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'73 24' Stamas
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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."
 
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