Dipstick reporter publishes list of Concealed Carry Permit holders

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http://www.roanoke.com/editorials/trejbal/wb/108160


Today is the start of Sunshine Week, the annual week in which we reflect on the importance of open government and public records. To mark the occasion, I want to take you on an excursion into freedom of information land. We're going to find out who in the New River Valley has a concealed handgun permit.

I can hear the shocked indignation of gun-toters already: It's nobody's business but mine if I want to pack heat.

Au contraire. Because the government handles the permitting, it is everyone's business.

There are good reasons the records are open to public scrutiny. People might like to know if their neighbors carry. Parents might like to know if a member of the car pool has a pistol in the glove box. Employers might like to know if employees are bringing weapons to the office.

And all Virginians have a stake in checking that their government is not making mistakes, for example, by issuing permits to convicted felons. Open records allow the media or any private citizen to check.

This is not about being for or against guns. There are plenty of reasons people choose to carry weapons: fear of a violent ex-lover, concern about criminals or worry that the king of England might try to get into your house. There are plenty of reasons to question the wisdom of widespread gun ownership, too.

But that's a debate for another time.

To illustrate the open government process, I set out to acquire permit lists for the New River Valley.

I first called the local circuit court clerks charged with overseeing permitting. They were helpful, as far as they could be.


Only Radford and Floyd County said they could produce a list. Giles County maintains an unofficial list but could not produce an official one. Montgomery and Pulaski counties had squat. The best they could do is determine if a specific individual had a permit.

None of that conflicts with the law. The records must be available but not necessarily in the format citizens want.

Fortunately, one of the clerks tipped me off to another avenue. The state police, she thought, maintained a master list.

I called Richmond and found out that yes, they did have a statewide list. Bingo!

Then another lesson of open government hit. A copy would cost more than $100.

Any Virginian can show up at a government office and request a public document. If it is something simple such as a council agenda, officials usually gladly duplicate it, maybe charging a few cents for the photocopy.

If it is something more complicated, government agencies may charge for the time and effort to prepare the records. In the case of concealed handgun permits, state police need to weed through them to cut out some personal data, which takes staff time.

A state that eagerly puts sex offender data online complete with an interactive map could easily do the same with gun permits, but it does not.

I bit the bullet and placed my order, saving the paper a few bucks by taking a Jan. 18 list officials had recently prepared for someone else.

The compact disc arrived last week. Names, addresses, issue and expiration dates.

About 2 percent of Virginians, 135,789 of us, have concealed handgun permits. In the New River Valley, 3,826 people have them, a slightly higher rate than in the rest of the state.

I immediately started checking some names. Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer, no permit. Pulaski County Supervisor Dean Pratt, packing. Radford University President Penelope Kyle, no permit. Giles County Supervisor Paul "Chappy" Baker, packing.

Some of the names proved tricky. Dana Dwayne Munsey of Pembroke has a permit. Is that Mayor Munsey? Standoffish town officials wouldn't provide a middle name or address for confirmation, and the listed phone number is disconnected.

The list sports a dismayingly large number of typos for an official registry -- four different spellings of "Christiansburg," for example.

Local celebrities generally don't carry, but at least a half dozen elected officials do. I'll leave it to readers to figure out which ones so you can avoid annoying them at meetings.

As a Sunshine Week gift, The Roanoke Times has placed the entire database, mistakes and all, online at www.roanoke.com/gunpermits. You can search to find out if neighbors, carpool partners, elected officials or anyone else has permission to carry a gun.

Open government laws arose from distrust of government. They guarantee citizens can watch what government does in their names, including issuing gun permits.
 
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IIRC, a number of years ago the Boston Globe had planned to do the same thing
but a late file bill by GOAL prevented them from doing so.
 
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Sure.. the bad guys certainly need a new source of firearms. Pathetic. Oh, and what the hell good would "concealment" do if everone knows... I guess a bg might not know you but you might as well open carry on the next car pool with the neighborhood kids.
 
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What a flaming dumb ass. I sent him an email cc'ed to the editor. He won't get it. He'll surely be back with another thinly veiled anti-2a opinion.
 

JonJ

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How would he feel about a list of all HIV infected persons or a list of all people who receive public assistance?
Even though the list has been pulled, the damage has been done.
 
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wouldn't it be funny if the bg's used the list to see who didn't own a firearm and then target those houses.....lmao!!!!!
 
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daveInME

A state that eagerly puts sex offender data online complete with an interactive map could easily do the same with gun permits, but it does not.

let's see, last time I checked one group went to jail for a crime and the other group didn't. nope can't see any difference between the 2.
 
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If I were a vindictive person, I'd wish that if one of those folks whose names were published were unfortunate enough to have been robbed of their firearms because of that published list, that one of those firearms would eventually be used by the perp in a crime against that reporter.
 

SnakeEye

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my god, talk about manifest destiny on the part of the antis.
why not just rob those houses and give the guns to criminals themselves and skip the middle man.
and whats this
But people have notified us that the list includes names that should not have been released ,” said Debbie Meade, president and publisher of The Roanoke Times. “Out of a sense of caution and concern for the public we have decided to take the database off of our website.”
are some people entitled to privacy while others arent?
are these the names addresses and phone number of police narcotics detectives?
judges? politicians?
hippocracy of the highest order.
 
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Wouldn't it be amusing, and in the public interest, if some industrious Roanoka resident will find the names, home addresses and phone numbers of all the reporters at that paper and release them?

If something happens to any of the people on the carry permit list, I hope they sue the crap out the paper!

Mortis - Fine Firefly quote! I have the series on DVD and took a break this weekend to rewatch the entire series.
 
