New law conceals gun-permit records

AUGUSTA — In near-unanimous votes in the Maine House and Senate on Tuesday, lawmakers agreed to temporarily seal from the public concealed-handgun permit records.

To see how your state senator voted, click here.

To see how your state representative voted, click here.

(AP Photo/Maine Governor's Office)

In this photo tweeted Feb. 12 by Gov. Paul LePage, the Maine governor displays his concealed firearms permit.

The Senate passed the bill 33-0, with two senators absent, while the House passed the bill 129-11, with 11 not voting on the measure. The action closes off public access to the permit data until April 30.

The bill, passed as an emergency measure, moved through both bodies with only marginal debate. The bill was not vetted before any legislative committee and no public hearings were held.

While gun rights advocates heralded the move, those concerned with the public's right to government information panned the process and the premise of the measure, noting the data were public for nearly 30 years without incident.

"Any time the public’s access to information is shuttered without adequate citizen participation, the people’s faith in government cannot help but be eroded," Earl Brechlin, the president of the Maine Press Association, said in an email message.

The measure was introduced by Gov. Paul LePage last week after the Bangor Daily News sought access to the data. The request prompted concerns from the state's gun lobby that those with permits would be placed in jeopardy or would have their privacy compromised.

Editors at the newspaper repeatedly said they had no intention of publishing the data "wholesale" and intended only to use the information for a two-year reporting project on domestic violence and drug crimes.

The newspaper later rescinded its request, but by then, according to lawmakers and LePage's staff, another request had been filed by an anonymous source.

That request included only an email address, without the name of the actual person, seeking the information. A hard copy of the email request sent to Christopher Parr, a staff attorney with the Maine Attorney General's Office, was released to reporters Tuesday. A message sent to the address seeking additional information bounced back as undeliverable.

Brechlin said lawmakers' reaction to the threat seemed exaggerated, given the circumstances.

"The perceived threat here was not any actual misuse of information but merely a legal and legitimate request to access it," Brechlin said. "The fact that the Legislature bypassed its own well-respected protocols for consideration of right-to-know legislation is extraordinarily disheartening."

But conservative gun-rights advocates were trumpeting Tuesday's vote as a sweeping victory and an example of bipartisan harmony. 

LePage's bill was sponsored by Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, in the Senate and by Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, in the House. 

Sen. Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, the Senate minority leader, praised the emergency measure prior to the enactment vote Tuesday. He also thanked LePage, Jackson and Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland.

"I also realize this is an event that is, well, rare," Thibodeau told his colleagues. "To take a bill in one day and get it down to the Governor's Office for his signature."

Thibodeau said quick passage of the bill Tuesday proved contrary to speculation that the current lawmaking session would be one of the most divisive in history.

"Who could have imagined that our very first opportunity to have a roll-call vote would result in a bill that was brought forward by the chief executive, sponsored by the majority party and will indeed probably receive unanimous support in the Senate," Thibodeau said. "I think it's a day that the folks back home would be very proud of this institution. I'm incredibly proud of this institution having taken the action that they have."

Not all lawmakers Tuesday were sounding the bipartisan trumpet. Several in the House objected to the procedures used to rush the bill through and to the premise that immediate action was required and only possible under the Legislature's rules for emergency legislation.

"Let me be perfectly clear about this bill," said Rep. Brian Jones, D-Freedom. "This is not a Second Amendment bill, this is a First Amendment bill. This is not an emergency in the context of the Maine State Constitution; this is a political emergency."

Jones said the need to sweep the bill through was no more a crisis than the need to act quickly on an issue before the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee concerning the use of rubber worms in bass fishing in Maine.

"What we are asking this body to do is to suspend First Amendment rights of transparency in our government to solve a nonexisting constitutional emergency," Jones said. "Subjects of such great moment, which are restricting the rights of our citizens to have access to our governmental records — moments such as these should be deliberated carefully and citizens should be allowed to speak to their legislators and have their voices heard on those matters."

Jones called the process "fundamentally flawed."

But news releases issued by other lawmakers and LePage praised the bill's passage for protecting permit holders while allowing the Legislature time to figure out a way to balance the rights to privacy with the rights to public access.

“I applaud the Legislature for expediting this matter,” LePage said in a prepared statement. “Now the debate can continue in the Legislature based on the merits of the bill while ensuring safety for all Mainers."

