Guarding our right to public access

Every document and every meeting at all levels of Maine government — state, county and municipal — are public unless there is a specific exception written in statute that shields the document or makes a meeting confidential.

If there’s no exception, the public has access.

Period.

So, what’s in a sampling of the millions of public records our governmental agencies maintain?

Tax assessments.

Reconciliation of bank balances with local government agency accounts.

Record of ownership of cemetery lots in municipally operated cemeteries.

Public employee calendars.

Inmate shave and shower logs.

Bomb threat reports when a perpetrator is identified (which fire departments must keep on file until the perpetrator reaches age 80).

Emergency dispatch records.

Final disciplinary actions taken against public employees.

Wood stove inspections conducted by fire departments at private residences.

Protection from abuse orders.

Permits to have a pinball machine operating on a commercial premise.

Visitor logs at jails and prisons.

Equipment maintenance logs.

Traffic tickets.

Tax abatements on private and commercial properties.

Insurance policies.

Changes of name requested from probate courts.

Reports of all cutlery counted before and after each meal served in jail or prison.

Duty rosters.

Hunting licenses

Trapping licenses.

Concealed handgun permits.

That’s right.

These permits are public records and have been for years, a fact that each permit holder was aware of when filling out his or her application, so the resistance we saw this week to the Bangor Daily News’ request for access to these permits is not really a moral stand against public records. It’s a political football in the contest of gun control.

If there is any hope of moving forward to balance personal safety with our very real and exceptionally valuable constitutional right to bear arms, while also preserving the essential accessibility of government records, we all — legislators, the public and Maine’s media — have an obligation to employ thought, not emotion, in supporting and crafting statute.

If we don’t, we’re not having a conversation.

We’re cementing an impasse.

And we’re creating myths, like the myth that crooks and thieves will seek access to a list of concealed permit holders so they can then identify homes that do not have guns.

First of all, crooks and thieves are generally not that organized or intelligent.

Secondly, just because a homeowner doesn’t have a concealed handgun permit does not mean (and by a very long stretch) that they don’t have a gun — or multiple guns — in the house.

So, no concealed handgun permit does not indicate no guns. Thousands of households in Maine exercise their justly protected Second Amendment right of gun ownership. No permit required.

Let’s pop another myth.

That concealed handgun permit holders are at a dangerously high risk of identity theft.

They are not.

The information contained on the face of a permit to conceal is similar to thousands of permits issued to Maine citizens every year, so there's really nothing particularly revealing about the information printed there that doesn't also appear on many, many, many more accessible records that thieves can obtain without filing a Freedom of Access Act request with a police department.

Or, a would-be thief might just go straight to Facebook, where people volunteer personal identifying information at an alarming rate.

Safety-conscious concealed handgun permit holders are smarter than to do that, which means they may actually be safer from identity theft than others.

As Maine’s Legislature moves forward on LD 345, the now uber-controversial bill to begin hiding the identities of concealed handgun permit holders, let’s put emotion aside and deal in facts, responsibility and accountability. Let's do the same for the 80 other gun control bills that will be considered this session.

In the 48 hours after the public became aware of the BDN’s lawful request to see the concealed handgun permits, there was so much misinformation strewn that any hope of having a realistic conversation about what is best for Maine was lost. No, crushed.

The unofficial and supremely effective motto of the National Rifle Association and its associated gun lobby is that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

The same could be said of information.

“Information doesn’t kill people, people kill people.”

Let’s remember that government establishes permitting processes for a whole host of activities to ensure permit holders are qualified for special permits and accountable to the public for their actions, and government also creates documents to record its business and track how that business is conducted and with whom.

And, since the government’s business is the public’s business, the public has a right to access those permits and those records. 

Period.

jmeyer@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on SunJournal.com, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your SunJournal.com profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.

