Two OH newsies buck media trend, call for close of Media Access Loophole

Lima News columnist Ronald Lederman Jr. and Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Peter Bronson aren’t likely to be very popular around their offices these days.

That’s because both men have written columns condemning abuse of the Media Access Loophole, which allows anti-gun-rights journalists to obtain the name, age, and county of residence of concealed handgun license-holders.

Click on the titles to read the complete columns.

Time to close a public record - by Ronald Lederman Jr., Lima News

Lawmakers again are looking at Ohioans who carry concealed weapons. Legislators want either to restrict who can access the now-public lists of permit holders or close access to them altogether.

Closing the lists altogether makes sense. It’s not a popular opinion among newspaper people (the Ohio Newspaper Association, which this paper belongs to, opposes shutting off the lists).

Certainly, keeping public records open is important in a free society, but owning and carrying a gun isn’t sufficient reason to have your name and address kept on file for anyone to access.

Defining rights and privileges is important to this debate. You shouldn’t have to license yourself in order to exercise a freedom. It’s another thing if you look to take advantage of a privilege such as driving.

For example, as the "public" owns the airwaves, we have government regulators who monitor what is aired on television and radio. There’s no government restriction on what we can print in the newspaper, although the threats to call the FCC do amuse us. There is the threat of libel, but while we can be sued, there’s no license for government to yank.

This is also why the government isn’t supposed to place limits on what people say or how they worship.

Fixing Ohio's conceal carry law will require lawmakers to remember they are trying to license a right, not a privilege.

Keep concealed-carry list secret - by Peter Bronson, Cincinnati Enquirer

My neighborhood is a liberal's nightmare. Four out of five driveways have gas-gulping SUVs. Kerry-Edwards yard signs were harder to find than a lawn without mole tracks. And according to the Ohio attorney general, I live in Colt County - the state capital of concealed carry. Some people think that's scary. Not me. I look at Clermont County leading the state with 2,285 concealed-carry permits - and I sleep peacefully.

That's because guns discourage crime even better than traps discourage moles. This should be obvious to anyone who has ever noticed a holster on a cop's belt. But apparently, it's big news to lots of folks in Ohio.
Before Ohio's concealed-carry law took effect a year ago, liberals made panicked predictions that we'd have Dodge City shootouts in the plumbing aisle at Home Depot.

Instead, 45,500 licenses have been issued without a single gunfight at the OK Corral. About one-fourth of 1 percent of permits were suspended or revoked. If drivers' licenses were as safe, we could drive with our eyes closed.

National studies show that murder rates drop about 2 percent in states with concealed carry. If meth junkies don't know where Smith & Wesson live, the theory goes, they think twice.

Unless newspapers publish the permit records.

According to Ohioans for Concealed Carry, that's happened several times. The Ohio Newspaper Association lobbied for public access to permit records, promising to treat them with care to make sure permits were not handed out to the wrong people.

But now it looks like permit records were handed out to the wrong people.

Ohioans for Concealed Carry reported: "The Sidney Daily News in Shelby County made headlines last June by not only publishing the names of 87 applicants who applied in the opening weeks of the new law, but also published their home addresses, an act prohibited by law and punishable as a felony."

That's like publishing a shopping list for felons.

OFCC has evidence that many news organizations have obtained these "shopping lists for felons". Some have published them, and at least one is holding them hostage against legislative attempts to close the loophole.

Following is Ashland Times-Gazette Editor Ted Daniels' response to one letter-writer who complained about his threat to publish the names of license-holders if the legislature doesn't bend to his will.

Editor Ted's response

The following was submitted by an OFCC reader as an exchange between himself and Ted Daniels, editor of the Ashland Times-Gazette. Daniels recently announced that he was holding the names of Ashland County CHL-holders hostage, and would publish them if legislators respond to constituents asking them to close the Media Access Loophole.

From: Mike
To: Ted Daniels, Ashland Times Gazette

Why not list the names of all the ex-convicts instead? Oh gee, wouldn't want to violate someone's rights. Why not list everyone who has warrants out for them? Another rag going anti-gun…

The Gazette reader says Daniels responded as follows:

From: Ted Daniels Subject: Re: Another rag we do...thanks for writing. Ted DanielsTed Daniels
Editor and General Manager
Ashland Times-Gazette
40 E. Second St.
Ashland, OH 44805
419-281-0581, ext. 211
419-281-5591 (fax)
[email protected]

If the Times-Gazette provides lists of ex-convicts and persons with out-standing warrants, it's news to another Gazette reader.

OFCC supporter Jim Ellison said "as a reader for the last 30-plus years, I do not ever recall seeing a 'list' of convicted felons/sex-offenders/ drunk-drivers being published just for viewing by the general public."

They have ran articles on individuals trials/appeals, etc, if the person is a felon", Ellison continued, "but no more than any other paper I have read. Nor have I ever seen an article listing those who have outstanding warrants.


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