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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:47 AM
Original message
Strange happenings in Ohio ...

Ohio Dems Seek Gun Records To Harass Gun Owners
Published: Saturday, June 26, 2010, 9:00 AM Updated: Saturday, June 26, 2010, 11:25 PM
Mark Puente, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Ohio Democratic Party tried unsuccessfully this week to get information on all people licensed to carry concealed weapons in the Buckeye State.

The state party sent letters to Ohio's 88 sheriffs requesting the names and addresses of permit holders and the dates the licenses were issued. Ohio has about 211,000 permit holders.

But neither the Democrats nor any other political party can get that information. The records are exempt from the public record laws. The only public access was given to journalists when then-Gov. Bob Taft signed the law in 2004.

Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti, a Democrat, denied the request Friday.

"I must also advise you that the information you are requesting is NOT a public record and CANNOT be released," Stammitti wrote in a letter to the party.

The Democrats intended to target people who support the Second Amendment -- the constitutional right to bear arms -- with campaign information, said party spokesman, Seth Bringman. emphasis added

The party learned the information was not public and then sent a second letter apologizing to the 88 sheriffs.

"We asked them to rescind our request," Bringman said.

Ohio Democrat receives NRA endorsement

The National Rifle Association made its first general election endorsement of the 2010 midterm cycle Monday, backing Ohio's incumbent Democratic governor over a Republican former congressman.

The NRA announced its backing of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in a letter to members that bestowed the gun-rights organization's top rating on Strickland and endorsed him in his contest against Republican John Kasich, The Associated Press reported. emphasis added


Strickland received the NRA's support in 2006 during his primary campaign, but the group remained neutral during the general election because both nominees were proponents of gun rights.

The endorsement could help Strickland widen the narrow margin he has gained in recent polls.

Kasich, a former congressman and Fox News commentator, has maintained a close race with the incumbent governor.

Kasich, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982 to 2001, voted in favor of the Clinton assault weapons ban in 1994 and supported bills containing restrictions on gun shows and handgun sales. That voting record led to the NRA to give Kasich an 'F' grade during his tenure in Congress.

In reaction to the endorsement, the Ohio Republican Party has begun highlighting the inconsistencies of Strickland's voting record on gun laws. /
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. Interesting choice of the word "harass"
I don't consider targeted campaign mailings from the Democratic Party to be harrassment.
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Conservatives view this as "harassment" Read this article ...

Ohio Dems Seek Gun Records To Harass Gun Owners
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Demercrats piece by Warner Todd Huston

In the wake of the new Supreme Court decision on the 2nd Amendment, we have this illuminating story from Ohio and if this isnt the perfect example of why American gun owners fear detailed firearm owners registration records in the hands of government officials there isnt one to be had. Ohios State Democrat Party recently sent a letter to every county sheriffs office demanding that sheriffs send them the names and addresses of all concealed carry permit holders in their county.

There is, of course, only one possible reason that these Democrats wanted this information. Democrats wanted to harass these legal concealed permit holders. They wanted to target Ohioans that were exercising their Constitutional right and to set them up for political attacks, they wanted to somehow use the personal information of law abiding citizens as a weapon against them.


It isnt too hard to imagine, though, a situation where some partisan sheriff just might agree that Ohios Democrats should be allowed to use these registries of law abiding citizens as a weapon to attack them in their homes, their places of business, and in their persons.

This is the flip side to the sort of transparency that crosses the line between harmless public records and dangerous abuse of law abiding citizens private information. Look what happened in Californias Prop 8 fight. Donors lists for the pro-traditional marriage cause ended up in the hands of militant gay activists who took that information and spread it all over the Internet in an effort to open those pro-marriage donors to personal attack.


None of us want to live in a world where we are targeted for harassment by radicals because we are exercising our Constitutional rights. But that is precisely what Ohio Democrats wanted to do in the Buckeye State and it is precisely what militant gay advocates did to those that donated money to the pro-Prop 8 cause in California.

Americans need to find that sensible position between transparency and harassment, certainly, but we also need not have to be personally identified and open for personal attack for exercising our rights as Americas like these left-wing activists want to do. No gun registry should exist in a free America.

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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Wait, why is that headline used in the OP?
When I clicked the link, I got

"Ohio Democratic Party unsuccessfully tries to get gun records"

which is very different from

"Ohio Dems Seek Gun Records To Harass Gun Owners"
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. It's my copy and paste mistake ...
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 01:19 PM by spin
I had two newspaper articles up on my browser and screwed up.

Unfortunately, the time for edited is up. Will post the correction in a follow up post.

