Ohio gun grabber recycles push to ban classified ad gun sales
The Associated Press is reporting that Toby Hoover, who often appears to be a one-woman show at the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, is asking Ohio newspapers to drop classified ads from private gun sellers.
From the story:
- The Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence has written letters to Ohio's approximately 80 daily newspapers and followed up with calls to many of them. At least six newspapers ban classified ads sold by unlicensed dealers or have other restrictions, and about 10 are considering such bans, said Toby Hoover, coalition director.
A supporter of gun rights questions why dealers are being singled out when newspapers publish ads for other businesses where illegal activity could flourish. He also wondered how effective the effort would be. Few gun classifieds appear in newspapers, according to Frank Deaner, director of the Ohio Newspaper Association.
"What's next?" asked Chad Baus, spokesman for Ohioans for Concealed Carry. "Shall we ban the printing press or color printers because some use them to counterfeit currency, or the typewriter because the Unabomber used it to write his letters?"
The campaign against the ads was started by Iowans for the Prevention of Gun Violence after a felon under a restraining order bought a gun in 2003 through a classified ad in the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune. He shot and killed his estranged wife the same day, police said. They said the man would have failed a federal background check to purchase a gun.
Actually, as writer John McCarthy was informed during his preparations for this story, and as campaign advocates report on their website, this effort can be traced back at least to 2001. And in all that time, only 22 newspapers have signed on to the effort, an average of about 4 per year. For gun grabbers to claim victory at getting a handful of newspapers each year to adopt an anti-gun policy is like Toby Hoover claiming she is a good saleswoman because she sold a Buckeye t-shirt in the Horseshoe.
Again, from the story:
- Kevin Cooper, publisher of The Ironton Tribune, said a letter from the Ohio Coalition played a part in the newspaper's decision to stop accepting classifieds for firearms a few months ago.
"We didn't receive a lot of them (ads) but didn't want it on our conscience if one is used in a crime," Cooper said.
The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Cincinnati Post stopped accepting ads from unlicensed dealers around the beginning of the year, said Mary Lark, classified telesales center manager. The newspapers had published few classifieds for guns.
Lark said a couple of callers objected to the policy, but the criticism quickly died down. A bigger test will come with the fall hunting season, when gun sales usually increase, she said.
The Columbus Dispatch is reviewing its policy after receiving a letter from gun-control advocates, said Michael F. Curtin, vice chairman and associate publisher.
"Our standard policy over the years has been to accept ads from most legally established entities and not accept ads from entities that are not lawful," Curtin said.
To see more of the comments OFCC’s Chad Baus provided to McCarthy as he prepared for this story, click on the “Read More…” link below.
Following are excerpts from an email AP writer John McCarthy was provided as he prepared for this story:
- ----- Original Message -----
Date: Wed, 25 May 2005
From: Chad D. Baus
Subject: Thoughts on classified ad bans
To: John McCarthy
...As I said [when we spoke on the telephone], it seems a bit strange that this is just making news now. We covered it on our website in 2003 when the Sandusky Register and Willoughby News Herald banned. And we covered the news about the Cincinnati Enquirer and Post making this poor decision back in March, along with the tasteless, hypocritical move those papers made to fill the vacant ad space:
The following email was sent by an employee at the Cincy papers' ad sales department to gun stores in the area.
- ----- Original Message -----
From: "DaVault, Scott"
To: Joe Blanco [[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 4:24 PM
Subject: Information Request
As of 1/12/05 The Enquirer and Post have stopped taking gun-related ads from private parties and will only be accepting classified ads from licensed businesses. I am contacting you to inquire about any possibility that your business would be interested in filling the vacancies resulting from this loss of private party advertising. The ads being removed are located in both the For Sale and Wanted sections of the paper.
If this is of interest to you, or if you have questions or comments, please contact me.
Follow this link to read a response from TargetWorld.
I really think this hypocritical move by the Enquirer and Post is pertinent to
the story, John, and I hope you cover it.
We also provided much more information by way of several quotes on the various aspects of this issue:
- "What's next? Shall we ban the printing press or color printers because some
use them to counterfeit currency, or the type-writer because the Unabomber used
it to write his letters? Why not ban sales of used cars in the classifieds as
well, because they can be used as getaway cars, in hit-and-runs, drive-by
shootings, etc.? All sorts of products advertised in the newspaper every day
can be misused, most of which are not protected by a Constitutional amendment."
"This effort represents a continued focus by biased newspaper editors on all the
wrong people. From printing the names of innocent, law-abiding people with
concealed handgun licenses as though they are sex offenders in need of being
kept under watch, to banning ads for transactions that are 100% legal under
local, state and Federal law, these news editors are proving just how out of
step with the American people they are. When there exists this type of
discrimination and bias at America's newspapers, can there be any question as
to why subscription rates are dropping, and why more and more people every day
get their news from other sources, such as the Internet?"
"The decision-makers at these newspapers are completely naive to think their
actions will have the least bit of effect on criminals using firearms to commit
crimes. For instance, just a few months ago, a Springfield, IL Million Mom
March chapter president was arrested for having an illegal gun and drugs in her
home. There is no indication she used the classifieds to make her illegal
"Toby Hoover's support for this effort is confusing, since she usually can be
found screaming that has a "right to know" who has guns. What better way for
her to know, than to see who is selling them? In her mind, apparently, only
illegal sales are occurring via the classifieds. Since all of these sales are
supposedly "illegal", wouldn't she rather have them advertised in the newspaper
so the police could do their case investigations just by opening up the
newspaper rather than having to infiltrate the black market? If Toby's theory
were correct, newspapers should not only advertise these gun sales, they should
also welcome classifieds from people selling crack. It would take a heck of a
burden off of the police."
"According to the website of the backers of this effort, they're averaging about
4 newspapers per year for this effort, for a total of 22. Given our continued
successes at the ballot box, pro-self-defense advocates should have legislation
protecting lawful commerce in arms and possibly even a national concealed carry
law by the time they get to 30. I guess if it keeps them distracted, there
could be worse things."