Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shedding the Light on Concealed Handguns - Again

The same post at The War on Guns that prompted the rant below also reminded me of this. For those who don't remember, or aren't from here in the Blacksburg/Roanoke area, Christian Trejbal wrote a column on March 11, 2007 called Shedding Light On Concealed Handguns, in which, as part of "reflect[ing] on the importance of open government and public records" he used the process of obtaining a statewide list of concealed handgun permit holders to demonstrate how open government is beneficial. Then he published the entire list on the paper's website, complete with addresses!

Needless to say, a great public outcry followed. (The paper's blog comments are here.) One of the loudest outcries was that many of the people on the list had a permit because of an abusive ex-spouse or ex-significant other, who now had access to their most recent address. The outcry was such that the Roanoke Times removed the list the next day. They claim they did so because:
“When we posted the information, we had every reason to believe that the data the State Police had supplied would comply with the statutes. But people have notified us that the list includes names that should not have been released,” said Debbie Meade, president and publisher of The Roanoke Times. “Out of a sense of caution and concern for the public we have decided to take the database off of our website.”

Probably just to avoid lawsuits when some ex-spouse goes to his ex's home and attacks her because he got the address from their site.

It looks like the Medford Mail Tribune is getting ready to do the same thing, and they've won the court case to get the list. For the whole story, go to The War on Guns.

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