Good Catch. Thanks.
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TheCowsCameHome Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 11:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. Shall we address him as Gov. Kasich, or just plain "John"
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SteveM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
3. I wonder what the "campaign information" would have been...
Some journalists have sought to publicize lists of Concealed-carry licensees in some states, Ohio included. I don't think they had in mind a congratulatory note.
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pocoloco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
4. Please tell me the Ohio Democrats are not that stupid.
repug "dirty tricks" to ensure victory?
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Is it possible that the Ohio Democratic Party wants to advertise itself as pro-RKBA? ...
It's a tight race for Governor.

OH Gov Poll: Strickland +5

June 29th, 2010

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland continues to hold off Republican challenger John Kasich but remains well under 50%, a new Quinnipiac poll finds (June 22-27, 1107 RV, MoE +/- 3%). Strickland's 5-point margin is statistically unchanged since April's poll and identical to March, in part because Kasich remains unknown to half the state.

Strickland 43 (-1 vs. last poll, April 29)
Kasich 38 (nc)
Und 15 (-2)

Strickland has positive job approval and favorable ratings, though they hover in the low 40s. Troubling for Strickland: 59% say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in Ohio right now; only 33% approve of the way he's handling the economy; 31% say he's kept his campaign promises.

"Kasich still has four months until Election Day and Strickland's other numbers show his potential vulnerability, but at this point the Governor remains ahead despite the anti-incumbency wave sweeping the country," said Quinnipiac assistant director Peter A. Brown. "The good news for Strickland is that he is ahead. Nevertheless, when an incumbent governor is getting less than 45 percent of the vote four months out, it should make him concerned."

RCP rates this race a Toss Up. /

Gov. Ted Strickland's running mate mum about NRA endorsement; pledges to work to improve cities
Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 1:26 PM Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 1:49 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Gov. Ted Strickland last week made campaign stops with a National Rifle Association lobbyist in tow, championing his new endorsement from the gun rights group in his race to be re-elected in November.

The Democratic governor's running mate Yvette McGee Brown, however, wasn't with him -- and maybe for a reason. Brown is not a gun owner and when questioned by the media today following a speech in Columbus, she refused to state her position on the Second Amendment.

"I am supportive of the governor and I am happy the governor received that endorsement," Brown said following her first campaign speech as a lieutenant governor candidate.

"I don't know that my position is relevant. I support the governor. And he is the head of the ticket. And the governor has the support of the NRA," Brown said. "I don't want to really say anything more than that."

But she did add: "We support lawful individuals having access to lawful weapons."

Brown did not answer when asked about the city of Cleveland's attempts to use the state constitution's home rule provision to enforce its own, more stringent gun rules, which have been subject to legal challenges.

Strickland has enjoyed the support of the NRA since the 1990s when he was a member of Congress. Last week he was endorsed by the group over Republican challenger John Kasich.

Strickland and Kasich spent time together in Congress in the 1990s where their records on gun control issues differed.

In 1994, Strickland, during his first term in Washington, bucked Democratic President Bill Clinton's high-profile crime bill because it included a ban on assault-style weapons. Kasich voted for the crime bill and supported the ban.

As a result, the NRA bestowed its "A" rating on Strickland, which he has maintained since. Kasich in 1994 was given an "F" rating by the NRA. The NRA also endorsed Strickland in the Democratic primary in 2006 but did not make an endorsement for the general election that year when Strickland went on to defeat Republican Ken Blackwell.

Gun supporters are considered to be a huge and influential voting block in Ohio, especially in the state's rural communities.
emphasis added

While it looks like there is some division in the Ohio Democratic Party over the RKBA issue, it's obvious that an effort is being made to appeal to gun owners by Ted Strickland.

If he wins big, what would this mean to other Democrats in the future?

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Abq_Sarah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. That's more likely
Than the "harassment" angle.

It makes sense to send out targeted mailings to let people on the list know you support their rights.
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Hoopla Phil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 08:11 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. That's what I took from it too. The campaign wants to make a targeted
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 08:12 PM by Hoopla Phil
mailer to CHL holders to get their vote. Someone made a boo boo not thinking about what they were doing.
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X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
6. Sandusky register still has the 'list' up..
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. The links to the actual concealed weapons list don't work ...

The paper argues that the concealed firearms list should be available.

Lawmakers have not given any credible reasons why they think permit holders should be treated as a special class of citizens, and why it's in the state's interest to keep the information secret.

Strickland said it was a privacy issue. If Ohioans accept that explanation, what other government information should be kept private? The names of donors to political campaigns? Don't donors have a right to privacy?

Should marriage licenses be private? Divorce records? Land transactions? Salary information for public officials? Don't all of the individuals with government transactions in these areas deserve privacy?

And if privacy is the issue, why did lawmakers make the information available to journalists? They've given no credible reasons why they created a second special class of Ohioans when they decided only journalists would be allowed to know who has a permit to carry a hidden gun.

This is a very slippery slope.

