Writer Acknowledges Inaccurate Reporting on Gun Law

Editor's Note: This report is a follow-up to an article posted at on September 9, in which we attempted to make sense of an article by Jeff Piorkowski.

by Jesse Hathaway

A correction to an inaccurate story about House Bill 203 (HB 203) is forthcoming, after communications between Media Trackers, Northeast Ohio Media Group reporter Jeff Piorkowski, and South Euclid City Council President David Miller.

On September 6, Jeff Piorkowski wrote that Miller was sponsoring a non-binding resolution to voice the city's disapproval of HB 203, which would expand Ohioans' legal right to self-defense with a firearm and make a number of other revisions to state gun law.

Piorkowski wrote, "Miller is also against another portion of the bill that would allow concealed gun permit holders into bars provided they do not consume alcohol."

Concealed handgun license holders are already permitted to enter bars and a number of other place formerly forbidden due to Senate Bill 17, which was passed in 2011 over the objections of anti-gun activists including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).

Nonetheless, much of the story about the South Euclid resolution against HB 203 centered on the topic of concealed handguns in bars – which HB 203 does not address.

Piorkowski's article was noted by the Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA), a pro-Second Amendment group, which criticized Miller for his confusion based on Piorkowski's inaccurate reporting.

"The Cleveland Plain Dealer's is reporting that South Euclid, Ohio Council President David Miller has sponsored a council resolution opposing a portion of House Bill 203 involving proposed modifications to Ohio's self-defense law, as well as another modification to Ohio law that he believes is currently being proposed, but in fact became law nearly two years ago," BFA Vice Chairman Chad D. Baus wrote on September 9.

In a September 10 interview with Media Trackers, Miller said Piorkowski did not quote him accurately.

"The resolution was not about guns in bars," Miller said. "I didn't write it, the resolution was about stand-your-ground. It had nothing to do with bars."

"In the conversation, we talked about—yes, I said 'guns and liquor don't mix,' which they don't," Miller continued.

Media Trackers contacted Piorkowski, who agreed that his September 6 story was inaccurate. Piorkowski said Miller brought up the issue of firearms being carried in bars serving alcohol, leading to a muddled story about the reporter's interview with Miller.

"He just brought it up, so yes, I thought that was part of it. And then, when I saw your e-mail, I recalled—yes—they did discuss that a couple of years ago," said Piorkowski, who worked for Cleveland-area Sun News for 26 years before this year's launch of Northeast Ohio Media Group by Advance Digital, owner of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"He just started talking about that, so yes, I put it as that they were together as one," Piorkowski added.

"I hate to say this, like I'm making excuses right now, but I've just been given a new territory with 10 different entities," Piorkowski explained. "I'm under so much pressure. In fact, right now—when you called me — I'm on like my fifteenth hour working here, because I have to finish a story in a few minutes here."

"I thank you for letting me know about this," Piorkowksi said, noting that he planned to contact Miller and work out a correction to the story.

Miller also thanked Media Trackers for working to correct the record, adding that he appreciated the "perspective and willingness to see the broader picture and potential effects of some of legislation coming out of Columbus."

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