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Auburn
03-27-2007, 07:02
The Newport Nws newspaper is asking for public comment on the CCW issue. Here is their article:

link to story (http://www.dailypress.com/news/opinion/dp-87892sy0mar27,0,1865974.story?coll=dp-opinion-bothead)

What do you think?
Should names of concealed-weapons holders be shielded?
March 27, 2007
There's a move underfoot to deny the public access to some information that is now open: the identity of those who have permits to carry concealed weapons.

That information is available on request to the public, from the state police or maybe a local court, but there's no handy registry you can check online.

Some gun-rights advocates don't think the public has a right to the information, and they have been successful in getting it secreted in other states. The latest flare-up is in Virginia, precipitated when The Roanoke Times posted on its Web site a list of the names and addresses of permit holders statewide. The controversy got so ugly that an editorial writer was threatened, and the newspaper took down the list (citing questions about accuracy). Now there's a state group looking at the issue and a push for the legislature to lock up the records.

Should that be public information? What do you think?

Under what circumstances would someone want to know who - among their neighbors or workmates - might be armed? Does publicizing permit holders' identity put them at risk? Does keeping it secret put the public at risk?

Because permitting is a governmental process, should there be a presumption in favor of open government? Should information on gun permits be as available as that on other government-issued permits, like marriage and medical licenses? Does the fact that guns are involved make these government records any different, and does that argue for or against public access?

It's now easy to find out (online) if someone has been involved in a case at a local court; should it be as easy to find out if they have been issued a concealed-carry permit by the court?

How much information should be available (full addresses, just street names, just city or county)? In what form - an easily searchable online database, or information released by request? Should it be published in newspapers, as it is in some Virginia communities?

Is there a right to privacy here? If there is, is it trumped by the public's right to know?

What do you think?

As you consider, remember this: A permit isn't required to carry a weapon. Except for a few excluded groups, such as convicted felons, and odd exceptions, anyone can carry a loaded gun just about anywhere except schools, courthouses, churches, airports and restaurants that serve alcohol.

A permit is required only to carry a weapon that's hidden rather than in the open. And concealed-carry permits aren't hard to get. All you have to do is file an application, pay a fee, provide minimal documentation of competence with a gun and submit to a criminal history check.

There's a list of people who can't get them; some of the conditions could be verified (like certain kinds of convictions), some a court would be hard-pressed to know about (like using marijuana). Would public scrutiny offer a check on those folks who shouldn't get permits, but got past the screening process?

So what do you think?

Let us know, following the instructions in the accompanying box. We'll consider readers' opinions as we prepare an editorial on the subject, and print as many as we can.

NOTE: Their email address is letters@dailypress.com

Wolfgang
03-29-2007, 17:12
I'd rather see a list of those who carry a weapon with no permit...in other words carry illegally.

stooxie
04-01-2007, 18:27
Here's my response:


I can't think of any logical reason why the holders of concealed weapons permits should be
public information. People must keep this in mind: those who have applied for CCW permits
have already subjected themselves to public scrutiny in the form of background checks and
the application process. Why do we now fear honest citizens?

If someone is going to commit a crime with a firearm, the holding of a CCW permit is not
going to affect that. Thus, someone thinking that they should be able to find out who has a
CCW permit because they are afraid of someone in particular has a much greater problem. It doesn't matter if a potential criminal has a permit. If they want to commit a crime they will do so with a baseball bat, knife, 7000lb SUV or gun. The method is not the issue.

The truth of the matter is that exposing such a list would only serve to help criminals target
the homes of people with guns. As counter-intuitive as that may be to citizens that do not
own guns, it will happen. A savvy criminal can learn your patterns, watch your house, figure
out when you're not home and bring a van load of tools to help them commit the crime.
Without having an easily accessible list of CCW holders a criminal must resort to much
spottier methods.

That begs the question, if the list is currently publicly available, why hasn't this already happened?
The answer is that few criminals are going to waltz into the state police department, make a formal
written request for the information and fork over $100 for it. However, publish that list to the
internet where any anonymous searcher can extract the data and you have a whole new ballgame.

Those who do not own guns or have CCW permits should be equally troubled by this list. A criminal
can easily determine who will be easy pickings thanks to lack of legal armament. As the saying goes,
would you put a sticker on your house that read "Gun free home"?

Finally, this issue is such a non-starter. Why everyone is suddenly so interested in who has a gun
and who doesn't is at best a silly distraction from what really matters. There are 250 million guns
in the United States. If the country has yet to lapse into the days of the Wild West, as all the
anti-gun politicians keep promising, it won't if we close down the CCW list either.