Letter to the Editor: Should we publish lists of HIV-infected persons?

December 12, 2003
Newark Advocate

I wasn't at all surprised to read The Advocate was once again urging the governor to veto any legislation, specifically House Bill 12, authorizing the carrying of concealed, defensive firearms. The Advocate thinks it is "ridiculous" for supporters of HB12 to want to keep the names, birth dates and counties of residence private. Yet, they have no rational reason to make this information public, only irrational speculation.

HB12 already requires sheriffs to maintain a non-public database of licensees and the Attorney General's Office is required to release statistics about issuance and revocations. Opponents of HB12 are now saying it is necessary to know if their neighbors have licenses to carry. An official at the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Safety thinks employers should use this information when determining hiring and firing policies. What's next? Should medical records be released so that newspapers can publish lists of HIV-infected persons? Don't I have the "right to know" if my son's teacher has this deadly disease? Maybe people should register their religious beliefs with the state, so self-righteous bigots don't have to live next to "those" kind of people.

The actress Rebecca Shaefer was stalked and murdered by Robert John Bardo because driver's license information was easily obtained for a small fee. This prompted federal legislation making the dissemination of such information illegal. Is murder a ridiculous reason to keep private information private?

The Legislature should ignore Taft, override his potential veto and not give McCarthyists another tool to harass honest people.

Greg Kopp
Garfield Heights

Click here to read the letter in the Newark Advocate.

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