Gun beat | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gun beat

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 2:43 PM

Here's the promised bill to close the names of concealed weapon permit holders from public inspection.

I still believe there's a public interest in access to the names of permit holders. It's about accountability -- people who have permits but shouldn't; people who should have permits for guns they carry, but don't; people best avoided. As I've said before, there's room to argue about protection of information such as address and birth dates.

There is another problem in this bill. It would make it a misdemeanor to publicly release any information from this list. Thus, should a newspaper reporter find out a felon had obtained a permit or a permit holder became a felon but didn't lose the permit, she could be charged with a crime for reporting this information. This law also seemingly would apply to those who released criminal history information about a permit applicant. I don't know if it's constitutional, but it's not good public policy to create a super secret class of people on account of their concealed weapons.

Help me: Is there any publicly gathered material excepted from the FOI whose release is punishable by a misdemeanor?

Minor side note: Information released prior to passage of this law is not covered. Thus the current list of permit holders may be published at will, without penalty.

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