Strickland Yields to Gun Lobby
This is outrageous. I realize that Gov. Strickland (D) has a well-deserved reputation on supporting the right to bear firearms, but supporting the evisceration of reasonable gun restrictions in the face of objections from prosecutors and law enforcement groups like the Fraternal Order of Police is unacceptable.
The NRA is a power-mad, out-of-control special interest that will never stop pushing no matter how outrageous its demands become. That means that the Governor, whether a gun supporter or not, has to draw reasonable lines and put his foot down or we're headed for the shoot-em-up madness of the old Wild West.
At issue is the latest legislative wish-list from the NRA, about to be wrapped in a package and festooned with a bow by the House Criminal Justice Committee with little or no public testimony. Among the changes dictated to the GOP-controlled General Assembly by the all-powerful gun lobby:
* Anyone, licensed or not, can carry an unloaded gun in their car -- not in the trunk or in a locked case as now required.
* A sheriff doing a background check on an applicant for a concealed-carry license can't consider a sealed or expunged conviction.
* Landlords can't prohibit tenants from keeping handguns.
* Law enforcement can't seize legal guns during an emergency.
Some law enforcement officials are protesting against the changes, as you can well imagine -- those unloaded guns in cars are way too easy to load, and the guns that would be allowed include things like sawed-off shotguns and rifles. Letting people get concealed gun permits when they have prior convictions is just plain outrageous, and not letting the police seize guns when a situation is spinning out of control is unthinkable. But Strickland is not deterred. "As a gun-rights supporter, the governor believes these are reasonable and appropriate protections for gun owners," spokesman Keith Dailey said.
Perhaps the scariest part is the eerie silence of the highway patrol on this -- here is how Jim Siegel puts it in his Dispatch story:
The State Highway Patrol, which has been very vocal in the past about concerns over guns in vehicles, is now, under Strickland, declining to talk about the issue.
So is Strickland not only failing to object to these outrageous changes to the law, but strangling criticism from within the executive branch?
This is going too far.