CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Former Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, a Republican who hopes to topple U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt in the OH-02 GOP primary next March, is out with a statement saying he's a big supporter of gun rights. Heimlich pledged to support a House bill intended to make all 50 states recognize each other's concealed carry laws. But he drew attention to Schmidt: The Daily Bellwether found the Clermont County congresswoman has been working to get the same measure through Congress.
"Our nation is in need of a uniform policy regarding the recognition of state concealed carry laws. The Stearns/Boucher Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Bill would help solve the problem. Introduced n the U.S. House by Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Rich Boucher (D-Va.) . . . the bill would allow any person with a valid carrying permit issued by a state to carry a concealed firearm in any state."
But Schmidt was much faster on the draw. She is one of the two Ohioans among the 77 co-sponsors of the bill. The other Ohio co-sponsor is U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Oh-01. Schmidt signed up to back the NRA-supported measure on March 15.
Schmidt holds a concealed carry permit in Ohio, as does Heimlich. So he does not trump her as a Second Amendment supporter, and at most is playing catch up. In other words, Heimlich says he publicly holds the same position as Schmidt about reciprocity among the states. And she can respond: I have been trying to get that through the House for much of this year. Indeed, Heimlich almost seems to give Schmidt a kudo in his statement supporting Stearns/Boucher.
"Those of us who support the Second Amendment understand the need for the Stearns/Boucher bill to become law. In Congress, I will fight for the rights of gun owners, and work to make our Second Amendment rights stronger through common sense legislation like Stearns/Boucher."
The full-text of Heimlich's statement is here. At most, his remarks demonstrate to 2nd Congressional District Republicans that he's a gun rights supporter. That is important in a semi-rural district where NRA support is critical, even for Democrats such as Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, whose native county, Scioto, is within OH-02.