Cleveland Plain Dealer: Privacy for Criminals over Law-Abiding Gun Owners

The Cleveland Plain Dealer took time away from their crusade to equate law-abiding gun owners with sex offenders to print a story on a law that would seal the criminal records of convicted felons.

This objective and fair article covering a law that would protect convicted criminals is in stark contrast to the attacks the Cleveland Plain Dealer often prints against law-abiding gun owners in Ohio.

From the story:

Thousands from across the state are expected to converge on the Statehouse for a morning prayer rally to support House Bill 317 -- a proposal that would seal criminal records of some repeat offenders.

The majority of these felons have lived crime-free for years but remain haunted and hampered by convictions, said the Rev. Mark C. Olds, a felon himself and president and founder of the National Restoration Movement.

Because of their felonies, ex-convicts cannot take many jobs, including working with the elderly or at nursing homes.

The Plain Dealer prints the names of concealed handgun license holders with the full knowledge that people have lost their homes and jobs when their name was printed by a newspaper yet they refuse to show the same level of compassion for people injured by their actions that they do for common criminals.

The story continues by saying that this movement has gained wide spread support from the legal and religious communities.

The trip to Columbus comes after months of public forums to inform residents of the proposed legislation. The movement has gained support from judges, pastors, lawyers and community leaders eager to help give repeat felons another chance.

Olds held a news conference a week ago on the steps of the Justice Center in Cleveland. He was joined by, among others, Cleveland Municipal Judge Joan Synenberg, who supports the legislation.

HB 317 was conceived by Olds, sponsored by State Rep. Shirley Smith, a Cleveland Democrat, and co-sponsored by several legislators.

While this may be a noble effort in a fight to protect the privacy of deserving people, we cannot help but ask a few questions on behalf of law-abiding gun owners.

Why is it that all of these public officials are so concerned with the privacy of convicted felons yet at the same time sit idly by while reading the names and other information of thousands of law-abiding CHL-holders in the Plain Dealer?

Why aren't these officials asking the Plain Dealer's editors and specifically Doug Clifton about his blatant abuse of the the Media Access Loophole by publishing the private information of law-abiding concealed handgun license-holders?

Why is it that convicted criminals (some with multiple convictions) are being put ahead of the law-abiding in our society who have undergone extensive training and background checks when it comes to privacy?

The story goes on to outline the current requirements for having records sealed and what the advocates of this bill hope to accomplish. The conclusion of the story brings us to a few more questions.

Olds, clergy, judges and others have been meeting for weeks with thousands of people to tell them about the proposal and the rally in Columbus.

"We heard stories of heartache, about how lives and opportunities can be cut short based on a record of conviction," said Synenberg, who is spreading the word along with Cleveland Municipal Judge Larry Jones and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose.

What about the lives and opportunities cut short based on the publishing of law-abiding CHL-holder information?

What would one CHL-holder be doing today had his name not been published in the Plain Dealer less than a week before he was gunned down?

When will people like these public officials stand up for their law-abiding constituents and give them the same courtesy as they are so diligently fighting to provide to convicted criminals?

Related Stories:

Plain Dealer writes on fatal crimes of convenience

Activist aims to scare officials into protecting personal data

AGAIN: Associated Press awards Cleveland Plain Dealer for anti-CCW reporting

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