We’ve seen this before, haven’t we? A newspaper or wire service decides to stir the pot by publicly ID’ing concealed carry license holders. They can’t do much about the advance of gun rights, something anathema to the left-leaning editorial boards of ninety percent of the legacy media. So they go with the only weapon they have left. They figure, ‘let’s make it uncomfortable to exercise second amendment rights. We’ll ‘shame’ them by letting everyone know they’re crazy gun-nuts.’ And they do it all under the cloak of the public’s right to know…
In a Sunday front page piece, the Hamilton (Ohio) JournalNews printed the names and photos – mug shot style – of 12 local politicians and officials who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon. It’s the print version of a criminal frog march.
In Ohio, the public is prohibited from viewing concealed-carry permit records unless the information is gathered by a journalist, but even the basis of that access is limited.
The JournalNews had to provide a signed request for the sheriff’s approval detailing what information would be accessed and for what purpose. Due to provisions in the law, the names of public officials holding a permit could not be recorded or copied in any way, but rather the database had to be viewed in person and the information gathered committed to memory for this report.
Thank God the intrepid Jessica Heffner is on the job for the good people of southwestern Ohio. Doing the heavy lifting and memorization so they don’t have to. What a gal. I bet the other ink-stained wretches around the newsroom call her ‘scoop.’
So let me get this straight. The Ohio legislature prevents the public from viewing the records, but gives a special pass to, ahem, journalists. Which has only resulted, in this case, in the public viewing a portion of the list. Just wanted to make sure I understood.
Printing the names and photos of licensed carriers this way puts them on a par with convicted sex offenders or wifebeaters. Which is pretty much how most newspaper reporters and editors view anyone crazy enough to own – let alone carry – a gun. Nevermind the fact that by definition, license holders have clean records and are, on the whole, about the most law-abiding cohort in any group of citizens you can choose short of nuns and infants.
On the plus side, the article does highlight the clear double standard whereby some politicians want the right to carry in public meetings, many of which are designated off limits to concealed weapons. They want to be like you and me, only better. Or safer.
But the JournalNews could have made the point just as easily without publicly identifying the specific individuals. Of the half dozen politicians they quote in the story, one gets it right:
George Lang, a trustee in West Chester Twp., agreed but said he thinks anyone should be allowed to carry into any situation they want so long as they have a permit.
“Our lives are no more precious than a non-elected person and anyone who wants to protect themselves should be able to carry into public buildings,” Lang said.
The fine folks at the JouralNews are likely quite proud of themselves. They’re probably taking turns patting each other on the back for doing a public service. It’s not really necessary to list all the reasons printing the names of concealed carry license holders is a bad, even dangerous idea. Not here anyway. In the mean time, we’re likely to see more of the same foot stamping and breath holding by the dead tree media as gun rights continue their advance.
[h/t Lance Wray]