The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) today called upon Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro to investigate the release of the home addresses of 87 concealed pistol licensees by Shelby County Sheriff Kevin O’Leary, to the Sidney, Ohio Daily News, which subsequently published that information in its June 8 edition.
“Release of this information is not merely a gross invasion of privacy,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “it might also be a violation of the Ohio concealed carry statute. Under the law, only the name, county of residence and date of birth may be released by a sheriff to a bona fide journalist, and it requires a written request. There is no provision for releasing street addresses of licensees. Attorney General Petro should immediately launch a criminal investigation to determine if the law was violated, and then prosecute the violators.”
Details about individual licensees, including their home addresses, might be considered confidential, and releasing that information is a felony of the fifth degree, Gottlieb stressed. The “willful and deliberate” release of that information by a sheriff or any other public officer or employee can bring a civil fine of $1,000
“The newspaper printed the home addresses of all 87 citizens, for any burglar or other criminal to read,” Gottlieb said. “If any of these law-abiding gun owners is victimized in any way as a result of this outrageous release of personal information, the newspaper and Sheriff O’Leary should be held legally responsible.”
CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron added, “The Sidney Daily News is owned by Brown Publishing, the same newspaper chain that owns the Wilmington News-Journal. The editor of that newspaper, who was not licensed to carry, was charged with kidnapping a woman at gunpoint May 13. That embarrassing story got very little play in the press. Ohio newspapers must believe that it is acceptable to invade the privacy of honest gun owners while pretty much ignoring a serious crime allegedly committed by one of their own.
“Sheriff O’Leary,” Waldron continued, “opposed concealed carry. But the debate is over, it is now the law, and he needs to follow the law, to the letter. If he cannot do that, then perhaps he should turn in his badge and gun, and find some other line of work. He has betrayed the trust of every person whose address he released.”