Criminals use Plain Dealer to pre-plan armed robbery
This wasn't supposed to happen.
Time and again, when told that publishing lists of gun owners (CHL-holders) would provide criminals lists of homes from which to steal guns, the media (led in many ways by Cleveland Plain Dealer editor Doug Clifton) responded by saying that criminals just weren't smart enough to utilize the newspaper to premeditate their crimes or select their targets.
The Akron Beacon Journal has called it a "flimsy presumption", and Gannett News Columbus Bureau Chief Jim Siegel said warnings about the dangers of publishing the list of CHL-holders "elevate these criminals to a level of sophistication they very likely do not possess..." Even Attorney General Jim Petro called such a scenario "a stretch".
On Christmas Eve, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that a man was robbed by criminals who responded to his advertisement in the newspaper.
According to the story, Kevin Lambeth ran an advertisement in The Plain Dealer and was swamped with calls. One man offered $500 if Lambeth delivered the Xbox to the East Side.
"It was more than I expected," Lambeth was quoted as saying. "I figured this was my chance to get everything my family wanted. I started feeling the Christmas spirit again."
The story continues:
- Lambeth drove across town Wednesday to the Lee-Miles neighborhood to meet the buyer and another man.
The men didn't pull out money. One pulled out a 9 mm Beretta handgun.
Lambeth gave up the Xbox.
Cleveland police officers are investigating the robbery.
Perhaps it is this last line in the Plain Dealer story that is the most damning to the media's claims:
- Lambeth knows the robbers read the paper because that's where they found the ad.
Editor Doug Clifton's newspaper has published the names of thousands of concealed handgun license-holders who have broken no laws, violated no other persons' rights, and who simply wish to exercise their constitutional right to self-defense.
Before it was passed, Ohioans For Concealed Carry gave legislators plenty of reasons why Bob Taft's media access loophole was dangerous.
Chiefly, we told them that criminals ARE smart enough to use the newspaper or other records placed in the public domain to pre-plan their crimes.
We told them about actress Rebecca Shaefer, who was stalked and murdered in the early 90's 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.
We told them that instances of criminals targeting particular locations they know to contain specific valuables (such as firearms), and staking out or casing residences to make sure no one is home, are common and well documented.
There are many other reasons why abuse of the media access loophole will NEVER become a non-issue.
Click on the "Read More..." link below.
For example, Ohio gun-ban extremist Toby Hoover is on record encouraging employers to consider whether or not a potential new-hire is a CHL-holder before hiring.
Some persons who seek to bear arms for self-defense are trying desperately not to be found - such as battered wives hiding from their former husbands.
What if the violent stalker who was shot by this Indiana woman had known in advance that she was carrying? ''God's grace'' (and concealed firearm) saves Indiana woman's life.
What if this armed criminal had known in advance this Toledo CHL-holder had just received his concealed handgun license? Clerk says he shot to save his life in robbery.
Editors at the Cleveland Plain Dealer apparently care nothing for people like this in Ohio, much less about your opinion.
Rep. James Aslanides (R-Coshocton), the concealed carry bill's original sponsor, said in conference committee and during a short floor speech last January that he would lead an effort to roll back the media access if the "privilege" is abused.
"If they abuse the privilege, we can cause them to lose the privilege," he declared, pointing out that the Pennsylvania Legislature struck a similar provision after a newspaper published a list of permit holders.
- Aslanides can be reached at:
Telephone: (614) 644-6014
Fax: (614) 644-9494
Email Address: [email protected]
Sen. Steve Austria seconded this warning, adding that publishing the names of license-holders would be the exact kind of abuse they're referring to, since publishing these names would threaten the safety of the very men and women who have chosen to bear arms for self-defense.
- Austria can be reached at:
"I don't think we need to worry about journalists doing their job," state Sen. Marc Dann, a Youngstown area Democrat, told Mr. Aslanides.
- Dann can be reached at:
Rep. Aslanides has already expressed interest in modifying the law to correct this abuse. Sens. Austria and Dann have not, as far as we are aware, provided public comment in the wake of these newspapers' actions. All three men were reelected last month.
It is time, honorable legislators - it is past time.