Are You Packing Heat? Your Local Newspaper May be Planning to Out You


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by Liberty Chick

The Ohio Free Press, an independent online news source run by liberty-minded citizens, has its sights fixed on setting the record straight and is taking aim squarely at one newspaper’s editor.

Two and a half years ago, when readers of the Sandusky Register in Ohio opened the paper on June 25, 2007, many were shocked to find their name, age and county of residence published alongside those of nearly 2,700 other law-abiding private citizens. At the top of the page read only the title, “Sandusky County Concealed Carry List“, accompanied by a menacing graphic with the words “Conceal Carry: Who Needs to Know?” cunningly framed around a gun’s scope. While the page offered no other content or context whatsoever, the lack of such more than set the tone. It may as well have been headlined, “Hey – Fear These Scary Gun-Toting People.”

I spoke with Brian Walker at the Ohio Free Press. He says they wanted to know – without any sort of other context around it, what would have compelled the Register’s managing editor, Matt Westerhold, to publicly disclose this list of everyone in the area who just happens to have a license to carry a concealed handgun. And why, all this time later, are the pages still online, without any sort of explanation for publishing the list printed alongside of it?

But when they asked him, Mr. Westerhold, after first getting another reporter into the room to get on speakerphone with him, replied bluntly, “Absolutely no comment.”

And that was the end of it.

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