The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today congratulated Shelby County Prosecutor Jim Stevenson and Common Pleas Judge John D. Schmitt for setting in motion an investigation into possible criminal charges related to the publication of names and home addresses of concealed pistol license holders by a local newspaper.
The Sidney Daily News on June 8 published the names and addresses of 87 CPL holders, apparently in violation of state statute. The investigation will determine whether Sheriff Kevin O’Leary and Daily News editor Jeffrey Billiel acted illegally. CCRKBA had earlier called upon State Attorney General Jim Petro to investigate.
“While we would still like for Attorney General Petro’s office to give this case its attention,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “we’re delighted that Mr. Stevenson and Judge Schmitt have courageously decided to act. Gun owners, like anybody else, have privacy rights, and the state law seems pretty clearly written so that only the names and county of residence-not the home addresses-of CPL holders be made available to reporters by local sheriffs.”
Added CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, “We agree with Ohioans For Concealed Carry that this public disclosure clause of the state law needs to be either revised or scrapped, just because of cases like this. There is serious concern that this was not an inadvertent misunderstanding of the statute, but a deliberate effort by the sheriff and the newspaper to hold these law-abiding gun owners up to public scorn. Ohio gun owners should congratulate both the judge and prosecutor in Shelby County for quickly coming to a decision we know must have been uncomfortable for them.”
Miami County Prosecutor Gary Nasal has been appointed to act as the special prosecutor in this case. Both CCRKBA officials say they expect Nasal to conduct an impartial investigation, and hope that this action will serve as a deterrent for this sort of thing to happen in other Ohio counties.
“The fact that the law makes this kind of violation a felony demonstrates how serious gun owners are about protecting their privacy,” Gottlieb stated. “It is only proper that a lawman and newspaper editor who wanted to hold gun owners up to some public scrutiny are now facing even more serious scrutiny.”