Tennessee Newspaper Posts Database Of Area Concealed Carry Permit Holders On Website. Claims Public Need To Know Trumps Privacy

2-16-09

A few months ago a Memphis Tennessee newspaper decided to post a searchable database of area citizens who lawfully possess a concealed weapons permit as a (to date) permanent part of their site. When the commercialappeal.com first posted the database information such as date of birth and addressed were available. They have since removed access to that information probably due to vociferous reader backlash.

The state of Tennessee had this to say about the newspaper’s posting of the searchable database:

NASHVILLE — Public complaints have recently been directed to the Department of Safety over the release of personal information from a searchable database of handgun permit holders on the Memphis Commercial Appeal website http://www.commercialappeal.com/data/. The searchable database can be found on the newspaper’s Data Center webpage and offers users to “find out who in your community is licensed to carry a weapon”.
The Department of Safety appreciates the privacy concerns of Tennessee’s handgun permit holders; however, Tennessee Code 10-7-503 provides that all state records are open to inspection to any Tennessee citizen and the agency in charge of the records cannot deny access to them unless otherwise provided by state law. Currently, there is no state law which prohibits the disclosure of handgun permit records. Therefore, if a newspaper or other person makes a public records act request, the Department provides the following handgun permit information:

Full Name
DOB
Address
Zip Code
County
Issue Date
Expiration Date

While the Department of Safety Office of Public Affairs complies with state law by providing the handgun information from the handgun database upon request, we do not control whether media outlets such as the Commercial Appeal decide to publish the database on their public websites.

In 2007, the Nashville Tennessean published the handgun permit database on its website before shutting the information down within hours of making it public.

Apparently this posting had been sitting in relative obscurity on the site until an incident took place with a 59 year old concealed carry permit holder allegedly shooting someone in a parking lot. The news site reported the shooting was supposedly over one guy parking too close to another guy’s vehicle, the type of argument that happens a million times a day in this country without anyone getting shot. In fact one is much more likely to get their lights punched out in a situation like this than get shot at and that threat by itself keeps most people from attempting to get all jiggy with one another over parking arrangements.

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Since it is extremely rare to hear of a CCW holder going off the deep end (crime rates involving gun owners with carry permits have consistently been about 0.02% of all carry permit holders since Florida’s right-to-carry law started in 1988) over something so minor as a parking spot I suspect there is much more to this story which will come out as the trial starts to unfold. This man’s carry permit information available through the site would not have made an iota of difference in this particular instance.

It doesn’t take a lifelong Mensa member to realize that firearm owners, especially those who’s name can now be easily researched because they were granted a concealed carry permit, have been outraged over this unnecessary publicity stunt by this website and they are letting the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper executives know about it, to the tune of over 600 emails a day.

The commercialappeal.com’s response as to why they felt the public needed to be informed of who has gone through the process of obtaining a concealed weapons permit?

Well according to editor Chris Peck, (peck@commercialappeal.com)

“To begin with, the permit-to-carry law helps identify responsible gun owners. If you are a felon, have committed a crime with a gun, have a history of mental problems, etc., you can’t get a permit. That’s good for society.” Posting a searchable database of responsible gun owners simply to “identify them” serves absolutely no purpose other than to “out them” and hopefully (for the anti-gun zealots working for the newspaper) put them on the defensive with neighbors, coworkers and anyone else they may come in contact with on a day to day basis. Obviously convicted felons and others deemed legally unable to secure a concealed carry permit are already prevented from doing so BY LAW without having to post a list of people with lawfully acquired permits. …ed

“Next, violation of the permit-to-carry law can lead to an arrest. In other words, somebody stopped for a traffic violation or frisked at a bar, who has a gun but no permit, can be busted right there. Another plus.” It has been illegal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit, and people have been getting arrested for this crime, for decades so again posting this database accomplishes nothing. …ed

“News events like the Feb. 6 shooting at Trinity Commons shopping center led many people to wonder, logically and instantly, who else might be packing a gun.”
What are the odds of someone searching through a list of concealed carry permit holders then being able to point someone out, from the list, while in the parking lot of a restaurant if this person is personally unknown to the reader of the information? …ed

