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Journalists Up In Arms As Ohio Senate Tries To Shield Concealed Carrier Identities

TOLEDO, OHIO — Journalists watch scornfully as Sen. Joe Uecker brings a near identical copy of his 2013 bill to the floor.  This bill would bar them from looking up the names of those with concealed carry permits.  This makes many journalists very unhappy.  In 2013, a similar bill got shot down in the Senate but this time around it appears to be picking up more momentum.  If it passes the Senate and eventually makes it to the Governor, it would mean concealed carriers in the State of Ohio will once again be given the privacy they so rightfully deserve.

Why is it permissible to look up the personal details of a concealed carrier as you would a sex offender or felon?  Concealed carriers are law abiding citizens, whom in the State of Ohio must pass a background check and undergo training.  Why are they being scrutinized?

This is precisely the question Sen. Uecker and others of the Ohio Senate and House are asking their colleagues.

At present, the county sheriffs are the issuing authority for concealed carry permits in Ohio.  They compile and maintain a database of all those whom have been issued a concealed carry permit.

Poof!  There Goes Confidentiality!

According to the Ohio News, their history reflects a sudden change in the political climate.  Then-Gov. Bob Taft threatened legislature with veto action if they would not pass a bill allowing journalists access to these databases.  Why on earth would former Gov. Taft do such a thing?

It wasn’t long after that, Senators and Representatives have tried to get that information placed back into confidentiality.  This is, of course, after the Sandusky Register – a newspaper in Ohio – published a complete list of concealed carriers in 2007.  And what a débâcle it was!  Not only were the lists found to be factually incorrect, there were incorrect addresses and the level of details given – age, full name, county, etc.

Strange Rules To Viewing Ohio Concealed Carry Registry

Let’s make this just one more step to the crazy side of the fence!  Journalists aren’t ALLOWED to copy or photograph the records.  Journalists must memorize all the information and then promptly regurgitate it once they’re outside of the records.  So, Ohio FIGHTS to let journalists reveal the identities of law-abiding citizens but insists that the information should be as prone to error as humanly possible?  WHY?!

Well, one of their rationales appears to be to limit journalists to researching the names of people involved in their stories – to see if they could legally possess a concealed carry firearm or not.

At present, the Sandusky Register just publishes the raw numbers of concealed carriers in the State of Ohio.  Each year, they write a rather droll type-up including the words “concealed carry numbers go up” – because they always are – and then how many thousands per county have them.  It’s a strange article.

Journalists balk at this measure because they believe it would limit their ability to do their job.  At present the list serves as a resource into getting background on someone involved in a story.  But the real question is where are the limits?  How is someone determined to be a journalist?

Imagine you’re a criminal and you have plans on casing a house.  Once you know the name of the homeowners who live there, now you have a convenient way of determining whether or not they have concealed carry permits.  That’s not to say someone can’t have firearms if they don’t have a concealed carry permit – but you can bet your bottom dollar if someone has a concealed carry permit, they probably have plenty of firearms.

If Uecker’s measure makes it through, it will finally close a big remaining flaw in the Ohio concealed carry system.  Why on earth should there need to be a publicly viewable registry of concealed carry permit holders?  Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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