The geniuses at the ABJ are at it again:
The gun lobby seeks to avoid public accountability in Ohio
Reasonable compromises built into Ohio's law on carrying concealed weapons are under assault just 17 months after the measure went into effect. The law's sponsor, Rep. Jim Aslanides, wants to weaken provisions on media access to gun-permit records and on weapons in vehicles.
Under a recently introduced bill, the Coschocton Republican would allow permit holders to state they have ``reasonable cause'' to believe that disclosure of their names, counties of residence and birth dates would cause them or their families to suffer criminal attack. Such statements would block sheriffs from putting names on permit lists given to journalists.
The fears being voiced by gun advocates about published lists are wildly overblown. The highest densities of permit holders are in rural areas, where crime rates are lowest. Are gun advocates really admitting they would be safer without their firearms?
No, we are saying we are safer without the Plain Dealer publishing who has guns. If the media had acted responsibly, there would be no need to revisit the law.
What must be held in the balance is that full access to concealed-carry permits gives transparency to the permit process, allowing a determination of how well county sheriffs are administering the law. With such a huge loophole, the process would operate without effective public scrutiny and accountability.
The Aslanides bill would also remove a requirement that drivers keep holstered weapons and weapons cases in plain sight. Requiring guns and gun cases to be visible was necessary to overcome objections from law enforcement officials concerned about officers approaching stopped vehicles. The fear is grounded in real experience, not the imagination.
Where in the other (how many, 48 states?) have there been problems with CCW holders and police? The police have the LEADS system to tell them who carries, so where, exactly, in "real experience" are these fears based?
Additionally, the bill would seek to make state law the final word over local ordinances that offer further restrictions. Toledo, for example, has a 1996 law that prohibits guns in parks, a sensible approach. A local judge correctly ruled that Toledo was operating within its home-rule authority and was not in conflict with state law, which doesn't mention parks.
Sadly, the thought process behind concealed carry in Ohio has been illogical from the beginning, driven more by the political desires of conservative lawmakers to placate the National Rifle Association than by the need for citizens across Ohio, let alone in rural communities, to take arms against a sea of crime.
Yes, defending yourself. How illogical. Depend on the government, just like the good citizens of Washington DC and NOLA!
Bob Taft, whose veto threat as governor led to the compromises, is again standing firm, as he should.