Archive for Monday, April 10, 2006

Gun records

Concealed records aren’t a necessary part of the state’s new concealed carry law.

April 10, 2006


Some circular logic is being employed by state officials who plan to seek additional legislation to keep secret the records related to the state's new concealed carry law.

The Kansas Open Records Act requires that public records be accessible to the public unless they are specifically exempted from the law. Exemptions include such sensitive documents as personal medical records and juvenile legal proceedings.

However, when legislators wrote the concealed carry law, they neglected to address the question of whether information on permits or permit applications should be exempt from the open records law. Because the law is silent on the issue, the assumption is that the records would be open.

That doesn't seem unreasonable. Marriage licenses, medical licenses, hunting licenses and many, many other records are open to the public. It provides an openness that allows private citizens to monitor the actions of their government. So why close records on licenses to carry a concealed weapon?

Two rationales have been offered. Legislators who supported the concealed carry act say that criminals or stalkers shouldn't know whether their potential victims are carrying guns. In the first place, it seems unlikely that criminals are going to spend much time perusing licenses for concealed weapons in preparation for picking their targets. And it seems that the main rationale behind concealed carry is that it forces criminals to assume that everyone they target has obtained a license and is carrying a concealed weapon. You want the criminal to think you have a gun; that's what makes the law a deterrent to crime.

The other rationale, offered by Atty. Gen. Phill Kline, is that "it is important to keep citizen privacy foremost in this." A person who keeps a gun in his or her home might have an expectation of privacy, but when that person takes a concealed weapon into the public, it's no longer a private matter.

The purpose of providing access to any public record is to allow oversight of government actions. In the case of concealed weapons, the public should be able to monitor the integrity of the permitting process. For example, what if someone observes that a mentally unstable person is carrying a concealed gun? If that person has obtained a concealed carry permit, something is wrong with the process.

In general, it seems that keeping gun licensing records secret will only increase the discomfort of the Kansans who already are uncertain about the concealed carry law. Not specifically exempting the licenses from the open records law may have been an oversight, but, for the sake of open government, legislators should let it stand.


xenophonschild 12 years ago

The writer hit the nail on the head: Keeping a weapon in your home is a private matter, but carrying a concealed weapon in public is not.

And the point about discovering unqualified people carrying a concealed weapon is also germane. That would indicate something was wrong with the process, and needs to be addressed. If Macho-Red Neck flaps his holsters at the public, we need, and should be able, to hold him accountable.

Devon Kissinger 12 years ago

Personally, I dont feel the need for people to follow me around all day to see if the wind blew my jacket up and exposes my weapon. I'm sure that in this town there will be some people that will do just that if they know who is carrying. Carrying a weapon is a personal decision, with dire consequenses if it is used improperly.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

No one will hassle anyone who chooses to carry a concealed weapon properly. That was not the message of the thread, or my post.

Why would anyone, realistically, oppose open records of concealed gun permits? One would think, given the proclivity of some gun owners to gossip endlessly with other gun owners about the myriad nuances of their firearms, that they would welcome the opportunity to broadcast to the world that they are "locked and loaded." Yee-hah.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

75x55: There are no public safety issues with anyone's tax records, social security numbers, or medical records. There is a significant public safety issue when a non-professional, self-appointed law officer decides to carry a concealed weapon in public.

If you can't see that, go somewhere and borrow some brain chemicals.

Lepanto1571 12 years ago

Obtuse: "Sorry, but thought thread was about guns, as usual, you right wingers have to link everything to abortion. Can you say "MINDLESS FANATIC"?"

7.5x55: "Public safety, you say, obfuscator? Then let's have a looksie at those abortion records for minors - since there's obviously a 'public safety' issue with rapists being protected from proper investigation by the authorities."

Nothing like resorting to barely comprehensible hysterical name-calling Obstipation.

7.5 articulated what it known as a logical answer. (that means it makes sense obsolescent). You, of course, were incapable of actually debating and grasped for the typical neo-marxist shout down and only made yourself appear impotent with the added bonus of looking foolish.

7.5 x 55, well said old friend.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

Concealed weapons are unnecessary in Lawrence; they are an insult to the magic of the place.

However, the law says they are to be allowed; so be it. But there should be no argument that the names of those holding concealed permits should be made public. Having citizens carrying concealed weapons is a public safety issue that does not touch on the Second Amendment.

Lepanto1571 12 years ago

obstructionist: "You are a very good example of what is wrong with religion."

And you are a shining example of the "high" mental acuity associated with irreligion.

Good old obstipation, we talk about guns and you always have to interject your religious obsession into the conversation.

xenophonschild 12 years ago

conservativeman: Wow. "LSD much killer!" Sounds like you dropped a tad too much of the ol' 25-to-4 in the day.

Lawrence attracts all kinds, but most, the overwhelming majority, are good. The bad can, and are, dealt with by the proper entities - law enforcement. Not by paranoid vigilantes who themselves pose a threat to public safety.

Minorities do not rule. We bow before the implacable power of the law . . . even if it is occasionally wrong.

Devon Kissinger 12 years ago

"xenophonschild said:

75x55: There are no public safety issues with anyone's tax records, social security numbers, or medical records. There is a significant public safety issue when a non-professional, self-appointed law officer decides to carry a concealed weapon in public.

If you can't see that, go somewhere and borrow some brain chemicals"

Tell the gals that were exposed to HIV by the fellow that was charged criminally for exposing them. I'm sure his medical records were available for review prior to any sexual intercourse. Seems to me there could be a public safety issue there. Tell that to the firefighters & EMS workers, ER nurses, & Docs that have to deal with that sort of thing daily. Could be a public safety problem there. Who will be "self appointed law officers" that was really a stupid thing to say. Seems xeno needs to borrow something, I forgot what it may be :)

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