A bill proposed last week by a Southwest Ohio legislator would prevent journalists from looking at concealed carry gun permit applications – the latest in a nationwide surge of efforts to seal gun records from public view.
A spokesman of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police said the legislation clouds government transparency. But gun rights advocates say there’s no news value in knowing who has a permit and the information should be private.
In the four-county Southwest Ohio region, 9,639 new and renewed permits were issued in 2012, according to an annual report by the Ohio attorney general’s office. Statewide it was a record year with 78,810 concealed carry permits being issued. A license lasts five years and costs $55. More than 300,000 Ohioans have permits.
When the concealed carry law was enacted in April 2004, all the records were public. Three months later the Cleveland Plain Dealer published a list of all carriers and their ages in Northeast Ohio, which prompted the Legislature to tighten the law to its current status.
Under current law, only journalists, not the general public, are allowed to view concealed handgun information after filing a request with a county sheriff, who keeps the local permit information.