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Concealed-carry permit listings should be public record

Monday, May 11, 2009 | 3:31 p.m. CDT; updated 4:39 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 11, 2009

Just observing the recent concealed-carry discussion on the Missourian Web site has been exhausting. Little seems to make people so emotional, so inclined to overuse personal address and capital letters, as guns. Although some commentators remain level-headed, many more write with the dogmatic, draining tone of someone who is leading up to a healthy scoff and sarcastic “Einstein.”

Online, the histrionic arguments about guns might be tiresome at worst, but they have more serious consequences in the real world. Justifications that are more emotional than rational can drive laws straight through state legislatures. And while sometimes that might be innocuous or even good, a recent increase in primarily emotion-based bills related to concealed-carry information threatens to have some not-so-good repercussions. 

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, seven states have recently proposed bills that would revoke concealed-carry permits’ status as public records. One claim driving the bills is that making the information accessible through freedom of information requests violates the privacy of permit holders, but the need for the permits to be private is rarely sourced or justified and falls short in the face of practical needs that are met by making the records public.

A lobbyist for the NRA used this argument when asked about the proliferation of these bills. He asserted that those who believe the information should be public “want to put a scarlet letter” on the permit holders. Others have gone so far as to assert that making the information public is essentially equating concealed carriers to sex offenders, given that the latter are required to register with local law enforcement officials and often have their names, crimes and photos published on a Web site

While permit owners might have cause to be annoyed, given that it makes it harder for them to secretly carry guns when those permits aren’t secret too, it is wrong to assert that people want the information to be made public simply so they can treat concealed carriers as pedophilic Hester Prynnes. There might be some bitter, anti-gun rogue out there who takes joy in permit owners’ angst, but most people want access to the information so that government oversight can be performed by the public and the press.

In an ideal world, the permit-issuance process would be perfect, but it unfortunately isn’t. Last year, an investigative team from a Tennessee news station cross-referenced a list of permit owners with a database of convicted felons; they found that permits had been issued to dozens of criminals (including a felon who shot a man in the chest during an argument), despite supposedly stringent state laws requiring fingerprinting and background checks for applicants. Without access to the names, these flaws couldn’t be exposed.

Another emotional claim being used to support the bills is that permit owners will be targeted for robbery if their names are made public, presumably because robbers would highly value the guns. It’s understandable to be nervous about personal information being accessible these days, for the sake of worries about identity theft if nothing else, but the burglary argument is an unreasonable manifestation of that nervousness; wouldn’t robbers be more likely to avoid houses where they might be shot?

Robberies aside, there are some people who have legitimate reason to fear the release of their information. In an opinion justifying the passage of a bill that made records secret in Virginia, the attorney general explained that the complete list of permit owners would include victims of domestic abuse, crime witnesses and other especially at-risk individuals; revoking access to the records was for their sake, he said, “in the interest of public safety.”

However, there’s no reason that specific exemptions couldn’t be made for people who have a particular reason to fear they might be harmed. To legislate for everyone based on those relatively isolated cases is to sacrifice government oversight for the sake of an emotive exception, one that could (and should) be accounted for.

Also emotionally contested are searchable databases of permit owners that have been put together by newspapers such as the Commercial Appeal. Using these, people can enter names or areas and find out who owns a permit rather than going through the process of using a freedom of information request. Although this might make permit owners feel slightly more exposed, it does allow people to regularly and easily find out if their baby sitters or neighbors or employees might be carrying guns. Such databases also facilitate oversight, given that they make comprehensive research more feasible for the ever-dwindling number of journalists.

In an opinion article written after people objected to the Commercial Appeal’s database, the editor said this: “Neither logic nor common sense is carrying the day on this issue. It's emotion. After listening to dozens of phone calls, it seems that the issue, for them, boils down to a simple core equation: I have a constitutional right to possess a firearm; any effort to infringe on that right will be opposed.” But protecting rights is not about absolutes for individuals; it’s about balance for everyone, and sometimes that balance requires emotional wants or worries to make room for more practical needs.  

 

Katy Steinmetz is a columnist and reporter for the Missourian. She moved to Columbia after spending two years teaching in Winchester, England, and one year in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has freelanced for a variety of publications, including 417 Magazine in Springfield, Mo., and the Guardian in London. Katy plans to complete her MU master's degree in 2010.

 


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Comments

Greg Collins May 11, 2009 | 5:13 p.m.

