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Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Alwsfishin, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. Alwsfishin

    Alwsfishin '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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