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Archive for Friday, March 31, 2006

Concealed carry sponsor concerned about privacy of records

March 31, 2006

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Should records of people who get permits to carry concealed guns in Kansas be concealed from the public?

That issue was raised in a Journal-World online chat Thursday with the main sponsor of the new law, Sen. Phil Journey, R-Haysville.

Journey, the self-described "quarterback" of the new law, said the privacy issue hasn't yet been addressed - but that he would work to protect the privacy of those who get permits.

"This was not contemplated in the drafting of the bill and shall be dealt with as fast as possible," Journey said during the chat.

The new law goes on the books July 1, but the first permits aren't expected to be issued by the Kansas Attorney General's Office until January.

A questioner calling himself "Tim, Oppressive Park, KS" asked if concealed carry permit records would be accessible to the public, including anti-gun organizations and criminals.

Journey said he would try to deal with privacy within the rules and regulations that will be written to implement the law.

"I hope to restrict public access to permit holders' personal information and expect the attorney general to have the same position," Journey said.

After the chat, he said if permit privacy couldn't be addressed in rules and regulations, he hoped the privacy issue could be dealt with early next year by the Legislature.

"I'm concerned about permit holders' names and addresses being divulged to potential burglars," he said. "And so I hope that our colleagues in the media will restrain themselves from publishing lists of permit holders."

Journey responded to about 20 questions during the chat.

Comments

justthefacts 8 years, 9 months ago

K.S.A. 2005 45-221(a)(30) currently allows public agencies to close public records that contain information the release of which would result in a "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy". K.S.A. 2005 Supp. 45-217 now contains a defintion of "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." (For those wanting to read the statutes, they are available on-line at www.kslegislature.org)
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This is the statute that ordinarily has been used by licensing agencies to close the home addresses of licensees, in the proper circumstances (e.g. a stalker wanting to know where his old girl-friend, the nurse, is now living).

What is not as clear is whether that part of the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) would also allow closure of the gun licensee's name. or if (a)(30) would apply in all situations. It is ordinarily a closure law that is discretionarily used in the situations where it is warranted. In other words, any agency possessing such records has to make a case-by-case decision on whether (a)(30) applies.

K.S.A. 45-230 prohibits record custodians from providing lists of names and addresses to requesters who intend to use the list to try to sell something (service or product) to those on the list.

If the legislature (or public) want to make darn sure all of the information about the newly created type of licensee is closed, the sure way is to pass (yet another) law closing that type of record/information.

tolawdjk 8 years, 9 months ago

I find it humerous that the need for hiding this information is "burglars". It sets the image in my mind of keystone kops and masked men with striped shirts sneaking stealing pies set to cool on grandmas window ledge.

Why not just come out with the real reason. The people that want this concealed and carry and want to carry now are the same paranoids that don't want any of thier information getting out ever.

If a "burglar" is going to break into your house, his going to do it regardless of you packing heat. Not to mention the fact, that if its burglars you are worried about, you are in your -own damn home- in the first place. You don't need a permit to conceal a weapon on your person in your own damn home.

Really, please, I don't mind that you go this passed, but once, just once, be flipping honest about the reasons.

optimist 8 years, 9 months ago

Revealing the names of permit holders does not serve a compelling public interest that out weighs the permit holders right to privacy. Revealing the information would do more harm than good.

mom_of_three 8 years, 9 months ago

A burglar is going to break into your house to steal someone's gun??

Ruskastud - What makes you think carrying a gun is going to prevent any of those crimes from occuring?

Joe Hyde 8 years, 9 months ago

The official database of concealed carry permit holders should definitely be kept confidential, accessible only to routine law enforcement inquiries and duly-issued warrant searches. Many firearms regardless of type (handgun, rifle, shotgun) are expensive, and allowing public access to an "ownership list" only invites burglary theft of the weapon. Even ambush killings and taking of the weapon.

Burglary, though, would be most likely since people who get approved for the carry permit will in all probability NOT be carrying the weapon all the time; it will very often be left at home or inside the permit holder's vehicle.

As a supporter of the concealed carry law, I am nevertheless sensitive to law enforcement's legitimate concerns about the restraint and judgment that will be shown by future permit holders. One way those concerns could be eased, and it would give law enforcement indirect control over the behavior of permit holders, would be to set up collection points where permit applicants (not holders -- APPLICANTS) must bring the weapon they are registering and fire a slug into a water tank. The slug, and also the spent brass, would be collected and registered in a KBI database, then stored in a secure location for future comparitive analysis.

By thus "fingerprinting" each applicant's firearm in advance of issuing the carry permit, the state would take into its possession physical evidence linking -- or eliminating -- each permit holder to any wrongful shooting that subsequently occurs and is investigated using conventional firearms forensics. Having each permit holder's weapon serial number, plus an actual slug fired from that gun, plus an actual brass struck by that weapon's firing pin and marked by its extractor, would offer significant advantages to criminal investigators.

And knowing that this evidence is on record with the KBI would certainly make any permit holder extremely circumspect about bringing their weapon into play under all circumstances.