On this subject, if the journalism profession and the slobbering faculty in their collective and not so subtle desire to further suppress firearms ownership and carrying would like to take this to the next step, I'd be more than happy to lead an effort to propose Missouri change its laws to become identical to Vermont-style CCW (concealed carry law)--no registration, permits, fees, records.

(Report Comment)
gunnard smith May 11, 2009 | 6:38 p.m.

I think Katy Steinmetz should list her home address and phone number when she writes her controversial opinions.

Whats good for the goose is good for the gander, I have found that newspapers who publish names of concealed carry holders never seem to want the same scrutiny applied to them and neither do their advertisers. We are all Americans, and the Bill Of Rights apply to us all.

A women had moved to Virginia and got her permit to carry after moving to several States to avoid her crazed stalker, yet the newspaper there published her name and the stalker found her again and attacked her.

Perhaps Katy Steinmetz would be happy with this rapist/stalker having her address given to this guy too?

(Report Comment)
Katy Steinmetz May 11, 2009 | 6:59 p.m.

No, I wouldn't like my address given to a stalker. And I would classify such as woman as one of the people I mention (in the third and fourth to last paragraphs) who should be an exception to the rule.

It is worth noting that editors who put together many of the databases, such as the Commercial Appeal's, actually removed the addresses, making the information they provided less extensive than the information available through a public records request. This is not to say that every newspaper has acted that responsibly though, and I agree that it's best to preserve as much privacy as possible.

(Report Comment)
gunnard smith May 11, 2009 | 7:13 p.m.

Katy writes "but the burglary argument is an unreasonable manifestation of that nervousness; wouldn’t robbers be more likely to avoid houses where they might be shot?"

The short answer is simply no. All that happens is the criminal "lies in wait" and ambushes the victim.
Recently a criminal killed 4 armed police officers in Oakland California.

Unless Katy is a practicing criminal, or at least a police officer, then she has no idea on the criminal mind.

The sad truth is the police have no legal obligation to protect you. There is only one person who can keep you safe and you see them when you look in a mirror.

Criminals sometimes are simply crazy, sometimes they are just plain evil, why does Katy want to assist them?

Why is Katy so keen on assisting stalkers/rapist/murderers with locating their prey?

Some women have very good reasons for carrying a gun, has Katy ever heard of Actress Rebecca Schaefer?
Her killer used public records to locate her, how many women have to die because Katy doesn't like gun owners?

(Report Comment)
gunnard smith May 11, 2009 | 7:26 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Mark Fringer May 11, 2009 | 10:00 p.m.

Katy,
After following the Virginia situation very closely I can tell you specifically what the drive was in that state to pass this law.

One particularly overzealous reporter felt that it would be a good idea to post all of the permit holders personal information on his newspaper's web-site which caused an outrage in the concealed carry community.

Within days (and a bit of research) one of the Virginia concealed carry web-sites had posted this particular reporters name, home address, home phone and cell number on one of their web-pages. This information was given to viewers of their web-site for "openness" to give the members of the site the means to contact the reporter with their feelings on the issue.

After posting this information on the concealed carry web-site, the list of concealed carry holders information was immediately removed and in-turn, the reporters information was removed from the concealed carry web-site.

I felt it funny how the "shoe didn't feel so good on the other foot" to this reporter.

The same situation recently played out in Ohio and Louisiana with the same results.

Strange how these "reporters" feel it is fine to post such information about concealed carry holders but heaven forbit THEIR information is out there for someone looking.

Are you willing to post your personal information in cyberspace for all to see?
After all, your musings are much more deadly that a firearm, "The pen is mightier than the sword"!

(Report Comment)
Katy Steinmetz May 11, 2009 | 10:24 p.m.

I take your point, and I certainly don't think cell numbers or home phone numbers need to be published. Perhaps the best answer is databases such as Commercial Appeal's, which include the name but don't include the street address, phone numbers or birth dates (the latter to lessen worries about identity theft); then the oversight would still be possible without permit holders having to feel so uncomfortable.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley May 12, 2009 | 12:46 a.m.

So, you put their name, city, and state on the site. And one stalker that spends 5 minutes on Google finds out he rest.... Right?

This is a load of "crap" designed to discourage people from obtaining CCWs.

