Another news story omits CHL details, so I asked DDN writer why

By Chad D. Baus

On November 27, Dayton Daily News staff writer Steve Bennish filed a story detailing events involving a store clerk who defended himself against an armed robber.

From the story:

    Police said a man entered the Express Mart, 3999 Necco Ave., about 9 p.m. armed with a handgun. The clerk behind the counter pulled out a handgun of his own and both men discharged their weapons, Dayton police Sgt. Scott Lawson said.

    The clerk wasn't hit, but the robber was shot in his shoulder and ran.

    He turned up a little while later at the residence of an acquaintance near Kings Mill Court, a few blocks east of the mart, and called an ambulance to treat his wound.

    Police also responded to the call and quickly realized the wounded man was their suspect because he matched the description of the robber — right down to his choice of clothing.

    After treatment for the non life-threatening injury at a hospital, the suspect was taken to the Montgomery County Jail, Lawson said.

I noticed that, once again, there was no mention of whether or not either the store clerk or criminal had a concealed handgun license, despite Ohio Newspaper Association assertions about the necessity media access loophole (which allows journalists to obtain the private, personal information of Ohio CHL-holders) for just such a time as this.

The story concluded with the following:

    Contact this reporter at (937) 225-7407 or [email protected].

So I decided to write Mr. Bennish to inquire as to why. His response was refreshing, in the sense that he did respond. But did he answer my question?

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Chad D. Baus"
    To: "Bennish, Steve"
    Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006
    Subject: Re: Store clerk involved in gunfight with would-be robber

    Mr. Bennish -

    I wonder if you could tell me why there is no mention in this story of whether or not this store clerk had a concealed handgun license?

    When Ohio passed concealed carry, the Ohio Newspaper Association and DDN insisted it needed to have access to this information so that they could make sure the law was working properly. Yet in the time when it would make sense to use it, I've noticed the papers do not mention whether or not criminals or their intended victims were licensed to carry.

    At the end of car accident stories, there is usually mention of whether or not drivers were wearing seatbelts. I think it would be instructive for your readers to be told if these two individuals had CHLs.

    Sincerely,

    Chad D. Baus
    Northwest Ohio Chair
    Buckeye Firearms Association

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Bennish, Steve"
    To: "Chad D. Baus"
    Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006
    Subject: Re: Store clerk involved in gunfight with would-be robber

    Hello Chad,

    Thanks for reading the story.

    Usually, police policy is to not release the names of crime victims at the time of incidents. But your point is a good one, and I'll see what we can do about filling in those sorts of blanks when similar incidents occur. Thanks again for your readership.

    Best,

    Steve B.

I appreciate Mr. Bennish's willingness to concede the point, and while I hope that he might consider noting in future stories that the good guys obey the law, and that the bad guys never do. But through stories like these, and the lack of any follow-up once full information is available, the point has been proven, time and again, that the media never intended to use their access to the private, personal information on CHL-holders for the reasons they claimed.

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