Measure restricts gun permit data
Names could be kept from media
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Plain Dealer Bureau
Columbus- Gun permit holders would be allowed to shield their names from journalists following a late change to a proposed open records bill.
The move on Wednesday stunned Rep. Scott Oelslager, the bill's sponsor, who thought he had defeated attempts to insert the restrictions into the bill in recent weeks.
"I did not know this was coming until right before I walked in here," Oelslager, a Canton Republican, said on the floor of the Ohio House, moments after his bill was approved with the opt-out provision for permit holders.
Earlier in the day, House Bill 9 was voted out of committee - 14 months after it was introduced - and Oelslager said he was satisfied the legislation was finally moving forward.
That was before one of his colleagues got hold of it on the House floor.
Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr., a Cincinnati Republican, introduced an amendment that maintains journalists' access to the concealed-carry lists, but allows permit holders to request that their names not be released.
He said the amendment was for the safety of permit holders who might have legitimate reasons for not wanting their names publicly disseminated. The amendment, however, says nothing about supplying a reason for opting off the lists.
Brinkman and other GOP lawmakers then chided the news media, including The Plain Dealer, for publishing the names of permit holders. The public otherwise does not have access to the information.
Oelslager tried to kill Brinkman's amendment but was defeated. In a bipartisan vote, the House accepted the amendment, 51-43. The bill was then approved by the full House, 93-1. Oelslager voted yes.
"If journalists would simply stop abusing the lists by publishing all the names, we wouldn't be talking about this now," Rep. Jim Aslanides, a Coshocton Republican, said after the vote.
"That is not what the law was intended for. It was intended to make sure the law was working," Aslanides said. The media "didn't comply with the law."
Plain Dealer Editor Doug Clifton disagrees.
"We have always believed that the public should have access to these records, not just the press," Clifton said. "That's why we published the permit holders' names.
"This amendment is just another slap in the public's face," he said.
To opt out, permit holders would have to sign an affidavit requesting it or check a box on the application when applying for or renewing a firearms license.
Oelslager noted the bill is headed to the Senate, where it still could be changed.
Late Wednesday, Gov. Bob Taft again said he would veto any bill that restricts media access to the permit lists. He urged the Senate to take the provision out of HB 9.
Senate President Bill Harris, an Ashland Republican, said he had not yet reviewed the bill or the amendment.
The amendment overshadowed the bulk of the public records bill, which contains several new components to make public records more accessible.
The audit and paperwork of private firms hired by the state auditor for outsourced jobs would be public documents under another change made on Wednesday.
Also, public entities that do not readily supply records can be fined, and public officials or their designees have to undergo public records training
WOOHOO!.....I'll be clicking that box when I fill out my application.........Let's hope it gets through the Senate...........I swear, I'm starting to like these Republicans
Oh yeah, almost forgot......Doug Clifton, CAN KISS MY ASS.......start publishing the names of CRIMINALS who have been convicted of gun crimes, that's PUBLIC RECORD.......not those of us who have done nothing...
So if you already have a permit you have to get an affidavit? What are the requirements for that?
well, this has to go through the State Senate first.....then get signed by Gov. Shaft.......I'm not sure how you would go about "opting out" if you already have your permit.
A misfire on open-records bill Sunday, March 19, 2006
An Editorial by PD Editor Doug Clifton
What started out as a public-spirited piece of legislation took a stunning U-turn in the Ohio House on Wednesday and became something of a farce. An open-records measure was slammed shut.
House Bill 9, which clearly spells out the training, requirements and penalties for custodians of public information who fail to follow the law, was an exercise steeped in good government. But at the last minute, an amendment that would end the public's access (through journalists) to Ohio's list of concealed weapons permit holders was attached to the bill and approved.
The result was no less destructive than a hollow-point bullet: It pierced and grotesquely deformed what had been a measure fashioned to be a giant step forward in open government and disclosure. It was a cheap and mischievous shot. Now it falls to the Ohio Senate to reverse the indefensible damage done to a critical piece of legislation.
Gov. Bob Taft already has said that he would veto any bill he receives that further limits access to the concealed-carry permit records (currently - and indefensibly - only journalists are allowed to obtain this list), but it shouldn't come to that point.
The Ohio Senate, which plans hearings on the bill, should strip HB 9 of the gun amendment, while preserving the strengths of the measure. Gun zealots who would rather weaken public access than strengthen disclosure cannot be allowed to hijack the measure.
If repaired, HB 9 would mandate public records training for custodians in all public offices, create stiff penalties for public offices that wrongfully withhold public records and create an Office of Public Access to help citizens access public records.
All of these useful measures would serve to improve the level of service that Ohio government provides to those whom it serves. But first, Senate President Bill Harris must remove the destructive amendment.
This important bill should not be destroyed because single-minded gun zealots put their own cause above open government.
Read the blue as one sentence, that's the real opinion here...
I now understand, and completely agree with "the media is liberally biased" crowd. Most people do not even know their neighbor's name, first and last.......I certainly do not know every person's name....NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE.....so why does our names HAVE TO BE PUBLIC record?....I, for the life of me, can't fathom the reasoning behind this.....
Amazing. You know, just in the interest of public knowledge I think we should print lists of names and address of all police officers, firemen, city and state officials and also all newspaper journalists in the state too. Think they'll go for that?