Mary, Mary, quite contrary, where did your intelligence go?

The following is the just latest sour grapes liberal media rant against Ohio's new concealed carry law, as published in the Dayton Daily News.

Gun law conceals its danger

By Mary McCarty
Dayton Daily News January 31, 2004

I already felt worried enough about what's going to happen come April 8, when just about anybody you meet in Ohio could be carrying a concealed weapon.

Think about it. That isn't just the guy who flips you off on the highway. It could be the Mom who drives your kid to the birthday party. The workman who comes to your home to repair your furnace. The mourner who attends your grandmother's funeral. The hot-headed co-worker in the cubicle next to yours.

If that isn't bad enough, it seems that another recently enacted law — federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA — may make it impossible to conduct thorough background checks on people applying for concealed-weapons permits in Ohio.

Ohio's new concealed-weapons law disqualifies applicants who have been committed to a mental institution. Trouble is, HIPAA regulations prohibit hospitals and mental health centers from supplying that information. "Our lawmakers passed a bill saying they were going to do something they cannot do," said Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. "If you can't prohibit those who are mentally ill from obtaining a concealed-weapons permit, then we should not be portraying to the general public that we have this safety mechanism, because we do not."

This latest snafu is ironic, to put it mildly. Gun rights' advocates are fanatical about protecting applicants' privacy. Permit application records are confidential and must be destroyed quickly. None other than John Ashcroft insisted that gun purchaser records be destroyed after one day to protect Americans' privacy.

Under the law signed by Gov. Bob Taft on Jan. 8 — a day after the legislature sent it to him — the public is not allowed to know who has obtained a permit. Not former spouses, not employers, not even government watchdogs who might ensure that dangerous people aren't getting guns. Only news media will be allowed access to that information.

Now it turns out another privacy law is creating a stumbling block to Ohio's newly minted concealed-carry law. The Ohio Attorney General's Office is still grappling with how to comply with HIPAA while also conducting mental health background checks. And if it can't be done? Will concealed-carry still come to Ohio? "The bill contains a clause if any part of the bill can't be implemented, it does not negate the whole thing," Hoover said.

Kim Norris, spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, didn't answer that question directly. "It's too early to go down that path," she said. "The legislature created this provision, and we're working to find a way to provide that database to the state's sheriff's departments."

The bill sponsor, state Rep. Jim Aslanides, R-Coshocton, has even gone so far to point out the silver lining: If mentally ill applicants do get a permit, at least they will be required to go through 12 hours of gun safety and range training.

Great, they'll be better shots.

That's typical of the through-the-looking-glass arguments put forth by concealed-carry proponents. The myth is that only law-abiding residents who have passed a thorough background check can be given a permit.

The truth is, it can't be done.

Contact Mary McCarty at
[email protected].

OFCC's Gerard Valentino submitted the following in response to Mary's emotional rant.

February 1, 2004
Is there a background check on reporters?

So you're worried about what will happen after April 8th when law abiding Ohioans are allowed to carry concealed weapons.

Well, I worry everyday when a so-called journalist uses poor logic and bad research skills as a basis for writing an article - just like you did in your January 31st rant against concealed carry.

I also worry that there is no background check or training to become a journalist, and based on the articles I read everyday, I'm willing to bet money there isn't a mental competency or IQ test.

Otherwise, you would realize that concealed carry works. It works in every state that allows citizens to defend themselves. Cases of road rage leading to shoot outs are few and far between - just because you write (or wish) that it will happen does not make it true.

If the mom that drives my child to a birthday party is armed that makes me happy. That way she will have a means to defend the children when a carjacker tries to take the mini-van. Do you prefer the mother meekly surrender the vehicle and children? Or maybe you subscribe to the "just drive away theory."

Dayton resident Tony Gordon tried driving away and he is dead. Luckily, his 13 year-old nephew survived the horrible attack.

Legalized concealed carry will reduce crime and allow Ohioans to defend themselves - but it really is a small issue compared with the power of the mass media. People like yourself have the power to use your bully pulpit in an attempt to sway public opinion - something more powerful than any handgun or rifle.

Why don't you call for the private information of journalists to be open to public scrutiny? I, for one, would like to know if the reporter covering my local city council was ever committed to a mental institution or was fired for plagiarism in the past. That is the only way everyday Ohioans can be assured our news is fairly reported.

Better yet, every reporter should have to disclose their voting record and political party affiliation for every election in which they voted. That way we can know if their articles were an attempt to sway the public to vote in a similar manner.

Sound crazy and unfair? So is equating law-abiding citizens to sex offenders by publishing their private information.

Gerard Valentino
Pickerington, OH

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