First they were coming for your guns.
That didn’t work, so now they’re coming for your bullets.
As part of U.S. sanctions against the Russian Federation for using a “Novichok” nerve agent in the August 2020 poisoning of Russian opposition leader Aleksey Navalny, the U.S. is effectively banning “permanent importation of firearms and ammunition manufactured or located in Russia.”
The measure is to take effect Tuesday.
Gun rights supporters, noting that most Russian firearms already were banned, wonder if there’s more than meets the eye here.
“It’s unclear why the Biden Administration would choose to ban Russian ammo if the goal was to punish Russia rather than American citizens,” said Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association.
“Ammo sales make up only a tiny fraction of Russia’s GDP, but account for a sizable portion of the ammo market here in the U.S. One has to wonder, given this administration’s animosity toward gun owners, that they are using this dustup as an excuse to deal a blow to American gun owners who are already suffering from ammo shortages.”
The headline on Buckeye’s Aug. 16 “Keep and Bear” radio podcast asks: “Where’s All the Ammo? Is it Government Hoarding? A Ploy to Drive up Prices? Aliens?”
An op-ed for the Washington newsletter The Hill by Justin Haskins, director of the Stopping Socialism Project at The Heartland Institute, calls the move “Democrats’ latest backdoor plan to limit gun ownership.”
Meanwhile, the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action says, “The full effect of this new policy will likely not be realized for a few months, but it will certainly lead to more ammunition shortages, higher prices, and therefore fewer Americans excising their fundamental rights. It may also result in the shuttering of American small businesses that rely heavily on the importation of Russian ammunition. All of this is, of course, by design for the Biden Administration.”
Where are your masks?
Amid the public testimony about gerrymandering and map-making during the Aug. 25 hearing in Zanesville by the Ohio Redistricting Commission, one questioner raised a different issue of the bipartisan panel:
Why aren’t some of you wearing masks?
The hearing was held on a branch campus of Ohio University, which mandates masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic: “Students, faculty, staff, and visitors to all OHIO campuses are required to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.” Campus Dean Hannah Nissen wore one except when she gave a brief welcome to the group.
Those going bare-faced: Sen. Vernon Sykes, an Akron Democrat who presided over the hearing; state Auditor Keith Faber, a Republican; GOP state Sen. Jay Hottinger of Newark; and Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville. The latter two were filling in respectively for Senate President Matt Huffman and House Speaker Bob Cupp.
Hottinger said he was unaware of the mask requirement, especially since the commission was sitting so far away from the audience.
“If I knew we were to wear the masks, I certainly would have done so. That rule was never presented to me, nor did I hear it,” he said.
“If I had known it was a rule, I certainly would have complied. I assumed because we were 20 feet or more away that it wasn’t required.”
Faber spokeswoman Allie Dumski said he removed his mask only during the hearing.
“It was our understanding at the time of the meeting OU encouraged, but did not mandate, masks based on a conversation with a staffer at the event,” she said.
The committee itself linked to OU’s mask policy in its online list of hearings.
Sykes’ office declined to comment, while Edwards’ office did not respond.
The designees for Gov. Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Frank LaRose did mask up, as did state Rep. Jessica Miranda, D-Forest Park, filling in for House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes.
Ohio Christian Alliance pushing religious exemption for COVID vaccine
The group has urged backers to contact the Ohio House Health Committee on House Bill 248: “We need to flood them with calls for the Vaccine Freedom Bill.” And on Thursday, the Akron-based nonprofit offered to connect Ohioans who want a religious exemption from taking the COVID-19 vaccination with the Liberty Counsel.
On its website, the Orlando-based Counsel has sample “Vax Exemption Request Letters,” as well as this assertion about Jesus: “For the believer, He heals all sick people.” The site also has a video that “exposes the truth on mass vaccination” and an article on the FDA’s “bait and switch” on COVID shots.
As opponents of HB 248 have pointed out numerous times, Ohio already offers exemptions for religious, medical or “reasons of conscience.”
The Christian Alliance foresees a drop in health-care quality because of “un-American” vaccine requirements by hospitals and businesses.
“In just a matter of weeks, hundreds if not thousands of Ohio health-care workers will be leaving their current jobs at hospitals and health-care facilities because they have no choice or meaningful exemption to not take the COVID-19 vaccine. These same health care workers who were heralded as heroes last year on the front lines of treating COVID patients are now being ridiculed and shown the door if they do not take the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Earlier this year the Alliance criticized Gov. Mike DeWine for “turning Ohioans on each other” after he pointed out the state had become “two Ohios” — the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
Frank LaRose election audit shoots down Josh Mandel’s new voting claims
Former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, one of several Ohio GOP U.S. Senate candidates assiduously courting the affections of Donald Trump, has continued spreading the former president’s falsehoods about a rigged 2020 election.
Tuesday, Mandel came up with a new, totally unsubstantiated claim questioning Ohio’s vote last year.
So we turn to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who took office in 2019 promising to shoot down false voting claims: What say you about your fellow Republican’s disregard for the truth about election results?
LaRose spokesman Rob Nichols didn’t have anything directly to relay from the state’s top elections official. But Nichols did point to a January 2021 audit of Ohio’s presidential vote, which found a 99.98% accuracy rate in the presidential election.
“Anyone who suggests that Ohio’s 2020 election was anything less than the most successful and secure election on record is wrong,” Nichols said.
LaRose said in January, “The incredible accuracy of the results as reflected in the post-election audits should make every Ohioan proud not only of their bipartisan election officials, but of the system we have in place. Ohio ran a fair and accurate election.”