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Nebraska tries to avoid NY controversy by keeping information in gun permits private

By   /   January 17, 2013  /   13 Comments

CONCEALED: A Nebraska senator wants to prevent the public release of the names of gun permit holders.

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN –  A Nebraska lawmaker, looking to avoid the type of controversy that enveloped a New York newspaper, has introduced a bill that would ban the release of information about holders of handgun permits.

Sen. Bill Kintner, R-Papillion, said his proposal, LB293, is designed to prevent a scenario such as the one involving The Journal News, which published the names and addresses of people holding handgun permits, sparking the ire of gun owners.

On Dec. 23 The Journal News published the names and addresses of gun permit holders in two counties, complete with an online map. The story caused such an outcry that the newspaper hired armed guards to protect its staffers, and a local gun group urged advertisers to boycott the paper.

Kintner said the New York case illustrates the problems that can result from disclosing information about permit holders.

Sen. Bill Kintner

“When you release the names of people that have some type of gun permit, you expose people like judges,” he said. “You’re pretty much telling criminals who doesn’t have a gun, too.”

He said he can’t think of any legitimate reason to publicize the names of gun owners other than “to cause trouble.” Nebraska already bans the disclosure of names of people with permits to carry concealed weapons.

His bill prohibits the public release of information about gun registration, sales or use obtained by law enforcement, the Department of Motor Vehicles or any other state and federal agencies.

In the wake of the New York controversy, that state’s Legislature passed legislation banning public disclosure of information about gun permits for 120 days, after which permit holders can ask to have their names withheld.

Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said only seven other states require some type of permit to buy or own a handgun. Her group supports keeping open information about gun permits and concealed weapon permits.

“We think that the records should be available just like any other public records,” she said. “Because the public has the right to know who’s carrying loaded guns.”

She said gun owners often have an irrational fear that the government will take their guns away, but in states where this information is public, “nothing like that has happened.”

Contact Deena Winter at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org.

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Deena Winter is a reporter for NebraskaWatchdog.org. Contact her at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org and follow her on Twitter @DeenaNEWatchdog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Lynn/100001358454499 Jennifer Lynn

    Let’s keep everything secret then. no disclosing gun records, criminal records including sex offenders, property taxes or information about anybody. Fair is fair & some of our Senators are just moronic tea party wanna-bees!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joan.bale.96 Joan Bale

    These gun people are right! I have watched movies where there were people with guns on every corner, in the store, in the mall, in the schools…guns every where, then we’ll be safe. Will you furnish us with arm bands too?

  • John Adams

    I’m not sure if this is knee-jerk reactionary law making, or pandering to the paranoid fringe.

    Probably both.

  • Anonomous

    Hurricane Katrina should teach us all a lesson about giving the government a list of gun owners. Over one thousand fire arms were seized from LEGAL gun owners because of the crazy gun control nuts. The City Government wouldn’t even admit it stole the 1000 guns until after Law suites over a month later.

  • Glen Flint

    Jennifer, are you suggesting that no government records be made public? This bill would be a step in the right direction.

    Would withholding criminal records make us less safe? Why are property tax records public?

    You raise some interesting points.

  • NebraskaRed

    Let’s say you are an abused spouse who has escaped a violent relationship, have a handgun and a restraining order – and everything is legal and on the up and up [as Nebraska requires or you've committed a crime]. Your permit information was just published and your ex now knows where you are – and you have no idea your current resident information you were trying to keep from your ex was just given out. Are you a law enforcement officer who has put people in jail/prison or perhaps a judge who has done the same and now those convicts are out, still pissed off at those who sent them to the pen? Now tell us that publishing handgun owner/permit holder information is a good thing. It’s already happened in New York, including targeting the guns in the homes by criminals because the information was published. One can’t get license plate registration information any more because of privacy, but information on who owns a weapon is fairgame? Car owner infomration is pretty passe compared to letting the bad guys know where the firearms are. Stopping or reducing crime doesn’t mean telling the criminal element where the tools to their trade are. Think it through – don’t knee jerk.

  • Glen Flint

    Good points!

  • Jazzee

    if someone can explain how printing the names of LEGAL gun owners is for public safety purposes I would like to hear it. These are LEGAL actions taken by adults so why is it anyone’s business? If it is, I want all illegals addresses printed, people who smoke dope so my kids don’t go to their house and how about all the names involved in those secret hooker cases that never come out. just sayin’ The paper that did print the names said it was for ‘public safety’ but they have yet explained or answered how that applies.

  • Danielle

    Jennifer: There is a HUGE difference between publishing gun records and criminal records. Gun records are a listing of permits owned by LAW ABIDING citizens, criminal records are the UNLAWFUL activitiy of citizens.
    In New York, two homes already have been targeted for their guns because of the map published by the newspaper. And in one of them, they stole the permits as well. Women who have protection orders against exes are also being targeted because of the newspapers zeal to publish “public information.” If people want to go look it up-fine, but publishing information on law-abiding citizens does no good.

  • Kent Goertzen

    ” including targeting the guns in the homes by criminals because the information was published.”

    There is no report that has occurred and the criminals could have got that information themselves. They paper did nothing to put anyone at more risk under their laws already.

  • Kent Goertzen

    Debunked conspiracy theory.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Harbert/100001406372795 David Harbert

    Senator Kintner is supposed to be a republican isn’t he? Less government intrusion into american’s lives? This sounds like he is trying to intimidate the reporting of public records! Shame on you Senator!

  • Barry Hirsh

    Interesting that the site uses a picture of an NFA select-fire three-shot burst weapon.

    Don’cha think?

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