Vote for open gun records | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vote for open gun records

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 11:39 AM

A Senate committee this morning gave a do-pass to an amended bill concerning records of concealed weapon permit holders. Rep. Randy Stewart wants to close the record. The committee urged a compromise, but Stewart was willing to compromise only to allowing names to be public. An amendment proposed by media lobbyists called for releasing only names and zip codes, but not street addresses, which are currently public information. The committee endorsed that amendment, over Stewart's objection and lobbying by, among others, a national NRA lobbyist. Five members of the committee joined the vote. Only one senator of those present didn't support the motion.

Sen. Ed Wilkinson, a sponsor of the original concealed carry legislation and an NRA award winner, endorsed the compromise. He also said he simply believed that the list should be open. He's been critical in the Senate's slowdown of a bill that passed the House with only one dissenting vote.

Wilkinson noted the argument that the list of certified law enforcement officers in Arkansas is open to public inspection, both names and cities of residence. He wondered why concealed weapon permit holders should be afforded more secrecy than law officers.

The legislation grew out of the Arkansas Times' on-line publication of the permit list, a step newspapers in other states also have taken. Gun groups have reacted angrily in every case.

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