Privacy vs. the Right to Know

This is a discussion on Privacy vs. the Right to Know within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The Roanoke Times , April 10, 2007 The General Assembly needs to strike a delicate balance in dealing with whether a list of concealed carry ...

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Thread: Privacy vs. the Right to Know

  1. #1
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    Privacy vs. the Right to Know

    The Roanoke Times, April 10, 2007

    The General Assembly needs to strike a delicate balance in dealing with whether a list of concealed carry holders should be public.

    The decision of the Virginia State Police to close its list of residents licensed to carry a concealed weapon is unfortunate, but it probably won't be the final word.

    Perhaps the General Assembly can bring better clarity to the situation next year.

    This editorial page bears no small measure of responsibility for this decision -- which comes after Attorney General Bob McDonnell issued an opinion at the request of Del. Dave Nutter, R-Christiansburg.

    Nutter was reacting to outrage prompted by our online publication of a database of concealed carry holders in the state in conjunction with an editorial writer's column marking Sunshine Week, a celebration of open government.

    As we noted previously, we made errors in judgment and process in the original decision to put the database online: We should have given fuller thought to the potential safety concerns of concealed carry holders who were law enforcement officers or victims of crimes and domestic violence, and we should have had a more compelling public purpose for posting the list.

    But our mistakes cannot justify closing the door on this information.

    There are important reasons for the public to know who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

    By matching a similar list against other databases, for instance, reporters for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel were able to find that more than 1,400 convicted felons, including sex offenders, had managed to get a concealed carry permit. Hundreds of others kept their permits despite convictions for behaving recklessly with firearms.

    Virginia may not have that problem, but if this list remains shrouded in secrecy, there will be no way to verify that.

    The General Assembly should make changes in the law. State police should be able to redact the names of crime victims and law enforcement officers before releasing the list, for instance.

    But a blanket ban on release of the list will not serve the public.

    In his opinion, McDonnell said the state police had the "discretionary authority" to release the list, but also the responsibility not to release "sensitive personal information when the interests of public safety demand discretion."

    As Frosty Landon, head of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government said, "We've got to be very careful that the law is clear, and bureaucrats aren't left scratching their heads as to what is sensitive personal information and what isn't."

    The General Assembly will undoubtedly address this issue next session.

    Legislators will be challenged to find a way to balance the valid concerns of law-abiding permit holders who have reason to fear for their safety if their personal information is made too readily available against the public's need and right to know whether the wrong people have been able to obtain concealed carry permits.

    Open government is a vital principle in a democracy. When government is by the assent of the people, the presumption should always be against the government withholding information from the people.

    The real world, of course, can be more complicated than that. The difficult task facing legislators will be thoughtfully consider competing interests and concerns.
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    Distinguished Member Array Dakotaranger's Avatar
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    I have a suggestion that would nullify this whole arguement (yes I know it will never happen): All the states should revert to what the founders believed and allow the citizenry to carry without holding up their hands to ask permision of the government to excerise their God-given rite of self-preservation.
    "[T]he people are not to be disarmed of their weapons.
    They are left in full possession of them."

    Zacharia Johnson (speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention,25 June 1778)"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." ~Alexander Hamilton

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    Distinguished Member Array SonofASniper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dakotaranger View Post
    I have a suggestion that would nullify this whole arguement (yes I know it will never happen): All the states should revert to what the founders believed and allow the citizenry to carry without holding up their hands to ask permision of the government to excerise their God-given rite of self-preservation.
    Amen!
    I will support gun control when you can guarantee all guns are removed from this planet. That includes military and law enforcement. When you can accomplish that, then I will be the last person to lay down my gun. Then I will carry the weapon that replaces the gun.

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    Here in Ohio we just modified our CCW law to give the license holder the authority to decide if his or her name can be released to the media.

    Needless to say, my name won't be in any newspaper.

    What a bunch of ****tards and hypocrites these newspapermen are. Screw the 2nd Amendment, but don't you dare restrict the 1st.

