Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's a Tennessee PSH-a-Thon

It seems that reporters in Nashville and Memphis have their knickers in a knot over Mark Norris' bill that would seal the list of Tennessee's Handgun Carry Permit holders, preventing the "gotcha" journalism that the Tennessean and other newspapers have practiced over the years.

The Commercial Appeal's Editorial Board starts out thusly:

Want to know if any felons in your neighborhood have gun permits? Legislation sponsored by Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, would make that information secret.
Scary, huh? Hell, it would scare me if I didn't know that felons can't get a carry permit, nor can they own guns. Not until after they jump through the necessary hoops to have their rights of citizenship restored, anyway. If this were to happen, that means:

the Attorney General determines that the person is not likely to act in a manner dangerous to the public safety and granting relief would not be contrary to the public interest
Not very scary now, is it? Ok, moving along we see the Tennessean has this to say:

Several handgun bills, including one that would have allowed diners to carry guns into restaurants, were killed last week in the General Assembly. This bill should meet a similar fate.
And this:

This newspaper strongly believes that certain public records should be open, and that includes conceal-and-carry gun permits. If a citizen does not want anyone to know that he or she has such a permit from the state, that person should do without such a weapon.

That's right, if you don't want thieves, stalkers, jealous ex's, and other ne'er-do-wells knowing how much of a risk you are, then don't get a permit.

Of course, the Editorial Board is letting their bias show, as a permit has nothing to do with owning a weapon. But that's what they really think - you shouldn't have a weapon anyway.

In a second article, the Tennessean says:

The records of everyone licensed to carry a handgun in Tennessee would be sealed from public view by a proposal working its way through the legislature.
As we all this:

For advocates of open government, it's the latest in a depressing national trend.
Depressing how? Because you can't make those mean, nasty gun-nuts a little uncomfortable by publishing a "come steal my guns" list?

Understand this, such a list also can be called a "I'm not armed, come kill me" list.

There are valid arguments for not closing the list to the public, such as:

"This is information about who is being licensed to have a special permit in your state, through an agency paid for with your taxpayer dollars," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press, based in Virginia. "Why wouldn't you want to know that?"
What I don't want is an unsolicited list put out for everyone to see. If an individual wants to find out if so-and-so is a permit holder, fine. Go find out, much the same way Feinstein and Schumer were outed as a permit holders. That's fine, and an appropriate way to both honor my privacy and the public's right to know.

UPDATE: Uncle has more.

I can't help but think most MSM types are more worried about not being able to "out" permit holders rather than it being an issue of transparent government.

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