OFCC participates in roundtable on concealed carry and privacy
Ohioans For Concealed Carry's Larry S. Moore participated last evening in a roundtable discussion on the issue of concealed handgun licenses and open records. The event was sponsored by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association, and hosted by the Dayton Daily News.
Although more complete coverage of this event is slated for the Sunday issue of the Dayton Daily News, the Associated Press' first take on the roundtable comes off almost as if it was written beforehand, as it strictly follows the template for biased reporting on this issue. (The AP did published a pre-roundtable yesterday).
From the use of the poll-tested phrase "hidden guns" to the overweighting of quotes from people who fear CHL-holders, this article does not bode well to any additional coverage readers can expect from the AP...
From the story:
- The question of whether Ohioans have a right to know who among them
carry hidden guns divided law enforcement officials, journalists and private
citizens at a public discussion Thursday.
A selected panel of 17 people gathered at Sinclair Community College to
debate whether citizens' rights to get public records outweigh individuals'
The discussion focused on whether Ohio's conceal-carry law unfairly keeps
the public from finding out who is carrying hidden guns or protects the
safety of people who have received gun permits.
Terri Clary, a data processor from suburban Miamisburg, said she wants to
know who has guns so she can protect herself and her family.
"If I knew someone was carrying a gun, I might not let my child ride in a
car with them," Clary said.
Larry Moore, coordinator for Ohioans for Concealed Carry, said publishing
the names of law-abiding permitholders doesn't make anyone safer. And Dayton
police Chief Julian Davis said police are more concerned about the people
with guns who don't have permits.
After a brief background on the how the Media Access Loophole works (and a short mention that it is being abused), the story continues:
- Panel member Jeff Bruce, editor of the Dayton Daily News, said access to the
records enables news organizations to do stories on how the law is working
and to track trends, such as whether gun-carrying permitholders live in
The discussion drew an audience of about 25 people.
Among them was Joe Hauser, 28, of suburban Centerville, who felt strongly
that the names of permit holders should be available to the public.
"I feel I have every right to know you can instantaneously shoot me dead,"
It is important to note here that the audience was invitation-only. The AP and DDN themselves created the environment for this meeting, just like the AP (and the DDN by publishing the story) is now creating the picture of what it was like to be there. But that picture is wrong.
Click on the "Read More..." link below to read Larry Moore's own analysis of the roundtable, and see if you find yourself wondering if AP reporter James Hannah, who wrote the above story, was at the same event.
Well, I found out tonight that I am guilty of stereotyping the media. The event was not the "stacked deck" I feared. Of course, in my defense, I think we have all seen plenty of biased and set-up reporting around the entire gun and concealed carry issue. The DDN personnel there seemed to want to hear what the citizens thought. If they were listening, then they got an ear full.
By far the majority of the people on the panel and in the audience say the records are private. The law enforcement on the panel was on our side also. Basically it shook out the same way we have seen polls in the past. Only a minority claimed open records are needed.
Everyone agreed that Gov. Taft's compromise was the worst possible option. Rep. Brinkman explained how that happened, and why he voted against the bill.
The DDN editor Jeff Bruce, WHIO news editor Julie Weindel, the lady from the women's domestic violence center, and one another lady (I believe it was Laura Rench, a community open government activist from Jefferson Twp.) pretty much were the panelists who wanted the records public.
Rep. Brinkman was a valuable asset. He was focused, on subject, and articulate. He added credibility to what the other pro-ccw panelists were saying. He answered the Dayton Police Superintendent's questions about how we got this law the way it is. Rep. Brinkman and I had eye contact several times throughout the evening and were certainly on the same wavelength regarding the discussion. He made a strong positive case for it. Rep. Brinkman brought up the Shelby County situation with O'Leary and then Nasal. Rep. Brinkman brought up the Cleveland businessman (Singleton) that was murdered during a robbery one week after the Cleveland Plain Dealer printed the list.