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    Member Array Ranger's Avatar
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    The public's right to know should just be accompanied by the assumption that since we have a Right to Keep and Bear Arms - that everyone is armed. Just assume that, and you've covered the bases.

    Or release the list of those prohibitted to carry, since they've already committed a crime, and we have not!

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    Senior Member Array jeep45238's Avatar
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    Publishing the names of holders is stupid. It is an invasion of privacy as state, but is also an issue of personal and community saftey.

    Listing names of folks (and as some Ohio papers did, their zip codes), you're making it very easy for somebody (criminal) to look in the phone book or on google for their address. Gee, CHL holder, address, think they'll have at LEAST one gun in there to steal?

    And our elected officials can't get into their heads that registration, etc. won't do anything because criminals do not purchase guns from stores and pass background checks.

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    Senior Member Array TonyW's Avatar
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    While I understand that there has to be a balance on who can get information I see no valid reason why anyone would publish an entire list of concealed carry holders in a newspaper. If, as the article mentions, there are people that have or still have their permit when they should not then publish that list. Those are the law breakers. There is no reason, except malice IMO, to list names and addresses (they did include addresses in this list?) of honest people like this.

    And this quote really burned me, if you are a cop of a battered woman I guess you get consideration. Not normal folks.

    We should have given fuller thought to the potential safety concerns of concealed carry holders who were law enforcement officers or victims of crimes and domestic violence, and we should have had a more compelling public purpose for posting the list.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dakotaranger View Post
    All the states should revert to what the founders believed and allow the citizenry to carry without holding up their hands to ask permision of the government to excerise their God-given rite of self-preservation.
    Dakotaranger for PREZ!!! (ballot write-in)
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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Police Officers are Public Servants- we have a right to know where they live.....right? See how far that gets....

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    (In Florida) more than 1,400 convicted felons, including sex offenders, had managed to get a concealed carry permit. Hundreds of others kept their permits despite convictions for behaving recklessly with firearms.
    IF this statement is correct (is it?), the background check and legal process should have prevented permit issue or caused revocation, thus removing any reasonable justification for publication of the list.

    C

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    There are important reasons for the public to know who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

    By matching a similar list against other databases, for instance, reporters for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel were able to find that more than 1,400 convicted felons, including sex offenders, had managed to get a concealed carry permit. Hundreds of others kept their permits despite convictions for behaving recklessly with firearms.

    Virginia may not have that problem, but if this list remains shrouded in secrecy, there will be no way to verify that.
    The bold part above is a LIE! Yes, there were 1400 people who had been CHARGED with a felony, but they either plead 'No Contest' &/or the crimes were REDUCED to misdemeanors. They were NOT convicted of felonies! Now, if they think that these people should be disqualified, that should be addressed by LAW, not by their opinion.

    If these 1400 are BGs then they should not have been allowed to plead to lesser offenses!
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

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    The Florida incidents are complicated. The whole thing was on the papers and if I remeber correctly, the people had plea agreements and did not show as a conviction. The paper had court papers with them accused, but not convicted. It is a technicality, but never the less a problem.

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    Member Array MD_Willington's Avatar
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    CCW should be private, just like medical records, otherwise those with deadly STD's should also be listed as well, they have the potential to do more harm in what lifetime they have left compared to my sidearm, ie dead PDQ compared to a lingering death do to unknown HIV infection etcetera...

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Where do they come up with this "Right to know"? Is there anything they don't have a right to know? Does the public have a right to know the reporters and editors home addresses and phone numbers? How about the names of their children and where they go to school? Where does their right to know end and my right to privacy begin?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    Where do they come up with this "Right to know"? Is there anything they don't have a right to know? Does the public have a right to know the reporters and editors home addresses and phone numbers? How about the names of their children and where they go to school? Where does their right to know end and my right to privacy begin?
    (Sarcasm) That's easy...they have the right to know everything about you and me, but we have no right to know anything about them. They're better and more important than we are. We should just shut up and pay our taxes.... (Sarcasm off)

    Don't you just love all those superior beings who know, like our Congress, that laws are for other people? (with apologies to Jeffrey Snyder)

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