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Taxing away your civil rights

On February 3, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified to prevent any level of government from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". Several states, not wanting to extend the right to vote to recently freed slaves and newly arrived immigrants, instituted a poll tax designed to serve as a financial roadblock to the right to vote. Finally, on January 23, 1964, the Twenty-fourth Amendment was passed prohibiting using a poll tax as a condition upon voting.

Fast forward less than fifty years and similar tactics are still being used to try to prevent citizens from exercising unwelcome rights.

This past weekend, the Ohio statewide rally for the upcoming Second Amendment March was held at the Ohio Statehouse. As the Ohio coordinator, I applied for an obtained an inexpensive permit to hold the rally on the West Plaza of the Statehouse. Had it just remained at that I would have had no issue with it. However, the permit which had been issued in July was suddenly in jeopardy two weeks prior to the event when I received a call from Statehouse security informing me that guns had been banned on Statehouse grounds, contrary to State law. Attempts were made to obtain an exemption from those rules so that attendees could exercise their Right to Keep and Bear Arms at the same time they exercised their Right to Peaceably Assemble.

The Capitol Square Review & Advisory Board offered to approve an exemption if several conditions were met, including hiring ten security officers at a cost of $2,000 and obtaining a half-million dollar insurance policy reputed to cost $1,200. The offer was made to waive these requirements if we would simply ban guns from the rally, clearly an attempt to deny a right by threatening a financial penalty. Eventually, negotiations lead to the amount out of pocket being reduced to $1,000 for security and nearly that same amount in legal fees to get that agreement. You can read the full story here.

Now, the City of Campbell, Ohio is attempting a similar ploy to stop a planned rally against that City.

Campbell has been under fire for weeks now after passing an ordinance banning the sale of firearms or firearm components within City limits. This ordinance was passed after a resident applied for a rezoning in order to open a small gun repair shop.

Ohioans For Concealed Carry has been working all along to try to get the City to repeal the ordinance, which is in violation of statewide preemption of gun laws, but has had little success. To protest this issue and other alleged shady dealings by City officials, a local tea party planned to hold a rally in Campbell. Campbell issued a free permit to hold the rally, but is allegedly following the Statehouse's lead by demanding that four police officers be hired by the organizers of the rally at an estimated cost of $2,000. The intent seems to be to deny the Right to Peaceably Assemble to the college students behind the rally who are unable to afford such an expense.

While the saying "freedom isn't free" has been in circulation for years it is supposed to refer to the fact that citizens need to participate in government and exercise their rights through civil service and be willing to pledge their fortunes to protect those rights if necessary. It is not supposed to mean that you need to pay the government fees and taxes in order to be allowed to exercise those rights. You should not have to pay to exercise a right.

Last time it took nearly one hundred years and a Constitutional amendment to put an end to such a corrupt practice. What will it take this time?

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  • Stuart 5 years ago

    I was at the Columbus State House 2nd Amendment rally on Saturday legally armed as usual. I found the crowd there of 350 plus Ohio folks with their firearms to be most friendly, polite, and respectful of me, the police, and the speakers. It was a wonderful day to carry the flag and I am saddened to think it almost did not happen. Thank you Daniel and the others who worked so hard to create that opportunity to gather in Columbus. Nice day. See everyone in DC!

  • Otter 5 years ago

    The Ohio Constitution, in 1.03, states "The people have the right to assemble together, in a peaceable manner, to consult for their common good; to instruct their representatives; and to petition the general assembly for the redress of grievances." No where does it say that the people have to pay for police protection. This is a violation of the people's civil rights. The City and it's Mayor and Council members, need to be sued in State Court for this direct violation of the State's Constitution. I say screw the City and hold the gathering. If arrested, then sue the police department for false arrest and the City and it's leaders for violation of civil rights. I'm sure the ACLU would jump on this.

  • gxb 5 years ago

    You gotta know this is coming from the socialists...

    In the "holy name" of reducing health care costs, all gun owners must buy an insurance policy on each gun they own. This policy can ONLY be bought from the government, and would be several thousands of dollars for each gun.

    They can't confiscate our firearms directly, so they'll go 'round the back way and make them unaffordable.

    It's the Chicago way..

  • Becky, Clev. Family Examiner 5 years ago

    I just read the full story of your "ordeal" in dealing with the states' permit rules. I had no idea that our State's leaders were that out of touch with reality. Right to assemble - Right to bear arms - These are BASIC freedoms that Americans have! They are plain, simple, and pure. To try to take these away from the people is shocking!

  • Lori 5 years ago


    It is people like you who are a helping others without most of them even realizing it! Organizing and fighting for the BASIC right to have this rally and being able to write about it as well is something, sad to say, we Americans NEED most right now in our country.


  • Flavet 5 years ago

    I'm a true geezer (1928) and a product of the Deep South; oh, and my skin is extremely pale especially now that I've left the Florida sunshine behind. For years now, I've likened any price laid by the state on the exercise of constitutional rights not dissimilarly to the detestable poll taxes levied to assure that "my" class would exercise control of the government into eternity. I think Daniel's piece here is just about the first I've seen equating the two situations.

    What a privilege we latter-day gun owners have to experience the degradation that must have been felt by our "colored" brethren in the Good Old Days. Our time will come, just as theirs has.

  • mickey 5 years ago

    If the demand was illegal, why not pay up, thus gaining standing to sue for a refund?

  • straightarrow 5 years ago

    since the restrictions were illegal, why not simply ignore them? Then refuse, as a body, to submit to illegal arrest. Let them open the dance, then step on their feet.

  • straightarrow 5 years ago

    Yeah, yeah, I know! We are trying to prove we are peaceful. that is wrongheaded. They need to know we are only peaceful when not trespassed.

    In my life I have been threatened many times. Early on, I tried reason. Had to fight every damned time. Later, my response was "Bring it on, I have no reason to not hurt you if you do." Only one time did I have to fight after adopting that stance. We gain nothing by cooperating or signalling our peaceful intentions to those who would violate our peace to rule us. They need to fear we mean it, when we say "NO!"

  • jaime 5 years ago

    This is really really good reporting. I had no idea that this was happening, mostly because I don't live in your state. It is vital that these various struggles reach a WIDE audience. Thank you for this...I will pass the info widely.

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