The law enforcement officers there were Dayton Police Department Superintendent Julian Davis and Major Bush from Montgomery County Sheriff's Dept. The Dayton PD supports concealed carry. Both of these law enforcement officers made very solid statements that "the CHL-holder is not the problem". When questioned from the audience about vehicle stops, both said, "we are trained to approach every vehicle a certain way." They restated that the CHL-holder is not the problem plus it shows up on their info based on license registration. I added clarification that the CHL-holder must inform the officer that they are carrying and that my practice is always to tell the officer I am a CHL-holder whether carrying or not. I was very surprised at the Dayton PD statements and very pleased. I pretty much knew where Major Bush was on the issue because I know him plus the sheriffs have always been better supporters.
WHIO News Director did state, "We all know violent crime is rising and accident gun deaths are rising". I was able to point out that neither of those are factually correct. I gave a couple of numbers from an NRA Fact Sheet and referenced the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, along with a comment that more kids drown in swimming pools than die from accidental gun deaths.
Jeff Pedro, the owner from Sim-Trainer, was on the panel. He is also a police officer. He was very good. Big guy, but soft spoken, and knew his information. Made several good key points. Likewise for the gentleman from the Vandalia Tactical, Bill Jarrett. Also one of the community activists who was on the panel is an OFCC member and a CHL-holder (can't recall his name at the moment). He noted that he lives in the one of the neighborhoods in Dayton that is being "restored" but that he would not consider his morning or evening walk without being armed.
When asked how the newspaper could have done a better story on the Sunday articles, I noted about Toby being identified as a crime victim, but not OFCC's Chad Baus. I also noted the states displayed in the graph could have been more balanced. Plus the first and last paragraphs lead the reader to the conclusions that the writer wanted. Jana Collier, Asst. Managing Editor who coordinated the event, approached me later. I told her that Baus' personal story was no surprise to writer Laura Bischoff.
When asked about how has the media coverage of the concealed carry issue and what to do differently, I brought up the "blood in the streets", "shootouts at every intersection", and "Dodge City" type of reporting that is so long on hype and short on any facts. That got an immediate body language response from both the WHIO and WDTN news editors.
Patti Schwarztrauber, executive director of Artemis Center (a domestic violence shelter) did not listen when I explain the background checks, misdemeanor domestic violence is a disqualifier, etc. She went on to say they would never ever counsel any woman to get a firearm, especially in a domestic violence situation. I was unable to get recognized to present the fact that 1 in 4 women are victims and the FBI statistics about how the chance of injuries is reduced by resisting with a firearm.
There was one gentleman in the audience, who is on the Community Board of Contributors in Dayton, who was clearly anti-gun, and came across as rather paranoid about it. He asked a couple of questions from the audience. A couple of audience members responded to it. He fears us with guns on the street. The owner of Sim-Trainer noted that in a public shooting situation, the CHL-holder on the scene offers the best hope for the unarmed citizen to survive an attack. He noted that police response time would be, at best, three to five minutes. It is the licensed and trained CHL-holder (if there is one on site) that is the only one who can stop the shooter. He was very good here.
The news media folks are hung-up on "holding government accountable" and somehow equate our private information with government information.
Gary Daniels, who was there representing the ACLU, kind of walked both sides. They noted that there are many privacy concerns with Patriot Act and numerous other issues. He also noted that the "government" could, if laws are passed, wipe out public access to any records at any time. There is no guarantee under the First Amendment for public access to records.
Bob Langham, Pistol Director Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association, was an asset to the panel. He supported and made several key points. His wife was in the audience and spoke out a couple of times.
Also in the audience was Cy Byrd, President of the Ohio Gun Collectors Association and Bob Sharp who produces a cable access channel show "We The People". Bob is also a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment. OFCC TeamLeader Tim Inwood has done a couple of shows on gun control, assault weapon ban, and CCW with Bob. I've been Bob and Tim's guest on a couple of shows.
Overall, a surprising and very rewarding evening. There truly are more people out there who support our views of CCW and privacy than the press normally admits.
DDN Asst. Managing Editor Jana Collier spent a lot of time talking with several of us (the pro-CCW contingent) after the meeting. I believe she was sincere when she thanked me for being there. I left her the complete list of Chad's and my analysis of the Sunday article. She asked for it and promised to look at it.
Larry S. Moore
OFCC Senate District 10 Coordinator