Happiness is a Secret Gun

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 12:  Illinois Attorney Gene...

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An oft-repeated soap opera is playing out in Illinois, where again, the wonderful John LeCarre-like meme that if gun permits are public, then crafty criminals will use public records to target gun owners, is again being seriously listened to by otherwise rational human beings….

A plan to prevent releasing the names of those authorized to have guns in Illinois stalled Wednesday, despite gun owners’ burgeoning concern over privacy and safety prompted by the attorney general’s opinion that the information is public record.

Gun advocates called for Attorney General Lisa Madigan to reverse her decree or for lawmakers to move swiftly to overturn it, and Republicans launched a petition drive to bolster the movement. Anti-violence groups countered that releasing the information is important to keep government accountable.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee on civil law voted 5-5 to halt a bill from advancing that would prohibit state police from making public the names of the 1.3 million holders of Firearm Owners identification cards. The measure’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Ron Stephens of Greenville, says he will keep trying to get the ban approved.

Madigan’s office ruled Monday night, in response to a public records request from The Associated Press, that the list of FOID cardholders is public record and must be disclosed. The permit holders’ addresses and telephone numbers would remain private.

Then, just as we’d hope that the journalists out there would rally to the cause of openness and maybe question the silly arguments in favor of closure (what criminal is going to target the homes bristling with weaponry?)….we get this gem from the Chicago Tribune’s columnist who not only swallows, hook, line and sinker, every specious, unproven assertion ever made in this debate, but also asserts a Second Amendment right to privacy! Who knew?

His column, in pertinent part:

But when those names are released, there’s potential of another kind. Burglars may target law-abiding residents to steal their valuable firearms.

Some people may get hurt. I’m not just talking about the burglars, who shouldn’t expect milk and cookies if they break into someone’s home.

Decent folk may get hurt too….

And then he goes on to essentially lie the blood on the hands of the state’s attorney general, who has — gasp! — ruled that records which are legally public, are, well….legally public.

With FOI warriors like these in the news media, no wonder more information is headed into government lockup every day.


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Great records idea: drug-sniffing dogs

Chicago Tribune building
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The Chicago Tribune has done a marvelous series looking at the effectiveness of drug-sniffing dogs, based on data available at the state level…wonder if you can get the same data in your state?

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