Advertisement

Comments

Senate President Justin Alfond

doesn't appear to be interested in what his constituents think on the LD 345 and LD 576. He and his office is inaccessible. They do not answer their phones and also seem to be leaving the telephone receiver off the cradle. It has been told by many of the constant busy signal or the call going straight to voice mail. Are you hearing our comments when we get to leave one Senator Alfond? I recently learned our legislators want to hear from us on issues but not this one apparently!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The fact is that we are

The fact is that we are having that discussion and the likely outcome is LD345 becoming law. The question should be why anyone wants the names and addresses of concealed permit holders.

What purpose does that serve except to out someone?

Please tell us!

Zack Lenhert's picture

...independent research? How

...independent research? How could anyone claim "Maine is safer with more CCW holders" if nobody has access to that information?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

That information can be

That information can be reported indirectly through the courts to the FBI.

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Gee what a simplistic take on a very serious issue...

no one is going to read about my tax assessment in the local newspaper or in the town book at town meeting and pay my property taxes for me.

However, letting the general public know that I have a gun in my home might make me a target for criminals; and possible home invasion or burglary.

This is putting aside the basic principle here that we must fill out forms and pay fees when the US Constitution says that no laws shall be passed to infringe upon my rights to bear arms. However, this has been slow eroded by passing laws, at the state and local level that would not pass scrutiny in the Supreme Court. Those on the left are already trying to infringe by making higher and higher permit fees and taxes on anything associate with gun ownership. These are backdoor ways to curtail gun ownership and put a financial burden on those who would exercise their rights under the 2nd Amendment.

In closing, if anyone wants to know what my property taxes are and wishes to pay them, feel free to look it up at town hall and do so!

The Bangor Daily News deserved to take the heat for, what is in my opinion, thoughtless and possibly dangerous political grandstanding.

Zack Lenhert's picture

"However, letting the general

"However, letting the general public know that I have a gun in my home might make me a target for criminals; and possible home invasion or burglary."

Do you have a hunting permit? That could also be used by criminals to target you... most hunters own guns.

RONALD RIML's picture

I though the argument was that if one didn't have a gun

They would be a target for criminals; and possible home invasion or burglary.

Which one is it??? Whatever's convenient at the time???

 's picture

Althought the Bangor Daily

Althought the Bangor Daily News said they have no intention of publishing the names of permit holders, here is how the list of CW permits would be used; any person arrested or charged with a crime by police, the list would be checked and if a name matched it would be published even if it wasn't the same person. That way the dinosaur media could keep up a constant drumbeat about how evil and criminally insane gun owners are. When they say no intention they mean at that time, but intentions change.

 's picture

And we do...

...have to protect the rights of those who conceal carry and have no permit.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I see an opportunity for some

I see an opportunity for some lawsuits if they misidentify someone.

Zack Lenhert's picture

...that would be better than

...that would be better than knee jerk legislation based on the irresponsible act of ONE newspaper in New York. The kind of knee jerk legislation the NRA always opposes when its in response to the act of one irresponsible gun owner.

Good Article

The myths are aplenty. Until someone can show me evidence, valid evidence, how the publishing of the data in NY was detrimental, I feel it should go down as a non-event.
The one question I ask myself is "At what point do we WANT to know how many CW permits are out there?". The trend is more and more people have permits, never mind more weapons, so do we wait till 9 people out of 10 have a CW? My thoughts are that this could approach a significant social issue which would affect ALL of us. I hear the slogan "more guns less crime" which indicates that when we do reach 9 out of 10 our crime will be pretty much non-existent and, maybe then, a list would be pointless. That last statement flies in the face of logic however. We need to look at the big picture as to how things affect ALL of us.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“"At what point do we WANT to

“"At what point do we WANT to know how many CW permits are out there?"

This information is easy to obtain without releasing names and addresses.

Perhaps we should also publish all the names and addresses of those who are receiving public assistance.

Both are similar in that there is no benefit to knowing anything other than total numbers of those who have CW permits or the total number of residents on public assistance. Names and addresses bring no additional information to the party.

