Public accountability needed...over the rabid anti-gun media

The Willoughby News-Herald, a newspaper which has exhibited its bigotry against law-abiding gun owners in the past by banning classified advertisements of firearms, has published an editorial opposing a portion of HB347 that would allow battered women, stalker victims, and others who have reason to fear for their lives a way out of having their names and counties of residence published in the newspaper as concealed handgun license-holders.

From the editorial:

    Why should concealed gun permit holders fear the bad guys at all? If they have a gun, it decreases the likelihood a crime will be committed. This was the primary argument proponents used to garner the votes to pass this law in 2003.

    Aslanides, or one of the bill's 46 co-sponsors, should produce a concealed gun permit holder who has been targeted for crime after a list of gun permit holders was published in a newspaper. The News-Herald hasn't published such lists, but access to them helps ensure that all facets of the law are complied with.

    So these gun advocates don't fear criminals. Rather, they fear public accountability. But without it, Ohio wouldn't have a concealed gun law because Taft wouldn't sign it without media access to the lists.

    For a group that loves the right to bear arms, inexplicably these state lawmakers and law-abiding citizens require a civics lesson.
    The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants a right to bear arms. But the freedom of religion, speech, the press and to petition the government, remain rights protected by the First Amendment.

    These individuals organized and used the democratic process to create a desired change. But now they want no one to hold them accountable.

    The law requires county sheriffs to maintain the list of concealed gun permit holders in their county. Sheriffs are public employees and they understand the media can obtain the list of permit holders they keep.

    If concealed gun permit holders can't deal with this scrutiny, they should turn in their weapons.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for commentary from Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair Ken Hanson.

By Ken Hanson, Esq.

I am curious as to why the News-Herald is taking the position that allowing a battered woman the chance to prevent the release of her personally identifying information to the media is a bad thing? Or a family who has moved 3 times in 5 years in fear of a stalker? Or any other person who has fear of criminal profiling?

The News-Herald speaks of public accountability. Please list for your readers each and every instance in the last year where you have ended a crime story with “and the crack-head did not have a license to carry a concealed handgun.” You end traffic stories with whether or not they were wearing a seatbelt or a helmet before the crash, why don’t you report to your readers the same information about handgun crimes? Just what sort of accountability are you talking about, if you do not even take this most logical step in your reporting?

We have not seen the lists used for anything other than harassment and intimidation as paper after paper publishes the lists of license holders. What news value does this serve? Where was the News-Herald and their demand for accountability when one of their brother papers violated the law by publishing the home addresses of license holders, that act being a felony in Ohio?

No, “accountability” is a red herring. This is really about the news media of Ohio anointing themselves the sole judges of what is good for public records in Ohio, and they cannot stand the fact that people disagree with them. The Ohio Supreme Court has just ruled that news media cannot obtain the home addresses of public employees, and allowing people with cause to fear attack on themselves to remain in hiding is just another logical step in making our public records laws reflect what was intended by the people.

It is the people, not the unelected media, that determine what is best for society.

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