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A while back, The Tennessean decided it would publish a database of people who held handgun carry permits. Oopsy ensued and they pulled it. Seems people didn’t like their private particulars published. Now, our state legislature is pushing a bill to seal those records:

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.

The bill, sponsored by state Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, and state Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, would make Tennessee the 28th state in the nation to make secret its list of residents who have applied for or received a handgun-carry or concealed-carry permit. Several other states have similar bills in the works.

Such legislation keeps popping up in states where some idiot (like Christian Trejbal) decides to publish this stuff. Thanks to the Tennessean, that’s looking to be the case in our state soon. Tennessee’s law goes a bit further:

Tennessee takes its privacy plans a step further – threatening journalists with jail time if they publish information from the permit records…


An Editorial in Bristol notes:

Last month, an investigative television reporter in Nashville reported that the state of Tennessee had issued gun-carry permits to convicted felons, including a child rapist.

First I’ve heard of it. Anyone have a link? Continuing:

That’s because the Tennessee Department of Safety admitted that it accepted at face value an applicant’s word that he or she had not been convicted of a felony.

Really? Because they are required by law to do background checks. So, I find that odd. Anyway, on to the meat of the article:

Under proposed legislation slated to go before the Tennessee Senate today, reporter Phil Williams of WTVF-NewsChannel 5 would be subject to a Class E felony for airing that report. His punishment upon conviction? Up to several years in prison and a large fine.

You read that right: A handful of Tennessee legislators essentially are trying to use the Second Amendment to blast away at the First Amendment.

Forgive me for not being too sympathetic since the press has been using the first amendment to blast away the second for a while. I mean, there’s whole blogs dedicated to that subject. Continuing:

The gun-permit law appears to be a ploy to punish the media for the prior sins of two newspapers – The Tennessean in Nashville and The Roanoke Times in Virginia. Both published online searchable databases of gun-permit holders before quickly removing the data. In Roanoke’s case, it published the names and home addresses of law enforcement officers and judges.

It was a boneheaded decision made in the name of open government, but the First Amendment doesn’t just protect intelligent judgments made in newsrooms.

I concur and it is boneheaded. But I still have a great deal of trouble mustering up any bit of sympathy at all since daily newspapers are filled with editorials and screeds about how various things involving guns should be illegal and people should go to jail for them. You know, little technical things. When it comes to gun laws, the enthusiast acts at his peril.

Now, don’t get my wrong, the jail time thing is dumb. But when you have idiotic decisions made by editorial boards that threaten someone’s privacy and safety, people get a little snippy and react.

11 Responses to “Consequences”

  1. DirtCrashr Says:

    It’s a “Public Safety” issue – some burglar (or annoying loudmouth bigot newspaperman) might get shot.

  2. JKB Says:

    “In Roanoke’s case, it published the names and home addresses of law enforcement officers and judges.”

    Of course, they left out they also published the names and addresses of women who had gotten carry permits to protect themselves should their stalker get their new address by, I don’t know maybe, it being published in the newspaper. I’m sure they would have played the battered women and children card if it wouldn’t have made the law seem reasonable.

  3. Cactus Jack Says:

    “Now, don’t get my wrong, the jail time thing is dumb. But when you have idiotic decisions made by editorial boards that threaten someone’s privacy and safety, people get a little snippy and react.”

    Personally, I have no problem with jail time for those lying jackals. The rights covered by the first ammendment do NOT give the media the right to invade people’s privacy and/or endanger them.

    Furthermore, I believe that if someone gets attcked in their home because the media published that homeowner’s address that the people who published the list should be considered accessories to the crime and be delt with accordingly.

  4. Joe Huffman Says:

    I always question why the home addresses of “law enforcement officers and judges” should be any more private than anyone else. If, for whatever reason, want to keep as low a profile as our public servants then why shouldn’t I be allowed to?

  5. ColtCCO Says:

    Yeah, WVLT (Channel 8) just interviewed me about that, and about charging $15 for sheriff’s dept. background checks on HCP apps. Ought to be on tonight.


  6. ColtCCO Says:

    That’s ( Channel 8 ) not Channel 8) . I don’t particularly think they’re 8) , quite the opposite at times.

  7. workinwifdakids Says:

    If lying were whoring, every American reporter would walk bow-legged.

    This idea that they have a Constitutional right to do anything, no matter how illegal, no matter how morally repugnant, and no matter how dangerous, has got to stop. They could run the story on that felon without a specific name, and nothing whatsoever would happen. It’s a red herring. These wailing columnists also didn’t say anything was ‘boneheaded’ about Trejbal’s decision when he released the names of abused women in hiding, so my sympathy meter’s pegged at empty on that one.

    The Orwelian media has been elbowing to become some modern-day Aztec priest for fifty years, sacrificing honesty and impartiality at the altar of power. The American people have awakened, realizing that the blood the media has shed hasn’t turned our fortune, and maybe the New Priesthood has some other motive. Don’t worry: that sound you hear? It’s just a toilet flushing.

  8. straightarrrow Says:

    Cactus Jack covered it.

  9. Ron W Says:

    Well-said, Cactus Jack>

    I wonder if the Tennessean editorial writers (notice they don’t attach names to their editorials) would be happy having to obtian a state permit to exercise their First Amendment rights, as gunowners must to carry for self-defense? Then would they want the government to make their info availabel in violation of thier right to be private in their effects? Probably not.

    I do think the onus of a law should be on the government to keep our permit info confidential. Just as with me being a healthcare professional, I msut by law keep patient info confidential. I wouldn’t infringe of First Amendtment rights IF they published released information, jsut as I wold expect them to respect my 2nd Amendment and 4th Amendment right to be private in my self-defense “effects”.

    Remember: the Preamble to the Bill of Rights made it clear that they were “restrictive” of the govenment and “declarative” of the rights of the people. So any law safeguarding pinformatino should be on governmetn officials and agents who have required that info for our permit.

    Of course, requiring a permit to exercise a right (RKBA) is unconstitutional—but that’s another argument.

  10. ParatrooperJJ Says:

    Unfortunatly jail time is going to be the only way to encourage the media to follow the law and not publish the names. If there is no penalty attached, then the law really has no effect.

  11. Ron W Says:

    Once again, the law should apply to government (officials and agents) releasing the information which they unconstitutionally require to exercise the RKBA; violating the 2nd and 4th Amendments—and Article I, Section 26 of the State Constitution.

    Although publications like the Tennessean don’t value the 2nd Amendment like the First Amendment—I believe in ALL of the Bill of Rights for ALL Citizens and they RESTRICT the government.