Where I was going with this -

I have no interest in who receives public assistance, and there are many. Others may. I do begin to care about who carries concealed when the numbers begin to increase rapidly. From what I'm seeing many feel they will protect me and quite frankly I don't want it. For every properly trained person, whether in a crowd or not, I'll bet there's three that aren't and I don't take to that risk very lightly. The number of guns go up, the risks go up using my math. Maybe this will never be a concern, then again maybe it will.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

At this point, I need to ask

At this point, I need to ask you to backup your assertion with statistics. That is, how many CW weapon permit owners are convicted of homicide/murder using a gun; otherwise, you may as well say that "I have no interest in facts".

Your feelings don’t make for a cogent argument.

Zack Lenhert's picture

"how many CW weapon permit

"how many CW weapon permit owners are convicted of homicide/murder using a gun?" If this law passes we may never be able to find out because CW permit information would be confidential. Independent research companies would be locked out of that information.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Courts, law enforcement, and

Courts, law enforcement, and the FBI still have access to this data.

I firmly believe in facts.

Convicted? I know there aren't many from what we know, for a number of reasons. What I don't know is how many have been through the process but NOT convicted. As I'm sure you know, most judges aren't eager to deal with the 2nd, for a number of reasons. I will always be interested in facts, when they're presented. My concerns are still the same.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps you should reread my

Perhaps you should reread my post. A homicide or murder conviction has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment. So what you are saying is that judges will not convict someone for homicide or murder? Are we on the same page?

To reclarify -

What I don't know is how many have been through the process but NOT convicted, of any crime, with a CW. That could include homicide or murder ...... if there were a mistrial, insufficient evidence, plea bargain or what have you. There just isn't good data for when a gun is involved with a crime. Not all gun related crimes go to conviction.

 's picture

real issue

Too bad the real issue continues to be avoided. The mental health system in Maine and the United States is broken. Every one of these mass shootings has a strong mental health base. And yet we continue to refuse to discuss this as being the major cause. Why is that?!

I firmly believe it is being addressed.

You likely won't see anything apparent. Mental health is very complicated and has come a long way since days gone by. Improvements will take time.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Moreover, these mass shooting

Moreover, these mass shooting pales in numbers to actual number of gun deaths in America. That is, arguments that we need stricter laws on assault weapons to save lives ignores well know statistics published by the CDC that shows most gun deaths involve the use of a handgun, not an assault weapon.

All the solutions I’ve seen at the Federal, State, and Local level are motivated by the anti-gun crowd and simply are not aligned with the published stats.

Most people are missing the issue.

Mark, sit back and ask yourself some questions: 1) What has motivated all these discussions. 2) What's involved with these discussions. 3) What can we do, with what we know is involved, to make things better.
1) Recent mass killings. 2) Unstable people with some very serious weapons/large clips. 3) Address the unstable and address the weapons.
Now, addressing the unstable is a pretty significant step and you're likely to have little knowledge as to the inner workings unless you've been involved with mental illnesses. It's being addressed but will take time for any good solutions as there are many laws regarding mental illness and privacy.
What else is there, very serious weapons. That is an area that can attempt to make things better, and faster than the unstable society issue. Ask yourself what was used and does it appear to be a trend. The last question is do we just sit and wait or act and, this should be a "no-brainer".
Handgun stats, or "published" stats means nothing to the current discussion of "so-called assault weapons" and what's happening NOW. Plus, using stats can sometimes block the view of the forest for the trees, because we currently have nothing in place, nationally, than can provide anything worthwhile. That's a fact.

 's picture

That would be...

...the easy way out. Blame folks who can't defend themselves when, according to a Columbia University study, less than five percent of those involved in gun violence have mental health issues. I can publish that here, if you'd like.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Bob, How about learning

Bob,

How about learning something about conditional probabilities?

For example, of all those individuals who commit mass murder using assault weapons (this instrument that is at the crux of the argument), how many have mental health issues – nearly 100% I would say.

Moreover, the CDC reported in 2009 that 56% of gun deaths that year were due to suicide. In my opinion, a suicidal individual has mental health issues, would you say?

My guess is either your report was carefully crafted and sliced the data to effect an outcome, or you are just misrepresenting the study in some manner.

 's picture

You say...

