Thursday, March 07, 2013

Concealed: Most states keep handgun ownership and permit records confidential

Few states make public the names and addresses of people who hold permits to own handguns or carry concealed deadly weapons, and the number keeps dwindling as legislators face more pressure from the public.

Once new state laws go into effect, only five states — Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia — will provide public access to information about concealed carry permits, reports. And North Carolina is expected to pass a bill limiting access to its records. Ohio allows journalists to look at records, but they can not copy or remove the information, Stateline's Jim Malewitz reports.

Some states are citing safety concerns in their pursuit of confidentiality. “Guns, pharmaceuticals and electronics are the primary things burglars are looking for when they rob a house,” William Lamberth, a Republican state representative and former prosecutor who is pushing a bill in Tennessee that would seal personal information about those permitted to carry handguns, told Malewitz. “Once the list is out there, there’s no way to get it back in the bottle.”

Two months ago The Journal News drew national attention and much public criticism for publishing an online map of permit holders in suburban New York City's Westchester and Rockland counties. Since publication of the story, four states have blocked public access to gun records. (Read more)

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