Ya know.. The way journalism is viewed these days, if someone REALLY wanted to demonstrate how much of a concern people are feeling about this, they could start a blog, call theirself an Independent Journalist, and list all of the personal information they can find on the Internet on those that seem to condone this irresponsible display of information, and let them see how they like that...... What's good enough for one Journalist should be good enough for another Journalist, right?

Rick.

(Report Comment)
Gary Vaught May 12, 2009 | 7:54 a.m.

Katy,
First, I would like to state that I know by posting this it will make me a target. But, if I can make a point and put an end to this lunacy, I'll take that risk.

What you propose is irresponsible and dangerous. Even just posting names would create danger for many people. I have a name which is not all that common, yet even I have had people mistake me for another individual in the area who has been arrested and convicted on drug trafficking charges. This situation, with "public oversight," could very easily lead to a large waste of county or state money to investigate something which has already been investigated. I realize that this system can have flaws, if the law enforcement entity charged with doing the background checks is remiss in their responsibility. But the assumption here is that these are people who have not been found guilty of anything. The proposal of making them public specticles simply because they wish to protect themselves and their loved ones is ludicrous. Gun owners and CCW holders are not dangerous people. CCW holders are, by definition, the most law-abiding and safe people in our society.

I wouldn't want my private, personal information out on the web any more than you would want yours, simply because you are a reporter. Putting this information out in public would, effectively, nullify the entire purpose of CONCEALED carry. I can tell you that I know people who I don't want walking around knowing whether or not I have a CCW endorsement. I would prefer the assume I do, but not that they know. That, young lady, is the purpose of concealed carry. You don't know. I don't know. Thieves, robbers and rapists don't know. I know a number of people who would have a fuller life today if Kent Heithold had been legally carrying a concealed weapon of some sort.

Finally, I would like to express disdain for the state of journalism in our society. This piece is very obviously, to those who do not agree with you, an attempt to paint gun owners and 2nd Amendment advocates as emotional and irrational. I find this position to be not only wrong but a complete denial of reality. The people I know who support gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment are very passionate but logical thinkers. We do not have some "feel good" reason for our beliefs and choices, we believe in the laws, of this state and this country and do not use our feelings to guide their decisions. We use our feelings to guide our logic, not replace it.

(Report Comment)
Jesse Moss May 12, 2009 | 8:57 a.m.

How about you wear a big red scarf for 5 days a month letting the general population know your menstruating, or wear a necklace with a Tampon dangling from it like a charm. Or is that too private and personal? It would at least let would be robbers or Rapist know what kind of Mentality or on the other hand Mess their going to have to deal with once they invade your space or personal body intimately. Get real!! How about Aids Patients?? Should they be forced to wear a black scarf decorated with Skull and crossbones like the Jolly Roger flag. after all they have the potential of being Deadly don't they?? You have absolutely no business writing a column for anything but the Brady Bunch..

(Report Comment)
Matt Finazzo May 12, 2009 | 9:16 a.m.

Echoing the point that Gary Vaught made, it is ludicrous. Remember, registered sex offenders have ALREADY COMMITTED A CRIME. CCW holders have gone out of their way, spent their own money, and given their own time to make sure they are educated and in full compliance with the law.

(Report Comment)
Buzz Gordon May 12, 2009 | 10:57 a.m.

It's a strange and very suspicious idea Katy. The CCW holders are not the ones to be worried about. We are on the same side as the police. We carry to 'defend' you and ourselves not commit crimes and we understand the meaning of the word 'avoidance'. Hey Katy if you're worried about these CCW holders get in touch with me, you won't be disappointed wink wink. I'll keep you safe and protected! You're so hot baby! And after a short time with me you'll have a richer understanding of guns and CCW holders.

(Report Comment)
Katy Steinmetz May 12, 2009 | 12:37 p.m.

Thank you for the offer, Buzz.

I understand that this is a touchy issue, but I feel like the main point I'm trying to make is being overlooked. It is that without anyone having access to these records, government oversight cannot be performed. Having access to names does not mean all available personal information need be published; it shouldn't be.

Gary cites the statistic that gun owners are the most "law abiding and safe" segment of society, but the integrity of that statistic is impossible to protect so long as dozens of felons are being issued CCW permits - as the Tennessee investigation found that they were. Making some form of records available allows for those responsible gun owners, the majority, to be distinguished from the minority who shouldn't have the permits. It allows for that statistic to be a reality.

