FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Special Prosecutor Appointed to Investigate Release of Protected Records by Shelby County Sheriff Ohioans For Concealed Carry Calls on Legislators to Repeal Media Access Loophole CLEVELAND - Ohioans For Concealed Carry today announced that it is calling upon the Ohio General Assembly to remove the flawed media access loophole from the new concealed handgun license law. The move is being made following the announcement that Shelby County Prosecutor Jim Stevenson is appointing a special prosecutor (Miami County Prosecutor Gary Nasal) to look into possible criminal violations by the Shelby Co. Sheriff Kevin O'Leary and Sidney Daily News editor Jeffrey Billiel, a Brown Publishing employee. At least ten Ohio Concealed Handgun License-holders have contacted OFCC's Office of General Counsel for advice on seeking legal recourse for damages related to the release of their private, protected information. These people were referred to Attorney Ken Hanson with the firm of Firestone and Brehm, Ltd., for legal help. Several national news outlets have covered this story, following a press statement from OFCC, which first raised awareness of the sheriff's actions. The Citizen's Committee on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has called upon the Attorney General's office to investigate this matter. "It really is an unfortunate situation for these citizens. Most commented that the disclosure will have an impact on their lives, including one person who previously had received death threats and now has his home address printed in the paper," said Attorney Hanson, who has agreed to make the results of his research and investigation available to the special prosecutor, and to forward the contact information for the victims who consent to being contacted. The special prosecutor will investigate allegations that Sheriff O'Leary "did release or otherwise disseminate records that are confidential under Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.129(B)(1), and against the peace and dignity of the State of Ohio, a fifth degree felony." The investigation will also examine charges that O'Leary committed dereliction of duty and violated the civil rights of the 85 license-holders whose private information was disseminated. Those crimes are misdemeanors of the second and first degree, respectively. "When Governor Taft insisted on inserting this loophole at the eleventh hour, it was justified, in part, by adding penalties for violating this same section," said attorney Ken Hanson. "My clients have asked the [Shelby Co.] prosecutor to enforce these protections. This investigation will decide whether violators will be held accountable, or whether Sheriff O'Leary and the Sidney Daily News will be Exhibit A offered with legislation that will be introduced to repeal the media access loophole." Ohioans For Concealed Carry has opposed the media access loophole from the moment Governor Taft began demanding it last November. Even when sheriffs follow it properly, it puts them in an awkward position. Sheriffs are already reporting that they are struggling to keep up with demand for licenses, and the frequent and unnecessary requests for access by the media just saddles them with more paperwork. "Sheriffs don't deserve to be faced with the specter of committing accidental felonies any more than do license-holders who are struggling to comply with the Ohio State Highway Patrol's flawed plain sight car-carry language," remarked Jim Irvine, OFCC PAC Chairman. "This loophole is only law because of Bob Taft and a few term-limited Republican senators. On December 17th of last year, in the final hours of debate over House Bill 12, Senator Doug White told Ohio Public Radio that several Republican senators were afraid to override the threat of a Taft veto because they were hoping for job appointments." "Although our organization considers what O'Leary did to be a serious crime," said Jeff Garvas, President of Ohioans For Concealed Carry, "we feel it is one of numerous instances where Ohio's concealed carry law has made a felony out of something that simply doesn't warrant felony charges." "We support the sheriffs," stated Garvas. "We are calling upon the General Assembly to remove this useless loophole from the law before Election Day. It is not being used for the supposed reasons it was inserted, and it now threatens to ruin the career of a sheriff and newspaper editor over an alleged accidental felony."