..."I would say...". Guess I'd need your credentials to believe what you say over what a distinguished university study, which you accuse of manipulation, says. Again, I need your credentials to believe the manipulation. I guess, if a man loses his wife of 60 years and commits suicide, there is a mental process there but whether it's abnormal, I can't say. I don't profess to be an expert in mental health - only about our 52-year-old daughter who still lives with us. And thanks to her, your next grandchild will not have to worry about what she has because that now can be solved pre-natally. You accuse me of being a liar. I'm just asking you to prove your expertise.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Credentials: 1. One computer

Credentials:
1. One computer with internet access.
2. One internet browser of choice.
3. Fingers to type the following URL: http://www.cdc.gov/

That is all the credentials you need. Now read the data for yourself
One parting comment. While we all have our own set of personal experiences, we must not let the emotional effects of those experiences cloud an unbiased look at the actual data. I gave you the source, so there is no longer any need to believe me, or not believe me, whatever be the case.

Always verify...

One point if I may -

Mark, most of what you see at the CDC is old data and has no bearing on what is currently happening with these mass murders. It's like comparing apples to oak trees. Also, you have to realize there is no good viable data regarding gun violence anywhere, it's just piecemeal. It's just not allowed.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps you are not looking

Perhaps you are not looking in the correct location. Anyhow, I frequently refer to 2009 data because it is easy for me to recall. Couple that with the fact that violent crimes have been continually dropping since 1996, the 2009 data I cite is worse than today’s data.

Moreover, any premise that assault-style weapons are the crux of gun violence is dead wrong.

Lastly, CDC statistics are used in many studies and are treated as relatively accurate. While no statistic is 100% accurate, CDC is known for stolid data.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/06/11/12170947-fbi-violent-crime-ra...

 's picture

You say...

"Moreover, any premise that assault-style weapons are the crux of gun violence is dead wrong." Cute. Dead wrong.

I'm not talking about gun control. I'm talking about restrictions on particular weapons, aka: assault rifles with extended magazines, restrictions we have on many other weapons of war. Most of the people killed in mass murders were killed with a weapon that was designed and built to be a killing machine. They could have used knives, baseball bats, they could have run over people, but they didn't. They used the so-called assault rifle. Why is that, Mark?

The so-called assault rifle does it's designed jobs extremely well. I'm really glad our military and law enforcement have these weapons. However, they need to be kept from the hands of ordinary individuals. These weapons are not hunting rifles. If you need 50 rounds to bring down a deer, you should not have one of these weapons in the first place. They were not built to be a target rifle. They can be used for that, they weren't however, designed or built for that purpose. A very good argument can be made for collectors.

I believe your CDC statistics, when brought up to date, will show all of those people killed with this weapon are still dead.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

It is clear to the average

It is clear to the average person that handguns kill far more people than your killing machines, yet that is where your focus lies. If that level of critical thinking is common, god help this country. Let’s ignore the 86% and spend lots of resources on the 2%. That sounds like a Washington DC solution if I’ve ever heard one.

Careful with your statements Mark!

The esteemed NRA has, over time, managed to make it unlawful to do any studies that would help to solve the problem with gun/handgun violence. We, as a country, are only left with current issues as they unfold. Help get those laws changed and see how fast the gun/handgun killings get reduced. I dare you and others.
The surgeon general made great steps in tobacco & made great steps in alcohol. There's hard data on those two. Hopefully the surgeon general's allowed to get into researching gun violence.
Your "DC solution" is what we reap from an "NRA solution". The NRA knows, no basis for facts, they can tout their own. We, the concerned, have to start somewhere.

 's picture

Are those...

...CDC percentages or yours?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

FBI Data

The FBI has released their 2007-2011 “Murder Victims by Weapon” report. The results are contradictory to anti-gun industry claims that relaxing the ban on assault weapons will cause more crime.

The report indicates you are more likely to be killed by hands or feet than by a rifle or shotgun.

An assault-style weapon is a subset of the rifle class.

All the data shows those who are carping about assault weapons do not have the public's safety as a priority. They instead have an agenda - it is very clear.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-...

