Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bangor Daily News Vs Gun Owners

In a move that infuriated Mainers across the state, myself included, the Bangor Daily News issued a Freedom of Information Act request to all the state's police departments requesting the names, addresses and dates of birth of all concealed carry permit holders. The newspaper claimed they wanted the information strictly for research purposes and that no personal identifiable information would ever be published. Unfortunately after what occured in New York state a few weeks ago, when hundreds of names and addresses of concealed carry permit holders were published, the public is skeptical and rightfully so.

Why are permit holders so against releasing their information to the public? Well for one, it's called a concealed carry permit for a reason. If we wanted everyone to know we were carrying a firearm, we would simply open carry which is legal in the state of Maine. Second, criminals are smarter than you think. If this information were ever released to the public, it provides a list of targets. Essentially telling them that there are firearms in this home at this address, all you have to do is wait until nobody is home and you found yourself a score. Then that leaves the worst case scenario. What if a criminal thinks nobody is home, but a wife or child is home alone when they decide to strike? Such irresponsibility would put lives at risk, and simply something that we as LEGAL gun owners do not want to risk.

Maine Governor Paul Lepage was angered by the request made by BDN. On Twitter he posted "If newspapers want to know who has a concealed weapons permits, they should know I do."

Existing law requires that this type of information be released upon request. However in light of the situation, Governor Lepage has moved to block data on concealed weapons permits by introducing an emergency bill. The Bangor Daily News withdrew their request, but the Governor said that other groups have submitted similar requests for the information, one of which was submitted anonymously.

The backlash following the BDN request has some gun control advocates worried that it may errode support for some gun control measures. They fear that it will distract people from what they call a "meaningful debate about legislation we believe will save lives." Of course the validity that any new legislation will save any additional lives can be argued. The timing of this request, in the heat of a national attack on gun rights was suspect. Gun rights activists fight tirelessly to prevent any infringement on our Second Amendment rights. We will not sit back and just throw our hands in the air. If anyone expects any less than a full blown defense then they are underestimating us. Try infringing on the First Amendment and see how the media reacts.

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