In yesterday's news I read the State of Ohio is being sued by the manager of the downtown Cincinnati Hustler store. For those of you that are not aware, Hustler is a dirty book store that sells pornography.
Ohio implemented a law in January that requires those convicted of sexual crimes to register as sex offenders. Most states have adopted similar laws to the benefit of society. However Ohio's law would require those that pander obscenity by selling obscene materials to register as sex offenders.
I certainly have no use for the Hustler store or any other store of it's nature. Such establishments are blights on our community. However there are legitimate establishments that sell material that may be construed to be obscene.
I love to read and I visit Barnes and Nobles, Borders and Joseph-Beth Booksellers on a regular basis. All of these stores sell books and magazines that under Ohio's law or by any reasonable person could be considered obscene. Will the clerks at these bookstores be subject to the sex offender law?
Ohio's law was derived from National Child Exploitation Bill that was signed into law last July. This bill created a national data base of child molesters and required that anyone convicted of such a crime register with local government as a sex offender.
Many states have carried this a step further and labeled anyone convicted of a sex crime, whether the victim is a minor or an adult, as a sexual offender and require they register. The names are published and are searchable via the internet.
It is my opinion that Ohio is overstepping the spirit of the law. The law was conceived to identify those that have been judged as criminals that potentially could become repeat predators. These are people that have already committed heineous physical acts against someone and need be avoided at all costs. I appreciate the data base and have viewed it several times. I have identified two offenders that live not far from my home.
I believe that causing sellers of books to register under this act is without merit and dilutes the law. Ohio needs to revise it's code.