Letter to the Editor: No such thing as 'Right to Know'

Sensing that House Bill 12 conference committee members were closing in on a compromise that would put a bill on his desk in November, Governor Taft employed his allies in the liberal media to inject a new issue into the debate, one that he had not seen fit to raise as a concern at any point during his five years in office.

Several of Ohio's most liberal editorial boards jumped at the chance to help, printing editorials on the subject as a lead-in to Taft's announcement that he had again raised the bar for what a concealed carry bill would have to contain to avoid his veto.

Since Taft's announcement, other editorial boards have joined the chorus. And letter-writers have begun to respond.

November 29, 2003
Newark Advocate

The public does not have the right to know who has a concealed carry permit. Carrying a firearm for the defense of one's self and one's loved ones is a very personal decision and should not open them to ridicule, harassment and the targeting of criminals.

Releasing the names of permit holders counteracts the whole idea behind the purpose of concealed carry. No one needs to know that someone may be legally carrying a concealed firearm, not their family, their friends, their co-workers, their boss or their neighbors. Why? A criminal always falls into one of the aforementioned categories and criminals are especially the ones that you do not want to know.

The media will still be able to get the statistics on permit holders without having to know the personal information. You will still be able to know how many permits were issued in the county, how many were denied and how many were revoked.

If a permit holder commits a crime with a firearm, that information will be in the police report, which is already public information.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan, a sister publication to The Advocate because both are owned by Gannett, published the list of all concealed carry permit holders in Larimer County, Colorado. Is this what The Advocate wants to do? Open the law-abiding citizens of Licking County to potential burglary and theft of their firearms, to the potential harassment by gun control proponents, to the targeting of the rest of the county that does not carry a concealed firearm?

Emery Ellis

Click here to read the story in the Newark Advocate.

Several Gannett-owned newspapers in Ohio have joined the liberal media chorus by reprinting an editorial praising Bob Taft for his latest opposition to House Bill 12.

The Cleveland Plain dealer has published no less than three editorials on the subject, the latest on Sunday, November 30, as 'Defense' Walkers descended on the Governor's Mansion (the Plain Dealer has NOT covered that news, by the way).

OFCC's Greg Kopp had this to say after reading the Plain Dealer's latest diatribe:

"The Plain Dealer 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.

Toby Hoover of the "Ohio Coalition Against Gun Safety" (as her organization was aptly described recently in the Dayton Daily News) 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 the self-righteous like Hoover don’t have to live next to "those" kind of

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. Why is this any different? The legislature should ignore Taft, override his potential veto and not give McCarthyists like Toby Hoover another tool to harass honest people."

Hoover's comments about what she would hope to do with the information are revealing. Three letters to the editor from other anti-gun extremists are just as telling:

Gun lobby's illogic barely concealed
The "illogic" this letter-writer quotes concerning the potential for criminals to target unarmed households was actually a misquote of OFCC President Jeff Garvas in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Garvas called them on their error, and the writer was forced to print this correction.

Time to put CCW out to pasture
The writer, who claims opposition to Taft's new public records demand springs from wishes to hide information on "whether permits are granted to prohibited individuals or whether permit holders break the law", has obviously not read Sec. 109.731. (D) of House Bill 12, which would require this exact information to be provided to the public on a yearly basis.

'Concealed carry' just for law-abiding?
Bob Taft may be reduced to begging his next door neighbors to write letters in his defense. This Bexley letter writer quotes the Violence Policy Center to support a notion that many concealed carry permit holders in Texas are criminals. The State of Texas Dept. of Public Safety has discounted this VPC propaganda. 0.4% of carry permits issued (1,005 of 227,457) from 1/1/96 through 2/3/00 have been revoked for any reason.

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