After an uproar among gun-owners, including domestic violence victims licensed to carry, the Times finally decided to yank the database. Trejbal seems not to feel much remorse: "Did we make it easier [to obtain the information]? Yes. But it's still a public record." Let's review: He published a list he knew contained inaccuracies. His paper admits the decision endangered gun owners. He compiled a convenient shopping list for criminals -- and smacked law-abiding gun owners in the face with his comparison of their choice to exercise their rights with sex offenders.
Public disclosure of concealed carry licenses varies from state to state. Eighteen states protect permit holders' privacy from public view. Virginia is one of 17 states that make licensee records public. If information is public, does it make it right for a newspaper to publish it? The media exercise discretion all the time in withholding the names of minors or rape victims. Why should the privacy of law-abiding concealed handgun permit holders be treated with any less concern?
While the Roanoake Times has retreated, the witch hunt against gun owners continues. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a "sting" operation targeting gun shops in five states for allegedly selling guns illegally. Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman of the Second Amendment Foundation report that Bloomberg sent unauthorized private investigators to conduct the operation -- without notifying the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF):
"The odor ripened when Bloomberg filed civil lawsuits against these gun shops, rather than turn over evidence to the proper authorities for criminal prosecution. Bloomberg's office refused to turn over that evidence, and instead the billionaire mayor launched a high-profile media campaign demonizing the targeted gun shop operators."
Bloomberg has, of course, earned the praise of the anti-Second Amendment media for his security-undermining stunt. The unholy alliance between Big Nanny politicians and journalists threatens us all.
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