Jamesaust 8 years, 9 months ago

Actually, while I can see why someone might identify K.S.A. 2005 45-221(a)(30) as a potential means to shield these records, I would think that -221(a)(45) would fit (at least the propaganda) of the concealed weapons' proponents: A public agency shall not be required to disclosed records disclosing security measures that protect private property or persons [removing extraneous wording]. Now, I do not find -221(a)(45) a convincing fit but it does fit the hysterical justifications for this law.

All that said, this disclosure is not a "clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." The information is not is not "highly offensive to a reasonable person" nor is it at all clear that disclosure "pose[s] a risk."

Finally, disclosure is of "legitimate concern" to the public. How, in a democratic society, is the public to judge either the competency of the AG's office in issuing these permits, or to make judgments about the effectiveness of this new measure, when the process is shielded in secrecy?

Moreover, while it is a reasonable assumption that the issuance of a permit indicates the possession of a gun, the lack of permit does not reveal a lack of a gun (just a permit to conceal a gun). There's no more 'privacy' interest in hiding these permits than in hiding real estate purchases or automobile licenses or being a party to a civil lawsuit.

Jamesaust 8 years, 9 months ago

Sen. Journey: "And so I hope that our colleagues in the media will restrain themselves from publishing lists of permit holders."

As anyone living in a totalitarian state can tell you -- the most efficient degree of media control is 'self censorship.' LJW - don't publish these names under some lefty freedom of the press .... or else.

Frankly, having seen the LJW's unwillingness to publish offensive cartoons despite their frontpage public interest value, I won't hold my breath for any attempt to make newspapers relevant again.

badger 8 years, 9 months ago

I don't think the information needs to be available to the general public. I'm not so sure that I need to know that my neighbor or the clerk at the grocery store has a concealed carry permit.

Someone I know here in TX who has one doesn't even tell people he owns a gun, much less publicize his concealed carry status. His rationale is that if he ever needs to use his concealed weapon, then that's when it becomes the business of the public at large, but until that point it's no one's business but his and the government's.

I don't know that not publishing the list constitutes the process being 'shrouded in secrecy'. Oversight is good, yes. As a general citizen, I don't know that I'm really qualified to provide that particular oversight, to say, "Joe Blow over here got a permit, and he's a loony! There's something wrong with the process!" My preferred option would be to be able to review the percentages of people who had a permit revoked, used a concealed weapon for an illegal act, or killed or injured someone accidentally while carrying a concealed weapon. That's more relevant information for the effectiveness of the permit-issuing process, as far as I'm concerned, than knowing my next door neighbor has the option to stroll around armed if he wants.

It just seems like nosiness, really, wanting to know other people's business. And on a politically charged issue, I can see some potential for misuse of the information. "Oh, I did a search on my prospective employees, and one has a CCW permit and the other doesn't! I'm opposed to concealed carry, so I'm now biased against the one who has the permit." Or the reverse, "One of my applicants has a permit, and the other doesn't. I bet the one with the permit is more likely to share my conservative values about other things, so I'd rather give him the job."

I just don't see a reason, I guess, that anything is really served by making what amounts to people's private information public knowledge.

karolynk 8 years, 9 months ago

It seems to me that if Att'y Gen. Kline can go after abortion records, and the FBI can go after your library records with the highly questionable patriot act, and this hypocritical administration can wiretap your calls illegally, then concealed weapon holders' records should also be made public. Those carrying concealed weapons should not only submit to background checks but be fingerprinted as well! And if you don't want to continue having such stupid, nonsensical laws like this one in the Kansas books, you all better start getting out there and voting these creeps who apparently are sniffing too many tractor diesel fumes, outta office. Unless you stand up and shout out, this country and its constitution is well on its way to being totally destroyed and dismembered! But then, we know this current crowd only want illegals in this country anyway!

staff04 8 years, 9 months ago

badger- Your argument could also be used to make any registry that lists citizens private. There is potential for ALL public information to be misused.

Moderateguy 8 years, 9 months ago

riverat, interesting idea. My biggest concern would be that fingerprinting of bullets and casings isn't such an exact science. I'd hate to have someone wrongfully accused because there was a close match in a database search. The other issue is that someone could just carry a different weapon. I'm pretty sure a permit applicant has to submit to hand fingerprinting anyway.

It will be intersting to see how the final procedures and rules work themselves out. In terms of the article, I'm generally against any information being available to the public for someone who has not been convicted of a crime. Marketing people are perhaps more evil than burglars. (just kidding to all you marketing folk.) I just want to keep my private business / life private. It's already scary what you can find out about someone with a simple google search.

badger 8 years, 9 months ago

karolynk - the reason I think that concealed carry permits should be private is exactly the same as the reasons I think Phill Kline has no business rummaging through womens' medical records, the FBI doesn't need to know what people are checking out from the library, and the warrantless wiretapping should stop. Just because those things go on, that doesn't make them right, and my response to it is to keep opposing encroachment of government and media on people's private business at every turn, which actually gives me a better position from which to oppose existing issues - because it's harder to dismiss someone as a 'loony liberal' if they've got consistent opinions about similar issues on both sides of the aisle.

staff04 - there's already far too much information about people's private lives out there for public consumption. Why add to it? I'd much rather start limiting the information that you can get about a private citizen instead of increasing it.

