Let’s establish a couple things that I think have been lost in the debate about whether the personal information about concealed carry permit holders should be available as public information. This is America. Under the Constitution, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Laws are created to protect the innocent (it is said). Furthermore, a licensed concealed carry person is a law-abiding individual, otherwise they would never be permitted to carry. It’s time these individuals were treated as lawful Americans and give them the respect they deserve instead of making them targets for people who hate guns and anyone and anything associated with them.
Considering the statement I just made, it is easy to conclude that any person or agency, i.e. Bangor Daily News in this case, that seeks the personal information on permit holders, are doing so for reasons that can only be wrong, political and potentially cause harm to law-abiding citizens.
Yesterday, Mainers discovered that one of the state’s largest newspapers, the Bangor Daily News(BDN), through Freedom of Information Act powers, sought the names and personal information of concealed gun permit holders across the entire state. Within 24 hours BDN rescinded its requests due to the outrage of many citizens, including the Governor.
In an “Editor’s Note” published in the Bangor Daily News, the editor writes:
What has been heartening, however, are the dozens of calls and emails from readers about this issue. We’ve had many good conversations about our request, our intentions, and our commitment to privacy and security of the data.
Unfortunately, these conversations have been trumped by rampant misinformation about our request, as well as swift political opportunism. It’s clear that as a state, and as a nation, we still have much to do to generate light in this debate, instead of heat.
This statement is dishonest and hypocritical. While BDN may be telling people it has no intention of publishing a list of permit holders and their personal information, believing somehow this exonerates them of any wrongdoing or places them above common indecency, they fail to tell the public exactly what they need the information for and what their plans are with it. In a veiled attempt at that, BDN says it needs the information to “study issues.” And then do what with the information and the results of biased studies one need ask? This is dishonest at best.
The hypocrisy comes when the BDN editor accuses people angry at BDN’s possible intentions as “trumped up by rampant misinformation”, not that the BDN has ever done such a thing. The editor also claims that some of those opposed to BDN’s request for permit holder information are participating in “swift political opportunism.”
What I’d like to know is what BDN would like to call their actions, to acquire the names and addresses of every concealed carry permit holder for purposes that can only be political and potentially harmful, if it isn’t “swift political opportunism.”
BDN says they, “regrets that its request for information may have been taken as a personal attack on concealed carry permit holders…” When we consider the history of what has become of this sort of requested information, and considering the fact these are all good, lawful and upstanding citizens, how else are these permit holders supposed to have taken BDN’s actions if not a personal attack?
And then we ask, “Why is someone proposing a law to make it illegal to obtain this private information?”