am here to testify on why myself and members of my Union oppose H.B. 178.”

“I would like to start out with the basic language change. The wording change from concealed handgun to concealed weapons in and of itself changes the basic principle of a “gun” law. The flaw in this word change is that the language is written on the assumption that we are only talking about guns. It is clearly shown in the fact that the law is and will stay to having to be 21 years of age to possess a firearm and firearm is really all that is referenced. However, by changing the wording to include weapons, you now open a whole new arena of weaponry is not a gun and you do not need to be 21 years old to possess. This allows for persons under 21 years of age to who are legally able to attain edged weapons the ability to carry swords, knives of any length, switchblades, throwing stars, etc. this would in essence be giving kids the ability to carry dangerous weapons as there is not a true age limit for edged weapons. This in and of itself should be enough to reconsider this bill.”

First of all, when we talk about changing the law from a concealed handgun license to a concealed weapons license, we are only talking about the weapons that are folks are legally able to purchase and possess under current Ohio law.

If you can legally own it, you should be able to carry it for self-defense. It is pretty simple, and that’s the way it is in lots of states.

Listen to this:

“I would also like to bring attention of the committee the repercussions association when it comes to shock and awe. I have witnessed a once a year march through downtown Toledo where two dozen or better rifle and gun owners carry their weapons in a show of their rights. Although there is no issue with this, you can imagine what the 911 calls look like and the expressions of motorists and pedestrians as they see what would appears to be something out of the ordinary going on. I do not foresee this being common place but I also see this as an opening in the future for a resurrection of a “wild west” type atmosphere and even then they limited the carrying of guns in town. Although it seems that this is more to the point of open carry, I make this statement because a weapon tucked into a waistband or that just has a coat covering it is considered concealed however any observer can clearly see that a weapon is there. Are we in fact desensitizing society?

This guy has a serious problem with folks taking advantage of their gun rights!

“I feel that we are in fact doing a disservice to our citizenry as a whole. This would allow John Doe on his 21st birthday to run right out and buy a gun and throw it in his pocket. An untrained person, even with the minuimum training currently required for CCW holders, really has no idea what they have truly just embarked into. We don’t let our 16-year-old children behind the wheel without a minimum of training involved, so why would we allow someone to carry a gun without the same due diligence? The training that is required for CCW now is my opinion no more than showing a teenager where the ignition and gas pedal are at. It does however at least teach a little respect for the gun itself and the magnitude for when and where it should be used. Moreover, where personal responsibility has gone to the wayside and is another ingredient in a recipe for disaster.”

Ohio Gun Owners approves of 21-year-olds being able to purchase a firearm as soon as they are able for their protection and the protection of their loved ones.

This buffoon compares driving to gun rights like they are the same thing.

They are not.

“This bill will allow for people with certain misdemeanor charges to still be able to carry a weapon or a gun… I would like to add that many charges that start as felony charges which would normally preclude the offender from owning a gun get plead down to a lesser charge.”

Maybe he should start lobbying the prosecutors to go harsher on the criminals?

“In closing, I feel that there are more cons than pros to this bill. Although I am all for the rights of the citizens, the times and ways of the world have changed. Keeping in touch with this world is a difficult task. I sincerely urge this committee to not pass H.B. 178 as it poses both known and unknow dangers to the people of Ohio.”

It is a good thing that our Constitution does not change with the culture.

It is a steady constant knowing that our rights come from our creator, and that our right shall not be infringed, but if this guy got his way, we wouldn’t have any gun rights unless they were ‘allowed’ by law enforcement hacks like him.

No thanks.

It’s also worth noting that we are also in possession of opponent testimony from Tom Austin, the Executive Director of the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association against Senate Bill 215, the Permitless carry bill from Senator Terry Johnson that became law just last year, allowing Ohioans to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.

It ain’t just the organizations…

To recap, the Ohio “law enforcement associations” at the Statehouse are a bunch of anti-gun hacks that are 100% opposed to gun rights.

That’s why they’ve opposed every pro-gun bill and supported the gun-control bills going back for decades.

We did all of that work and dug back for decades through all of those testimonies for the proof because we wanted you to be on the same footing we are.

Here’s why: every time one of the “Republicans” trying to block SAPA by hiding behind “law enforcement” is deliberately trying to fool you.

Part 3 of 3…

In the next and final part in this series on SAPA, we’re going to examine in detail several of the RINO, fake-Republicans that are trying to block SAPA right now.

We’re going to go over their voting history, we’re going to go over their campaign cash sources, and we’re going to expose them for the con-jobs that they are…

Stay tuned…

For Freedom,

Rob Knisley, Political Director
Ohio Gun Owners