Especially on politically charged issues, I think that people have the right to make choices in their lives that don't open them up to, say, anti-gun advocates calling them up at four in the morning to say, "Hello, Mr. Jones. I see that you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Is that in your house at 3241 Smith Street, or do you keep it in your business at 211 Wilson Lane?"

And if you think that wouldn't happen, I can't agree with you. Unfortunately, there are some people out there with some serious feelings on the matter who have already shown a propensity to harass people they feel support concealed carry, and again, unreasonable behaviour on both sides.

Jamesaust 8 years, 9 months ago

As one person comments to me:

these records should be available for public inspection not only as a means of the public reviewing how government carries out the public's' business but also as a means to identify misstatements and omissions on application for the permit.

Phill Kline might not know that you served time for murder in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, or that there's a restraining order on you in Idaho thereby making possession of a firearm a federal felony under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8) - but I'd bet someone out there on the internet does.

Terry Bush 8 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps we need to define terms.

To be made public generally means to make the information or record in question available to the general public - as in the press, your neighbors you. Some information/records in the hands of government officials is currently made confidential (by laws) in order to keep it from being made available to the general public. Some if not. In the absence of a specific law closing the specific information/record, the Kansas laws presume it is open and available to anyone (no matter their proposed use of it) (But note the above citation to KSA 45-230, which prohibits obtaining public records with names/addresses for the purpose of trying to sell something to the persons named in the list).

However, to close a public record/information does not automatically mean that the goverenment (FBI, AG, a court, the proper agency) cannot ask for, obtain, use and/or otherwise keep information related to their performance of assigned duties.

What is being discussed is whether or not the information provided by individuals, in order to obtain a permit allowing them to carry concealed weapons, should be open to everyone (the general) public. What is not (or was not) being discussed is whether the government should be able to obtain information from private citizens.

mom_of_three 8 years, 9 months ago

ruskastud -

there is no proof that carrying a weapon will deter crime, especially those mentioned in your post. If you are carjacked by someone with a gun, you have to be able get to yours before he realizes it and shoots you first. If someone is being attacked by surprised, you may not have time to find your weapon, and hopefully you can hand on to it during the struggle and not be injured by it.
You're so busy calling other people stupid and idiot, you have yet to realize the errors in your own arguments.

mom_of_three 8 years, 9 months ago

If people want to own guns, than that's fine. I just don't see the necessity of the conceal/carry law. Kansans got along just find all these years. By passing it, it sounds like someone wanted it just because everyone else already had it and we didn't want to be left out.
But I have yet to see a convincing argument on either side. A lot of attacks yet, but convincing, no.

Todd 8 years, 9 months ago

mom_of_three, in this country you have a right to do whatever you want (ie freedom) as long as it doesn't infringe upon the freedom of others. It's the basic premise of our way of life. That's the argument.

tolawdjk 8 years, 9 months ago

Todd,

By that arguement, I have the right to guzzle a gallon of whiskey then hop in my car and head out down the interstate. As long as I don't hit anyone or anything, I'm not infringing on anyone else's rights.

classclown 8 years, 9 months ago

The whole issue of concealed carry aside, I don't want anybody to be able to get any information about me period. No one needs to know where I live, what kind of vehicle I drive, where I work, my phone number, etc.

Bottom line... Unless I specifically give YOU any information about me, then YOU don't need to know it.

Moderateguy 8 years, 9 months ago

Then don't own a gun or apply for a permit mom. I fully support your personal decision. This is about individual choice for people have proven they have been decent people. The consequences for failing to be a decent person are still in place.

tola, driving drunk has proven to be a distinct hazzard to the public at large, and is therefore illegal. If concealed carry laws had proven to create a distinct hazzard to the public at large in the other states, then the laws would change. No such proof exists. By the anti-gun crowd's "what if's", Vermont should be a constant news story of Dodge City mixed with South Central LA. Anyone can carry concealed in that state. No permit is required.

Relax. Have a beer. (but don't drive)

Charles L Bloss Jr 8 years, 9 months ago

Keeping the names and addresses of permit holders from public knowledge is a very valid concern, it should be dealt with quickly and decisively. Whether a law abiding citizen holds a gun permit is no one business. It is like the reason for keeping the firearm concealed, which is to not advertise the fact that you are carrying a firearm. The names of permit holders should not be public knowledge, only law enforcement and the courts should have this information. Thank you, Lynn

Jamesaust 8 years, 9 months ago

John Adams: "Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right ... to knowledge ... and a desire to know."

There is no more privacy interest in keeping a permit secret than in hiding a voter registration or the purchase price of real property. The peoples' right to oversee the activity of their executive is paramount.

james dick 8 years, 9 months ago

Why not make the bare facts public? The gun is being carried in a public space. And why should a mother watching her three children and two of their friends playing in the yard not know that the person mowing the lawn next door is "carrying"?

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