The continuous points about stalkers seem to ignore my understanding (laid out in the third and fourth to last paragraphs) that anyone who has a special reason to be considered at-risk if their information is made public should be exempt. This would include victims of domestic abuse, witnesses, stalkees, etc.

When Gary says that having his name alone published will allow everyone to know he has a gun, that is a real stretch. If photos, addresses and birth dates are not published - and there's no reason they should be - then a stranger wouldn't be able to identify a CCW carrier on the street by name alone. The secrecy that is inherent to the deterrent would still be in tact. Only people who already knew your face and name would be able to use the information; assuming they weren't criminals, that wouldn't clue those being deterred in.

And I don't think the names should be painted in big red letters on a list somewhere. As I said before, I simply think they should be available through freedom of information requests or in databases that require you to search for name or place (so you can't just browse) and which contain information that is not accompanied by a phone number, photo or street address.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro May 12, 2009 | 1:42 p.m.

("The continuous points about stalkers seem to ignore my understanding...that anyone who has a special reason to be considered at-risk if their information is made public should be exempt. This would include victims of domestic abuse, witnesses, stalkees, etc.")

And what you apparently fail to understand is that by virtue of having a concealed weapon, your proposal puts them all at-risk.
Is that "Special Reason" enough?

(Report Comment)
Ken Grubb May 12, 2009 | 2:06 p.m.

Concealed carry records are available to lawful authorities, and that's the extent of anyone having a need to know. In states where it's allowed, newspapers have been in the nasty habit of publishing lists of concealed carry licensees for no other reason than a hatred of gunowners who carry. I daresay journalists would not want their home addresses and home telephone numbers published in some sort of First Amendment oversight project.

In allowing anyone to "check up" on one's neighbors, what makes a journalist or anyone else believe they are in a position to judge whether a gun owners name and address and that they carry should be published? Employers don't have any right or need to know what someone does on their own time away from work.

The oversight argument is completely hollow as journalists aren't automatically granted access to a person's criminal record or driving record.

As for checking up on babysitters and neighbors, concealed carry databases would not show whether one owned guns but whether one had a license to carry a gun. I suppose Ms. Steinmetz's next argument will be for full registration of all firearms and a website where those records can be viewed online. Here we see the true goal of these efforts to see records of concealed carry licensees.

(Report Comment)
Bill Clark May 12, 2009 | 2:22 p.m.

Law enforcement already has access to that list. There is no need for anyone else to have it, especially a reporter.

(Report Comment)
Bob Triphahn May 12, 2009 | 2:55 p.m.

Katy you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

Let us look at this issue from a different light. It seems to me your main point is: Accessibility would give over-site to the process of regulating permit holders.

I am not familiar with Tennessee's permit issuing process. so I will not address as to why mistakes happen in their system.

I am familiar with Missouri's system. Once a person receives the proper training, they make application for a concealed carry permit with their local sheriff. They give up a set of fingerprints and fill out a form that includes all personal information. Both the fingerprints and personal information is then forwarded to the Missouri Highway Patrol and the FBI for a thorough background check. Only after the background check comes back clear, and, as long as the issuing Sheriff does not have probable cause to not issue the permit, a certificate of qualification is issued. Based on this system, I do not see why the public needs to ride shotgun over CCW holders.

If a CCW holder breaks the law (offenses listed on RSMo 571), their permit gets pulled immediately.

Question: Do you have a deeper agenda that what is stated in your article?

Thank you for you time.

(Report Comment)
Andrew Del-Colle May 12, 2009 | 3:08 p.m.

I love this:

"Finally, I would like to express disdain for the state of journalism in our society. This [editorial] piece is very obviously, to those who do not agree with you, an attempt to paint gun owners and 2nd Amendment advocates as emotional and irrational. I find this position to be not only wrong but a complete denial of reality. The people I know who support gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment are very passionate but logical thinkers. We do not have some "feel good" reason for our beliefs and choices, we believe in the laws, of this state and this country and do not use our feelings to guide their decisions. We use our feelings to guide our logic, not replace it."

Especially, since it came right before this:

"How about you wear a big red scarf for 5 days a month letting the general population know your menstruating, or wear a necklace with a Tampon dangling from it like a charm. Or is that too private and personal? It would at least let would be robbers or Rapist know what kind of Mentality or on the other hand Mess their going to have to deal with once they invade your space or personal body intimately. Get real!! How about Aids Patients?? Should they be forced to wear a black scarf decorated with Skull and crossbones like the Jolly Roger flag. after all they have the potential of being Deadly don't they?? You have absolutely no business writing a column for anything but the Brady Bunch.."

