A little background first. Some time back a Times editorial staffer, Christian Trejbal, decided it would be great fun to publish the entire concealed carry permit holder database, just because he could, and because it would really piss off those "gun nuts" out there in Timesland.
Well, not only "gun nuts" thought Mister Trejbal was being way too irresponsible, so did Attorney General Bob McDonnell, who advised the state police to shut off public access to its database. At about that same time, House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith said, "I think the real concern here was that there were a lot of people on that list who were victims of crime, who had been stalked or who had been in abusive situations." The last thing anyone being protected by a restraining order wants is to have their current home address published in a local newspaper.
Another thing that Mister Trejbal and the Times did not consider was the criminal mind. Most concealed carry permit holders do not own just one weapon, instead being much more likely to have many left at home not being carried. Publishing those names and addresses was simply advertising to burglars and other assorted creeps where they could go, in the daytime hours, and likely find all the weapons they may want. In that single action the Times and Trejbal did more to undermine background checks than all the "gunshow loopholes" they constantly whine about.
Now, back to what I've been thinking about. There is draft legislation set to come up in this GA session that will make the Attorney General's recommendation law. And the Move-on Times does not like it. After their initial blunder causing the entire episode, and after agreeing that publishing the database was a mistake, they now want to weaken the proposed law in order to make it easier to get this data.
People need access -- not to satisfy idle curiosity about who of their acquaintances might be carrying, though public records can be used that way. Rather, public access acts as an important check on government.[link]My question is, unless I am (choose one);
- a liberal writer looking to sensationalize an editorial, or
- a burglar looking for likely addresses, or
- an abusive ex, looking for a current address, or
- just plain nosy