Akron Beacon Journal editorial: Why concealed carry permits must remain public records

Editorial from the Akron Beacon Journal Yet another misguided effort is underway at the Statehouse to dismantle even limited access to records about who has a permit to carry a concealed handgun. This time, language to close those records completely was slipped into the massive state budget bill now moving through the Ohio Senate.

There, Joe Uecker, a Miami Township Republican, argues that journalists no longer should be allowed to view concealed carry permits on file at county sheriffs’ offices. The public already is barred. Uecker asserts that printing the names of permit holders would put them at risk of burglaries and thefts.

Such concerns are vastly overblown. As a practical matter, what access journalists have hardly lends itself to reporting the names of all permit holders, as has happened elsewhere. In Ohio, journalists are barred from taking notes or making copies.

What must be given more weight are the real risks of denying all access to concealed carry permits, as opposed to speculation that something might happen to permit holders if information were released.

Blocking access completely would end oversight of how county sheriffs are meeting their responsibilities to perform background checks on permit applicants and take fingerprints. Investigative journalism in other states has uncovered incidences of illegally granted permits.

Along with House Bill 48, which would allow individuals to carry a concealed weapon into day care centers, private aircraft and government buildings, the last-minute language jammed into the budget bill builds on a dangerous view of Second Amendment rights as trumping almost all concerns for public safety.