Sweet, sweet irony. And Ray, I am slightly confused:

“Due to this apparently intentional pattern of ommisions, I will no longer post on this site.”

I hope your more passionate about these gun issues than your own declarations.

As a side note, my post has taken no side on this issue. This is more meta-commentary than anything else. That being said, I am sure that makes no difference. Let the vitriol ensue.

(Report Comment)
Matt Finazzo May 12, 2009 | 5:04 p.m.

"When Gary says that having his name alone published will allow everyone to know he has a gun, that is a real stretch."

It really isn't. Many people run businesses under their own name. Consider the following hypothetical:

Billy Bob owns Billy Bob's Painting and Roofing.

A hoplophobic consumer is looking at competing bids for a project, and realizes that Billy Bob has a license to carry. Based on that revelation, the consumer rejects Billy Bob's bid and he loses the business.

At that point, the government is forcing Billy Bob between a rock and a hard place: relinquish the license, or find another line of work. Either way infringes upon liberty.

So again, where is this mysterious line between what is reasonable and necessary to disclose and what is simply a waste of tax dollars? As has been previously pointed out, law enforcement already knows you have a license to carry.

(Report Comment)
gunnard smith May 12, 2009 | 5:34 p.m.

"The continuous points about stalkers seem to ignore my understanding (laid out in the third and fourth to last paragraphs) that anyone who has a special reason to be considered at-risk if their information is made public should be exempt. This would include victims of domestic abuse, witnesses, stalkees, etc."

Cops have been targeted by criminals who wanted their gun, cops have been killed by deranged criminals seeking guns.
People with concealed carry permits do not have eyes in the back of their head, what you propose puts them in danger!

Cops are also totally human and subject to the same emotions as the criminals they pursue, does the name "Drew Peterson" ring a bell dear?

Your assertion that at risk people could be protected is absurd!

Why would a rapist, intent on harming his victim, announce his intentions?

A women may never know she is being stalked until it is to late.

What about people who do not wish to advise the gov't they are at risk?

Lets say a women used to be a stripper to pay for her education and her father has access to the "at risk" section of public records? She might decide not to get the permit because she doesn't want her dad finding out.

My late father used to do background checks on all my older sisters boyfriends ( he was a cop ).

Not everyone has had the cushy upbringing you obviously have had, there are women out there who have been alcoholics, drug users, strippers, hookers who have turned their life around but are still at risk from their former associates.

You do not understand the danger you want to put them in.

You are also going to force others to simply carry without a permit, because they believe the same things radicals like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington believed.
They believe in "Rights".

I think it is time we apply the strict scrutiny to you dangerous "journalist" as you wish to apply to gun owners.
We need background checks and registration and waiting periods. ( for "journalist" )
You "journalist" are always helping criminals, rapist, murderers and always write propaganda for the like of Hitler and Stalin.

You "writers" are always hiding behind the "First Amendment" that was initiated by right wing extremist like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington! The community is sick and tired of your lack of understanding of simple facts and needs to be protected from the rapist/stalkers and totalitarians you propagandize for.

You take this idea of "freedom" to far and we need to start making you "journalist"
Get a license, a background check etc!
Heck, lets do the same thing CA and NY does with gun laws!
This way you could not even get a journalist license.
In NY and CA only rich white men can get a ccw, I think irresponsible journalist like you need to be stopped for the good of the community!

(Report Comment)
Mark Fringer May 12, 2009 | 7:56 p.m.

Katy,

I think you are overlooking my point. Where is the oversight in todays media.

It appears you are writing directly from the slanted handbook of the Brady Organization.

One thing I noticed about all of the articles of this Tennessee situation is this. Not one single article on this situation listed the fact that Tennessee has issued over 220,000 concealed carry permits. Yet they talk about the "dozens of felons issued concealed carry permits".

Don't give me an open ended number such as "dozens". I want exact numbers. Even if it were 3 dozen, out of 220,000+ permits issued that is still less than half of one percent.

How many of these felons are driving vehicles? If I had the will to do it, I could do much more broad-spread damage with my vehicle than my firearm.

Again, I ask, where is the oversight when it comes to our media? You throw out generalized numbers directly from the Brady web-site and expect us to believe them? Not without an exact figure.