Right location -

You're still comparing apples to oak trees Mark. What's easiest to recall isn't always the best. I checked your link and it has no bearing on what the nation is discussing right now. It does "try" to explain why the drop. To emphasize my point, try showing that CDC info and the link to someone in Chicago, or any other big city. There's definitely no apples on an oak tree there.
Regards to assault-style weapons, no one that I know of, or have read of, would dispute your premise. You're missing the point. What has been the weapon of choice in mass murders lately? The answer is obvious, you know what it is. What will likely be the next weapon of choice? You can guess, and it has nothing to do with the CDC, or any other source, what it likely could be.
Let's deal with the present and make the future even a little better.
There is NO good viable national gun violence data, period, just bits and pieces, CDC but just one. It's just not allowed.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The FBI has released their

The FBI has released their 2007-2011 “Murder Victims by Weapon” report. The results are contradictory to anti-gun industry claims that relaxing the ban on assault weapons will cause more crime.

The report indicates you are more likely to be killed by hands or feet than by a rifle or shotgun.

An assault-style weapon is a subset of the rifle class.

All the data shows those who are carping about assault weapons do not have the public's safety as a priority. They instead have an agenda - it is very clear.

httphttp://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8

Get with the program -

As Mr Woodbury has tried to explain, people like you continue to live in the past with stats and bring to the table NOTHING that even comes close to trying to address what is going on NOW. What appears to be the trend NOW is at issue. Your first 4 issues are rhetoric and do nothing for a good reasonable discussion. The last item appears to be a table, one of many. I'm sure it's useful but not for what the current national debate is. This discussion has lost it's reason and is going nowhere. I have better things to occupy my time. Have a good day.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps you are correct that

Perhaps you are correct that making decision based on data instead of emotion is old school.

Move forward with regulating assault weapons with no supporting data that it will reduce gun violence.

Emotion is all about the NOW, certainly not critical thinking. God help America if that is how we run the country.

 's picture

I don't know...

...how many times I have to tell you this but this is NOT about gun control. It's about a weapon that, for example, killed 26 people in a matter of two or three minutes. Twenty of those killed were children, first graders, 6 or 7 years old, each of whom had multiple bullet wounds in their bodies - let me repeat - EACH OF WHOM HAD MULTIPLE BULLET WOUNDS IN THEIR BODIES - one with 11 bullet holes in her body. That's the kind of weapon I'm speaking of.

All of the NRA propaganda and all the outdated CDC studies and all the FBI or CIA or MI6 or any other organizations tables will not change that. They are all dead, killed in a matter of three minutes or less, 26 of them, all with multiple holes in their bodies, lying in their individual pools of blood. Want to be a first responder and open the classroom door on that scene?

If you can show me an FBI study or an NRA pronouncement that will change that, I'm willing to listen. My point is a machine that visits that kind of carnage in that amount of time needs to be regulated. I know you want a grenade launcher, I know you want a tank or an armored personnel carrier, I know you want a bazooka but Mark, they are regulated. The killing machine AKA: assault rifle, has been used by most of these mass murderers as the weapon of choice.

Mass murders - not suicides, not accidental shootings, not drive-bys in Chicago - mass murders. Mass - assault rifles with extended magazines, capable of killing many, many people in a very short period of time. It is not a consumer's weapon. It is a mass murderers weapon. We know that. It is a fact. We don't need a study or a table to prove that. It is a FACT. The weapon NEEDS to be regulated.

I don't believe this, but you're beginning to sound like one of those people, who probably shouldn't own weapons of any kind at all, who love their weapons more than children. Those are the kinds of people you're talking about when you insert the mentally ill into the conversation. They should NOT own weapons.

I'm done. No more. If you can't understand this, you have no intention of trying to. If you're just after the last word, have at it. It's all yours.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Like I said, the agenda is

Like I said, the agenda is clear to all readers. I think a Q.E.D. is in order.

When confronted with facts, attack the messenger - who sounds like the crazy one? The readers will decide.

 's picture

Which us what I did...

...with what I posted and you dismissed it out of hand. I'm sure you'll understand if I do the same to you.

 's picture

Where do you get your facts?

