Plain Dealer editorial repeats lies about Ohio's firearms law reform bill

The mainstream media's blind commitment to opposing any gun rights legislation is giving a whole new meaning to the word BLIND.

On Friday September 16, the Associated Press botched a story it published after we broke the news that Rep. Aslanides' would soon be introducing a sweeping firearms law reform bill by reporting that "the media would lose access to lists of concealed-weapons permit-holders and could only check with sheriffs for specific names under a bill to be introduced in the Ohio House next week."

As we revealed in our coverage of the AP story, the reasons for the errors can perhaps be better understood by noting that Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine says it was clear from his interview with AP writer John McCarty that he had not read the legislation. And unfortunately for McCarthy and wire service subscribers who published the story he prepared, the resulting factual errors begin not in the first paragraph, but in the headline itself.

Since that first erroneous story, which was republished dozens of times in wire service reports throughout the state, no less than four Ohio newspapers have published editorials repeating the same false accounts about what the legislation would do, even after the AP published a story clarifying what is in the bill.

The latest offender is the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which has published an editorial claiming that legislation "offered by Rep. Jim Aslanides of Coshocton would end journalists' access to the list of people granted a concealed-weapons permits [sic]", and repeating the lie a second time by saying that "lawmakers are seeking to close off public access completely."

This is absolutely false!

As can be easily determined by anyone who bothers to read this portion of House Bill 347, the bill would simply make Ohio law mirror a federal statute with regard to drivers’ licenses, by allowing people to opt out of the public records provision if they swear under threat of perjury that they have reasonable cause to believe having their information made public could endanger them or a member of their family.

In our opinion, this is an excellent compromise. The media’s (and thus public’s) ability to access to license-holders’ information is kept intact, while persons who are desperate to keep their whereabouts a secret from stalkers or abusive ex-spouses, for example, can opt to protect themselves.

The anti-gun publishers at the Cleveland Plain Dealer and all other Ohio newspapers have a responsibility to readers to read the proposed legislation before editorializing on something they clearly are not familiar with.

If they really knew what was in this bill, would the Plain Dealer still be 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?

Based on their radical (anti-gun) allegiance to the idea that the public deserves to know this private information, we are guessing that, to their shame, they would.

But as Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair Ken Hanson pointed out recently, the news media's public “accountability” argument is a red herring. Said Hanson, "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. It is the people, not the unelected media, that determine what is best for society."

Related Story:
Public accountability needed...over the rabid anti-gun media

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