Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Ohio Gun Permits: Yours to Memorize
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann sided with law enforcement and concealed-carry gun advocates in an opinion prohibiting journalists from writing down, or in any way recording, the names of gun owners kept by county sheriffs.
Ohio law allows reporters to inspect records of concealed-carry permit-holders but prohibits them from obtaining copies of the records. The attorney general opinion stated the ban on copying the records extends to a journalist walking out of a county sheriff's office with anything other than what he's committed to memory. The legal opinion by the state's top law enforcement officer was recently issued after a request by the Trumbull County prosecutor for clarification of last year's change in the state's public records law to prevent a reporter from copying data on the issuance of permits to carry hidden handguns. "Because the only actions a journalist may take with respect to the names, counties of residence, and dates of birth described [in the law] is to see such information, we read the prohibition against a journalist's copying such information as applying to the reproduction of the viewed information by any means, including those you specifically mention - hand-copying, handwritten notes, and dictation," Mr. Dann wrote in a letter to the prosecutor.