"Gun violence is a mental health issue only to a very small extent and to a much smaller extent than most people assume," said Paul Appelbaum, a psychiatrist and the director of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons' Division of Law, Ethics and Psychiatry.
"Most gun violence is just not committed by people with mental illness," he said. “Were we somehow to stop violence by anyone with a mental illness -- as unlikely as that outcome might be -- we would be safer, but only a teeny bit safer. As much as these incidents attract everybody's attention and concern, they are a tiny fraction of the people who get killed in this country every year."

Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter in Newtown, Conn., had no known history of mental illness, despite unconfirmed reports that he was diagnosed with a form of autism. He used firearms legally purchased by his mother, herself one of his victims.
Nor does mental illness appear to explain other widely publicized mass murders, including the slaying of six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin last year, or the shooting rampage that took the lives of eight people in Manchester, Conn., in 2010.
Other mass murderers, including Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho and Long Island Rail Road killer Colin Ferguson, may have failed background checks had a federal database been more complete. James Holmes, who allegedly killed 12 people in Aurora, Colo., last year, had been treated for mental illness but didn't meet the legal standards that would have blocked him from buying guns.

It's a Dead Horse!

Bob, most gun advocates are mired in stats that get repeated over and over and over to the point of frustration. The interested thing is it's based on old and incomplete data written by John Lott Jr. "More Guns Less Crime". He's an economist and they can make water turn to steel, or is it the other way. I bought it and it makes for interesting reading. What's happening now is always compared to what was then. The sad part is we've been prevented from acquiring real good stats by the very people who spread bad stats, and they probably don't even realize it. We're on the same page Bob!

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Paranoia

After criminal conviction, outright threats and lack of anger control, paranoia should be the next logical reason on the list to deny someone the right to own guns. There is no reason a newspaper should not be able to do general research on gun issues or for the state to keep records or to share those records with local police and with federal law enforcement agencies about them. It certainly would not be any more dangerous to publish how many concealed weapons permits are issued in the state or by counties or to men or to women than it is for the NRA to put out news releases that thousands of people are buying guns every time someone mentions gun control in the newspaper. BDN has already stated many times that THEY HAD NO INTENTION OF PUBLISHING PRIVATE INFORMATION. All the hysteria about this is really nonsense.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Then any thinking adult would

Then any thinking adult would ask, then why do you need the names and addresses? Just ask public records for the number of licenses they issued by county, something they should know.

The need to know individuals and addresses comes with a purpose. Anyhow, the legislature will fix that.

The reader didn't request the names

I take issue that, the right to bear arms is supposed to be without question therefore we shouldn't be registering our names or anything for the public to gain access to in the first place. Second, the readers of any given newspaper that wishes to gain knowledge of the names of innocent law abiding citizens for them to become targets of hostility, are not the ones who requested the names to begin with. Therefore a reader who did not request the names should not have access to the names that a reporter requested. The reporter requested the names to sensationalize and get readers worked up to have knowledge about their fellow Americans. A newspaper requested the names and that means many more eyes than just the one reporter would have seen all of the names. This is why I would not have a subsciption with the BDN nor would I support their advertisers. I am not a gun owner but I support LD 345 and LD 576.

 's picture

Trust

I disagree, Judy, and here's why:

1. I don't trust Tony Ronzio and his statements.

2. Our foundational rights are under assault from people, on the left, who quite clearly want to take them away. The Citizens United mega effort by the Maine People's Alliance and other leftists across the country aims at suppressing free speech. Period. And the "conversation" on gun control aims at disarming the American citizen. Period. So much for the First and Second Amendments. What's next?

3. And "What's next?" is the key question. I don't trust the left to stop at just corporations and just 'assault weapons' (whatever those are). What we are seeing is the old leftist trick of "incrementalism", where the socialists and Leninists gain an inch and then seek to take a foot.

The left knows that Americans tend to be like frogs being slow boiled in a pot of water ont the stove. The left, aided by their accomplices in the media, place the frogs into a pot of warm water. It feels good. EBT cards, paying their mortgages, Obamaphones, "free" Obamacare, food stamps, Section 8 housing. Oh, this is wonderful.

