Gun advocates are sometimes mocked as paranoid when they resist efforts to create national databases for gun registration. The piece below--reprinted with permission from Kevin Starrett of OFF--shows that you're not paranoid if people really are out to get you. (Or if you just have reasonable cause to think they are.)
The basis of the article is that Bob Hunter, editor of the Medford Mail Tribune, has demanded the local sheriff provide him with a list of names of everyone in Jackson County who has a concealed carry permit. Mr. Hunter has not explained what he intends to do with such a list but so far Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters has refused to comply.
Printing a list of concealed permit holders is the same as hanging out a sign begging someone to burglarize their house while they're not home or to expose them to sanctions in the workplace from biased or uneducated employers.
For those who do not follow this issue, understand that this is precisely the kind of thing that destroys dialog with gun owners and leads the pro-2nd Amendment community to say "I told you so" when it comes to gun registration and calls to close the so-called "gun show loophole."
Please note too--in pursuing this story, The Oregonian also did research to try to find teachers or school board members who also are concealed carry permit holders. The Oregonian had the good sense not to publish any of the names they found--for which they should be commended.
Original piece from the OFF website:
MEDFORD NEWSPAPER SUES TO GET NAMES OF GUN OWNERS
As you may have heard, the Medford Mail Tribune has sued to get the names of concealed handgun license holders.
This action was taken as a result of the lawsuit brought by a Medford teacher against the Medford school district. As you know, teacher Shirley Katz was suing to be allowed to carry her defensive firearm to work at Medford High School.
The Mail Tribune, which has repeatedly editorialized that licensed, trained adults should NOT be allowed to carry firearms on school property, believes that one of the ways to promote its anti-gun agenda is to intimidate gun owners by demanding that the Sheriff turn over the names of license holders.
What possible purpose this would serve, beyond invading the privacy of the most law abiding residents of Oregon, remains a mystery. But the Tribune's Editor, Bob Hunter is determined to proceed.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike WInters has so far refused, correctly pointing out the dangers this would present. “We were reluctant to hand over the names because we don’t want to make it easier for anybody who would use the information for harm in terms of credit card fraud or identity theft." Winters said.
Editor Bob Hunter believes that he has the right to those names for whatever purpose he chooses to use them. "This is information bought and paid for by the public, and the public has a right to it.” But of course, that's not true. The public did not buy and pay for this information. The information was paid for by the fees license holders are forced to pay to exercise a "right." But Bob goes on “It’s important for news media to take a stand on something like this because if public information is withheld in this way it will diminish the amount of public information the public is allowed to see,”
The truth is, whether it is legal for the press to obtain these names or not, (and attorneys have recently informed us it may NOT be legal) the only purpose being served is to chill the rights of gun owners. It would be no different if we published the home addresses and phone numbers of Tribune staff and hid behind the First Amendment.
While the Sheriff should be applauded for his efforts to protect license holders,Bob Hunter and the Mail Tribune and its advertisers should know that it's wrong to promote their anti self-defense crusade by threatening the privacy of gun owners.
You can contact Hunter by e-mail here firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail and phone here:Mail Tribune P.O. Box 1108 111 N. Fir St. Medford, OR 97501 541-776-4411
[End of article.]