Did the State of TN do wrong? Yes, they certainly did. Does it upset me? Yes, it certainly does. This gives all concealed carry license/endorsement holders a black eye.

Does this give the right for overzelous reporters to publicly list our private information? Not on your life.

It doesn't matter to me how generic the information given is, I will not release such information of my students and I don't expect anyone else to either.

I suggest you seek assistance with your hoplophobia before it becomes even more of a problem.

(Report Comment)
gunnard smith May 13, 2009 | 5:23 a.m.

Katy, Richard Allen Davis, the convicted kidnapper and rapist who killed raped and murdered 12yr old Polly Klass
Never used a gun in his crimes, he always used a car.
Driving isn't a right, isn't it time you propagandist used your talents in getting a law passed to make it illegal for felons to own/operate vehicles?
Cars kill "dozens" more children then guns do ( probably thousands )

Please understand, you are not a "real" journalist, that fine tradition is dead. "Journalist" today seem incapable of independent thought and simple fact checking, you're an attractive young lady with a fine grasp of English grammar.
Sadly though, it seems all you are capable of is cut and paste. Most so called journalist do the same though, so you're not in bad company ( The U.K Guardian at least admits its faults though, a light in a bleak tunnel)

You have a future in propaganda, it probably pays well enough. I can not understand why so many American
"journalist" wish to emulate the gun laws of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

Like the Virginia Tech faculty said, they want the students to "feel" safe. It seems that is the only thing that matter to people like you, you only want to "feel safe"
Even though the police have no legal obligation to protect you, even though the facts prove you wrong, your side insist on "feeling" safe. I guess actually empowering yourselves and being safe (safer maybe) is to much to ask.

Good luck, you're going to need it.

(Report Comment)
BENJAMIN TODD May 17, 2009 | 5:04 a.m.

I don't mind law enforcement authorities knowing that i have a fire arm, they do already, via permits, background checks, fingerprints, photos, dna, extensive training, military service, applications, records ect. I do mind giving the criminal element of society a tool to find, acquire illegally more weapons, via home robberies, vehicle theft or any other illegal activities. Remember criminals don't do any of the above, only the most honest law abiding citizen would.
But it is disturbing that most of the anti gun crowd would like to have something to gripe about, remember it is a right to be armed, to protect....ect....(just so it's fair to all citizens)
If you are seriously thinking that this would make people safer, you should also attach this to the proposed law for those of us out there that are not armed, be required by law to post a sign in their yard stating, THAT WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN GUNS, NOR THE RIGHT TO DEFEND OUR FAMILIES, PLEASE DON'T DO CRIME ON THESE PREMISES. then you may feel as safe as we do with publishing a list of permit holders.

ps. I am keeping my eyes out for those signs, lol.

(Report Comment)
gunnard smith May 17, 2009 | 7:31 p.m.

Katy, the questions posted here are very interesting, you've had plenty of time to ruminate.
Why no response?

(Report Comment)
jim Hollis May 20, 2009 | 11:45 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Chris Andrews May 31, 2009 | 7:30 p.m.

I think you missed one important point. When these people applied for their permits, it was with the understanding that their names would not be public knowledge.

Now you say that there may or may not be additional risks to permit holders whose names are public, such as robbery, fine. But now permit holders have no choice as to whether or not they want to take these additional risks. What about the person who wouldn't have applied for a permit if he'd known it was coming with a target on his back? Whether or not these additional risks are real, the government shouldn't impose them on citizens without their approval or knowledge.

In additional to being a serious violation of a person's privacy, it also opens government up to a huge legal liability. What happens if someone gets shot in their home by a robber who when later arrested says he was there to get the guns.. the guns he knew from public records that the homeowner owned. What's the government's liability here when they put this guy's name on a bulletin board without his knowledge?

(Report Comment)
bradley porter June 20, 2009 | 8:57 p.m.

Perhaps people don't want their names released for the same reasons people with HIV and AIDs don't want the entire public to have access to their medical status. It's none of their darn business. If you want to screw somebody, ask them if they're a slut and sleep around with people. If you want somebody to babysit for your kids, ask them if they take their own safety seriously enough to take all measures necessary to insure their safety (like carrying a concealed weapon). If you can't trust them to answer honestly, you probably shouldn't screw them and/or have them babysit your kids.

(Report Comment)

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