Turn up the heat a notch. The frogs start to get sleepy. Stopping 2,000 corporations from contributing to political campaigns. Who cares? We are getting sleepy.

Turn up the heat another notch. Oh, we took away your "assault rifles", now we think we need your pistols. OK, take them. We want to sleep.

Up the heat another notch. We think we should strip corporations of all First Amendment protections. No more right of due process...no protection from search and seizure. Some of us are already snoring.

Up the heat another notch. You really don't need those rifles either. Bring them in. Immediately.

Silence in the boiled water. Stick a fork in them. They are done.

That's the problem, Judy. By your advocacy for all causes leftist, I don't trust the Bangor Daily, the Sussman Press Herald, or the Lewiston Sun-Journal with the information that you can "lawfully" obtain. I agree that all of the information should be public, but I don't agree that it would be used responsibly by the Maine newspapers. I don't trust them.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I repeat again, why are names

I repeat again, why are names and address necessary? Why aren’t number of licenses issued by county sufficient data for a report on the issue. There is a reason why these people want the names and addresses.

RONALD RIML's picture

Paranoid Much?? Got enough Guns???

I see a pattern here.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Good try Ronald, but you

Good try Ronald, but you failed to answer the question - again. You get no partial credit.

Robert McQueeney's picture

The real issue

I have to agree with the information being public, this is a well thought out article.

The real issue here is that there are increasing rules and regulations in owning any guns being placed upon law abiding citizens, and yet there is nothing being done to the criminals. Some are saying "Well, at least they are doing something". Really? Let's do something, anything, doesn't matter if it is effective at all. All the while impinging upon the rights of gun owners. Let's stop this feel good legislation that really does nothing towards preventing criminal activity.

Look at all the recent shootings that seem to be making the most media coverage. Seems to me they are all in legislated gun free zones, school zones etc.... How did all these laws impinging on the rights of law abiding citizens prevent these whack job criminals from going into a gun free zone and start shooting people and killing them? Seems to me that these guns were legally and lawfully purchased and owned. How did that prevent these shootings?

How about we tell our legislators to leave law abiding citizens alone, and instead, focus in on the criminals? Does that make any sense to anyone? How about we place laws on the books that just hammer criminals who use weapons in the act of a crime? Perhaps 50 years in jail, mandatory, just for having a weapon while committing the crime? No opportunity for a judge to reduce that. Have a weapon while committing a crime, you're in jail 50 years. Use it any way, life. THAT will start removing criminals from the public sector, and have the real net effect of addressing the CRIMINALS who use guns in crimes. And that will make us all safer.

Please. legislators, make laws that address criminals and effectively deal with them. Leave law abiding citizens alone.

Jason Theriault's picture

Bad ideas.

How about we tell our legislators to leave law abiding citizens alone, and instead, focus in on the criminals? Does that make any sense to anyone? How about we place laws on the books that just hammer criminals who use weapons in the act of a crime? Perhaps 50 years in jail, mandatory, just for having a weapon while committing the crime? No opportunity for a judge to reduce that. Have a weapon while committing a crime, you're in jail 50 years. Use it any way, life.

The problem is you leave no room for things to get worse. Most criminals don't rob a place thinking "I'm gonna get caught". So I don't know how many would be deterred by these harsher sentences. And they remove the deterrence to actually using the weapons. 50 Years? Might as wll be life. So If a criminal has a gun during a robbery, they might as well use it. Where as now a mugger might be looking at 5-10 years for an armed mugging, he might as well just shoot you from the start under your guidlines, because he is looking at 50 years at a minimum.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

So make it 150 years if you

So make it 150 years if you kill someone in the act of said crime. They will be off the street for a very long time, like forever. Most criminals are repeat offenders, so instead of perhaps shooting two people, they only shoot one. That is a 50% improvement.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

So make it 150 years of you

So make it 150 years of you kill someone in the act of said crime. They will be off the street for a very long time, like forever. Most criminals are repeat offenders, so instead of perhaps shooting two people, they only shoot one. That is a 50% improvement.

Advertisement

Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...