Gun permit secrecy spreads to Arkansas…

Arkansas’ state senate has passed a bill banning the release of gun owners’ names and ZIP codes, the only information currently available to seekers of public records under the state’s Freedom of Information law.

“Republican state Senator Bruce Holland, the bill’s sponsor, said he introduced the legislation after a constituent contacted him with concerns about the Journal News’ actions,” Suzi Parker reports. The suburban New York paper published a map of local gun-permit holders in late December, a move that caused New York state to tighten access to the records. The Journal News removed the map last month.

Nicholas Stehle of the gun-advocacy group Arkansas Carry said the names and ZIP codes of gun owners are “more information than I’d be comfortable sharing if I were a single woman with an abusive ex-husband.” Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe opposes the bill, which now goes before the state house of representatives, in which Republicans have a small majority.

On Monday, Arkansas approved a law allowing people to bring guns into churches.

Illinois To Become Latest State to Embrace Secret Gun Records…

My Guns 006

Image via Wikipedia

From the AP:

Illinois lawmakers voted overwhelming Friday to bar the public from knowing who holds a firearm owner identification card, a victory for gun owners who say they have a right to privacy over open-government advocates who say such records should not be secret.

In a 42-1 vote, the Senate passed a measure overturning a ruling by Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office that said the names are public under the state’s open records law. It now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who said he agrees the information should remain confidential and will “act accordingly” after reviewing the legislation.

Madigan’s office issued the decree earlier this year after the Illinois State Police refused to release to The Associated Press the names of 1.3 million people who are registered to own firearms. The AP’s request set off howls of protests from gun owners and the state police, who said they feared criminals would use the information to steal guns or target those who aren’t armed.

“We’ve always felt that the intent of the FOID law was to keep everything private,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “We have (privacy laws) for medical records … anything that could be used to do harm to the public should be kept secure.”

Madigan’s office said the State Police had given no proof to back up claims that releasing the names would endanger gun owners, and said the opinion applied only to permit holders’ names and the expiration dates on their permits; addresses and phone numbers would remain private. The AP did not ask for cardholders’ addresses.

My take: classic emotional FOI argument that trumps reason. The specter of those cunning gangs of thieves preying on gun owners — a ridiculous trope trotted out in state after state — just KILLS the boring but completely true accountability argument.

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