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Rob Boudrie

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Keeping the names secret sounds like a good idea, however, the flip side is that it becomes very difficult for out side to examine who is getting the permits in the "may issue" states. In "may issue" states, confidentiality allows the issuing authority to chant the "objective standard" mantra while concurrently issuing permits to persons of power, priviliger or influence. (Sort of like how Sean Penn, who has had some legal run ins was evaluated as "very impressive" by the NYPD firearms licensing interviewer before getting his unrestricted NYC carry permit).
 
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I could not resist sending him an email, I stole some of you guy's ideas hope you dont mind. Anyways here is what i wrote to him.


Dear Mr. Trejbal

Even though I completely disagree with your view of concealed carry which is obvious from this article, I will not berate you but I will point out a few things. First how dear you compare CCW holders with the likes of sexual predators, I know you will say it was just an example but we all know what you meant. Second if you are so into your crusade to bring to light government info why don't you print a list of welfare recipients, or HIV positive people who get government help, or illegal aliens who get assistance. You have an agenda that has nothing to do with open government it has to do with your dislike for guns. Last by giving out this list you have allowed criminals the chance to look at it. I know most are not smart enough to use it but if they do you have just given them the means to steal people's firearms or to target people they know are not carrying. Good job Mr. Trejbal, you have put people at risk!

I hope that someday if you are in need of help that CCW holder is there to save you or your family and then maybe you will understand why responsible and lawful people choose to arm themselves.

Thank You
Mike

P.S. You should also take a look at the results to the poll on your article web page, it would seem that you have very little support.
 
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Keeping the names secret sounds like a good idea, however, the flip side is that it becomes very difficult for out side to examine who is getting the permits in the "may issue" states. In "may issue" states, confidentiality allows the issuing authority to chant the "objective standard" mantra while concurrently issuing permits to persons of power, priviliger or influence. (Sort of like how Sean Penn, who has had some legal run ins was evaluated as "very impressive" by the NYPD firearms licensing interviewer before getting his unrestricted NYC carry permit).


I think that just shows how bad "may issue" is and how we need to keep fighting for "shall Issue" or Vermont style laws. But I do understand your point I just think it should be private.
 

Chris

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Actually, printing a list of people who have carry permits in Virginia does NOT show who doesn't have a gun. In Virginia, it is legal to have a gun in your house without a permit. In fact, in just about every other state you can own all the guns you want with NO LICENSE. It's just the ability to carry it loaded in public that is licensed.

So, that list ONLY helped to tell other ANTI-GUN people who around them are "EVIL". In my opinion, all they did was publish a list of those people who have PROVEN they are the most law abiding citizens there are.

Police in this state can use their in-car computers to look up people and addresses to see if a firearm permit was issued. If a rookie did that and based his actions on the result of such a look-up, his senior partner should dope slap him for being so freaking stupid. Every officer I know IGNORES that data because it tells them NOTHING.Just because a person or address doesn't have a license doesn't mean he isn't armed. And Just because a person or address DOES show a license doesn't mean the person is or isn't a threat.
 

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A FL newspaper published the list of all CCW holders in their county, including name, address, DOB (might have had phone too, don't recall).

A "fire mission" was called on CombatCarry.com and the reporter and editor's personal info was published online. They got "lots of feedback" and some threats. They finally pulled the list (it was on their website for a while).

FL recently passed a law to make the info private. Up until then it was public unless the person was in LE, corrections, judges, DAs, etc.

Those that publish this info have a mission:

- They are antis,
- They want to ostracize legal gun owners amongst their friends, relatives and employers,
- They want to make it so more people will NOT get CCW/LTCs for fear of being outed,
- They don't care if they help crooks break-in to homes to steal guns or harm people, as this will help feed their anti-agenda.

Just because something is legal (release of names in some states) does NOT make it a good idea. However, ethics in news reporting has fallen into the toilet in most venues over the past 10-20 years.
 
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It was way back in NES' early days but I posted a link to an article published in Florida with a list outing all sorts of concealed permits, including that of Andy Gibbs from Bee Gees fame...

I think it's an invasion of privacy.
 

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SR, I think we are talking about the same "list".

It also included women who were trying to hide their addresses from "vengeful ex's". Great way to increase the homicides in their area!! [rolleyes] [rolleyes]
 

KMaurer

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SR, I think we are talking about the same "list".

It also included women who were trying to hide their addresses from "vengeful ex's". Great way to increase the homicides in their area!! [rolleyes] [rolleyes]

<div class="sarcasm"> See! We told you that having a gun increases you chances of getting killed. [rolleyes] </div>

Ken
 
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Now, now...it's not the writer's fault. He's in Roanoke...it's close to West Virginia...that's gotta be his problem. (and unless you've been to VA, you may not appreciate that. [laugh] )
 

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The next time some liberal/socialist comes up with the bright idea to publish a list of concealed carry permit holders - or gun license holders of any type - we ought to push for the publishing of a list of welfare recipients - grouped by party affiliation, and then a list of taxpayers grouped by amount of money paid - and by political party affiliation.

My bet is that the lower paying taxpayers are predominantly Democrats - and the welfare recipients are predominantly Democrats.

That might at least expose these people for what they are - a bunch of thieves on the public dole.
 
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Just checked it out. They removed due to safety concerns.

VA State Law said:
§ 19.2-11.2. Crime victim's right to nondisclosure of certain information; exceptions; testimonial privilege.

That might be why, people that are victims are definately somewhere on that list, letting their prior attacker (perhaps an ex with a violent streak, perhaps a stalker) know they are armed, and providing contact info. I hope this reporter gets sued into the poor house. I'm all for freedom of the press and freedom of information, but with that power comes responsibility that this reporter obviously mistook for his/er own personal soap box...
 
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