Allowing government to arbitrarily decide what it will make public -- and what it will not make public -- is a dangerous precedent. Redfern and Strickland should be leading the charge to correct the mistake that was written into the concealed-carry law and make this information subject to disclosure just as most publicly generated information is made available to anyone who requests it.

In its present form, the conceal-carry law provides no public checks and balances to assure the gun program is being carried out responsibly. If a sheriff's office accidentally approves a permit for someone unfit to have a gun, the public will never know that because Redfern and a majority of lawmakers have decided the information should be kept secret.

This isn't about a newspaper's right to know, Mr. Redfern.

It's not about privacy, Gov. Strickland

It's about the public's right to know. It's about open government. It's about what is right.

We know you're both too bright not to understand this, and we're very disappointed you don't have the courage to stand up and do the right thing.

Obviously there is a counter argument.

Two and a half years ago, when readers of the Sandusky Register in Ohio opened the paper on June 25, 2007, many were shocked to find their name, age and county of residence published alongside those of nearly 2,700 other law-abiding private citizens. At the top of the page read only the title, Sandusky County Concealed Carry List, accompanied by a menacing graphic with the words Conceal Carry: Who Needs to Know? cunningly framed around a guns scope. While the page offered no other content or context whatsoever, the lack of such more than set the tone. It may as well have been headlined, Hey Fear These Scary Gun-Toting People.


In Ohio, such information is considered confidential and not generally meant to be of the public record. The statute reads in part that no person shall release or otherwise disseminate records that are confidential under this division unless required to do so pursuant to a court order. That would otherwise imply that it is against the law to publish it in your newspaper. But in Ohio, language now known as the media access loophole, found in Ohio Code 29, Chapter 2923.129 Immunity under section (B)(2)(a), was ambiguous enough to provide the newspaper with a way around the law. That portion of the statute provides that a journalist is permitted to make a written request to a sheriff to view the information, and indicates that the request shall state that disclosure of the information sought would be in the public interest. It further states that the journalist shall not copy the name, county of residence, or date of birth of each person

The provision was intended for instances where a single record might be pertinent to review as check and balance, such as in the aftermath of an actual shooting occurrence, or to verify that training is being properly conducted. As it turned out, the words shall not copy apparently arent clear or strong enough to exclude a journalist from writing down every one of the records in his notes, or from speaking them into a recording device.

And with that, Mr. Westerhold seized upon that last bit of the language to justify publishing all 2,600 plus records. In the name of public interest and government transparency, of course.

In a follow-up editorial he published only two days later, Its about the secrets, not about the gun owners, Westerhold insisted the newspaper was taking a stand against government secrecy. Somehow, the editor felt that the local government trying to protect the privacy, security and Second Amendment rights of its citizens was being secretive.

Many local residents, citizen activists, associations and business owners were outraged and wrote letters to the editor. Others spoke out and tried to convey to Westerhold the dangerous consequences of his actions. As National Rifle Association spokeswoman Ashley Varner explained, newspapers that publish this information are putting innocent people at unnecessary risk.

There are women who are hiding from abusive husbands or boyfriends. These are single women who may be afraid of stalkers, people who have been attacked previously and are threatened with repeat attacksPeople with licenses are the most law-abiding citizens in our country. Less than 2 percent are involved in criminal activity. Criminals do not go through background checks to obtain guns.

And even Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat, explained at the time,

Knowledge of who possesses a concealed carry permit may put permit holders at risk of theft attempts, according to a reply from Stricklands office to questions about the secrecy provision(It) may also put those who are not permit holders in greater danger because criminals could know they are not carrying a weapon to defend themselves.


This issue raises very rational objections. Aside from the obvious these are law abiding citizens who have a Second Amendment right to carry a gun and have gone through the proper registration process to carry it on their persons and in their homes there are other reasons for privacy concerns. Victims of crime and domestic violence take extra precautions to protect their privacy, and some are likely to be carrying a gun. Its dangerous to publish any information that would tip off abusers to their victims locations, much less their armed status. Others, such as crime witnesses and law enforcement officers are also put at risk when their information is exposed. And citizens of course are put at risk of being burglarized by those seeking to steal guns.emphasis added /

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X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Looks like they recently changed their backend CMS..
..and forgot to change the links inside articles..

the lists are still there, but not linked. e.g.-
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. If one of those people find themselves targets ...
they should have grounds for a law suit against the newspaper.

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X_Digger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Or the legislators who carved out the exception for journalists. n/t
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 01:27 PM by spin
I made a copy and paste mistake in a headline of a newspaper article in the OP. Beware of having multiple windows open.

The headline:
Ohio Dems Seek Gun Records To Harass Gun Owners

should have been:

Ohio Democratic Party unsuccessfully tries to get gun records

Unfortunately the time to edit the post has expired.

Apologies for my screw up.

Note: thanks to Bill McBlueState for alertly pointing out the mistake .

edited to add thanks
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