From The Cincinnati Enquirer Lawmakers want to eliminate the last remaining public access to view records on Ohio's more than 400,000 concealed handgun owners.
A change, proposed by Sen. Joe Uecker, R-Miami Township, would prohibit journalists from reading the names of people who obtain permits to carry concealed guns. The proposal is part of the senate's budget plan, which was formally released Tuesday.
The change would eliminate the already extremely limited access to those records, Ohio Newspaper Association Executive Director Dennis Hetzel said.
"Once government creates records, they should be presumptively open unless there's a good reason for them to be secret," Hetzel said.
Reporters can read the records now only after submitting a signed, written request to a sheriff's office to review the name, county of residence and date of birth on permits. They can only look at the records and not take notes or request a list.
A member of the public cannot even look at the names without a court order.
Uecker has pushed for limited access to gun permit names, saying journalists can obtain an order from a judge to view records. Printing the names of people with concealed handgun permits puts them at risk of burglaries or theft, he added.
"Anytime that happens, that puts people at risk," Uecker said.
Gun advocates say journalists have abused access to concealed handgun licenses by publicizing lists of their names and putting gun owners in danger. A New York newspaper published a map of concealed carry permit holders and their addresses after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
"There's no public good that comes out of the media accessing that list. So it should be closed," said Jim Irvine, president of the Buckeye Firearm Association.
Sheriff's offices are responsible for making sure people with gun permits are following the law, not reporters, he added.
But Hetzel said Ohio's law is already so restrictive that journalists wouldn't be able to publish a list if they wanted to.
"As a practical matter, the Ohio law is so limited that the things that have caused controversy would be all but impossible to do in Ohio," Hetzel said.
Another change in the two-year budget would allow members of the military to carry concealed handgun licenses while on active leave. They would have to carry valid military identification and a certificate of training as well as be at least 18 years old.
Ohioans can serve in the military at 18 years old but cannot obtain a concealed gun permit until they are 21 years old, Irvine said.
"They carry guns overseas, then come home on military leave, and we are disarming them. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever," Irvine said.