“A mom might now check the list to see if the parents at her kid’s sleep-over next door had a concealed weapon permit. If so, maybe it would be worth talking to them to make sure the gun is locked up.” Maybe the mom should be concerned about the sleepover hosts being sexual perverts since far more kids are molested by people known to them than shot by anyone, period. …ed

child_death_causation

The statistics say that one out of every three to four girls has been sexually assaulted by the age of 18. One boy out of every six will be abused by the age of 18. The FBI reports that the National Institute for Mental Health found that only 1% to 10% of victims ever tell that they were abused. Boys report far less than girls.

* The average child molester will molest fifty girls before being caught and convicted.
* A child molester that seeks out boys will molest 150 boys before being caught and convicted and he will commit at least 280 sexual crimes in his lifetime.
* The standard pedophile will commit 117 sexual crimes in their lifetime.
* Most sexual abuse happens between the ages of 7 and 13.
* There are over 491,720 registered sex offenders in the United States.
* 80,000 to 100,000 of the above offenders are missing.
* Molesters known by the family or victim are the most common abusers. The “Acquaintance Molester” accounts for 70-90% of reported cases.
Just how many folks think people have the onions to ask another child’s parents if they are perverts before allowing their kids to spend the night? …ed

“A school official, concerned about whether teachers were bringing guns onto school grounds, might check the list to see whether anyone on the staff has a permit to carry, and then have a discussion about it.” Laws allowing teachers to carry a weapon, with a concealed weapons permit or not, on school grounds are nonexistent in this country with the exception of one very small district in Texas. This newspaper must know that. The vast majority of the indoctrinators teachers in the country are rabidly liberal and anti-gun and even a hint that one of their coworkers was packing heat would result in said teacher quickly ratted out, forcibly removed from their classroom and getting stripped searched in the hallway by the local police. Of course all of the mentally challenged homicidally inclined among us know that the nation’s halls of learning are a prime place to commit some serious carnage due to this no-guns-allowed-for-educators rule and that is what gives us all of these mass killings at our schools and other “Gun Free Zones. …ed

“Business people who sell goods and services that might be of interest to those who carry concealed weapons might use the list to generate new leads.”
Stupid, lame and laughable. Enough said. …ed

“But there is one overriding, enduring reason the permit-to-carry list needs to be public. Once a concealed weapon is pulled out at a shopping center, a hospital or a business, what happens next with that gun becomes a matter of public concern to everyone.” I again reference my previous statement that crime rates involving gun owners with carry permits have consistently been about 0.02% of all carry permit holders since Florida’s right-to-carry law started in 1988. What is an overriding, enduring concern to the public are the punk gangbangers and other criminals who acquire their weapons illegally and shoot indiscriminately in shopping centers, hospitals, businesses and neighborhoods. Any newspaper reporter worth a damn in crime ridden Memphis should know that is the real problem in that city not law abiding concealed carry permitted citizens worried about being accosted by thugs who could give a flying flip about firearm laws. …ed

As can be seen by the responses to the article in the commercialappeal.com where the editor tried to explain to those that didn’t see his wisdom in posting the searchable database of concealed carry permit holders they were flat wrong, few if any supported the newspaper’s position. Keep in mind websites can easily manipulate how many and which comments will be published so I find it hard to believe, especially in light of their admission that 600+ emails a day have been flowing into the paper’s email box, that only 74 (as of this writing) responses have been posted after the article.

Since the newspaper’s editor is so concerned about the citizen’s right to know, I thought it would be interesting to search the commercialappeal.com’s site to see if I could find a database providing the names of local welfare recipients. Unbelievably (sarcasm intended) I couldn’t find any hint of this type of information available anywhere on the website. Since it is the wallets of the people who live in the state that get raided for this public service it would seem immanently reasonable that the public should be able to see just who is receiving the benefits via an easily viewed database on a local newspaper’s website.

I wonder how quickly editor Chris Peck would be willing to jump on that proposal? Never mind, there’s probably some kind of law making it illegal to release the names of people on public aid.

This entry was posted in 2nd Amendment.

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