Brothers in arms | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brothers in arms

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 1:41 PM

In light of my recent post about all the gun nut legislation winning favor in Tennessee, this is significant. The Tennessee Senate, like the Arkansas Senate, has refused to approve legislation to make secret the list of people in Tennessee who hold state-issued permits to carry concealed weapons.

The Commercial Appeal's posting of the list set off a furor in Tennessee and inspired a copycat in Arkansas, namely me, which in turn set the Arkansas legislature on fire. It would appear that the Tennessee bill's sponsor has learned what we learned early here -- a major use of the data has been by gun-interest groups mining it for political and commercial purposes.

There's still a chance for a compromise on the bill, narrowly defeated last night, though the legislative session is drawing to a close. The open government argument has defeated the secrecy argument so far.

[Sen. Roy] Herron argued that totally closing the public records might create a backlash against the carry-permit program. “To make them secret and close them to the public is a serious mistake and a deviation from the underlying law that has worked well for a decade and a half..”

In the last four years, some 1,200 Tennesseans have lost permits for felony convictions and others have been suspended for domestic violence and pending criminal charges.

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