Also before lawmakers is a measure sponsored by Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, that would make permanent the closure of the permit records. The measure is expected to be heard before the Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in the weeks ahead.

House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, said he was pleased with Tuesday's vote.

“Republicans strongly support the substance of this bill and we look forward to seeing a more permanent solution work its way through the legislative process,” Fredette said in a prepared statement.

sthistle@sunjournal.com

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Comments

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I'd have no problem with the

I'd have no problem with the names of Concealed Weapons Permit holders being publicized as long as the names of these who've been on welfare for more than two years were publicized as well.

Glenn Aho's picture

I suspect that a great many

I suspect that a great many permit holders myself included were under the impression that this information was private.

We are talking about private citizens here, who have the right to privacy.
Now if we were talking about someone who worked within the public sector who needed a permit as part of his or duties it would be a different matter entirely.

I applaud Gov Lepage and the legislature for their prompt action on this issue.

Noel Foss's picture

Simmer down, folks.

This is just buying the legislators some time, a little "breathing room" if you will.
Given that it passed as a temporary measure with little debate and broad support from both sides of the aisle, I'm surprised to see so many nosy people getting so bent out of shape about it.
The passage of this piece of short-term legislation is an acknowledgement of a potential conflict between an individual's right to keep potentially sensitive information private and the public's right to know what the government is doing. Why people are getting so bent out of shape about the government wanting to make an informed decision regarding the release of this information is beyond me. Making the information private while they make their decision is a smart move; if they decide after 60 days to make the information private permanently, the information they're trying to protect hasn't already been released within that period of debate. If they decide to keep it public, after the 60 days are up people can put in their requests again. Not the end of the world.
If having this information private bothers you, you've now got 60 days to write or call your representative and tell them. Same goes for those of you who want to keep it private.
My take? Kudos to our legislature for wanting to make an informed decision.

Steve  Dosh's picture

New law conceals gun-permit records

Noel ? 10:30 am ish hst • ?
u r right • 
It's not like all this is TS ( Top Secret - HUMINT , eyes only ) State secrets or ne thing ;)
F O I A means just what it says •  Freedom Of Information Act /s ,a former Ombudsman 4.11 plz ref : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Information_Act_(United_States)

John Clement's picture

Ecclesiastes 10:2-3 explains

Ecclesiastes 10:2-3 explains it simply and concisely.

Steve  Dosh's picture

John ? w † ƒ w j d ? /s

John ? w † ƒ w j d ? /s Steve :)

RONALD RIML's picture

Simply and concisely for Simpletons. And John Bit.....

Old Prejudices die hard, eh John...... Slavery was also justified in the Bible.

Remember your High School Latin, John?

The latin term for 'Right' as in the Right side is 'Dexter,' synonymous with "on the right hand side, skillful, fortunate, favorable. Because that's how the world worked, how tools and implements were designed to be operated and used. - In a 'Right-Handed' method.

And "Left?" The Latin term is "sinistra" - "unlucky, unfavorable" (omens, especially bird flights, seen on the left hand were regarded as portending misfortune), the slower or weaker hand.

Though I reckon you are referring to politics. - which St. Paul wasn't. (Amazing how your would Prostitutute St. Paul for your own nefarious ends) Go to Confession......

But 'Left' and 'Right' for Politics? You have to go back to the French Revolution for that. Now go do your own research.

Noel Foss's picture

Ecclesiastes 10:2-3?

(Per my King James Bible) reads as follows:
"A wise man’s heart is at his right hand,
But a fool’s heart at his left.
Even when a fool walks along the way,
He lacks wisdom,
And he shows everyone that he is a fool."

Anatomically speaking, I guess we're all fools (seems reasonable). But are you saying those to the left are fools? Because given the rest of what you're saying below, this biblical reference seems to fly in the face of the rest of your opinions...
I agree that introspection often leads to contradiction, but in this case it seems unintentional?

Steve  Dosh's picture

Emergency bill shielding concealed handgun permit data passed .

Gun nuts , Tuesday 16:50 hst ?
There were 9,000 people murdered in these US of A in 2 0 1 1 , 3 9 in Britain . http://www.juancole.com/2011/01/over-9000-murders-by-gun-in-us-39-in-uk.... Facts are facts •  Four murdered today http://www.inquisitr.com/532485/4-dead-in-shooting-in-tustin-california/
Even our VP Joe Biden said, just today , " Buy a shotgun , not an AK-47 ." You can quote him on that
Guns are the problem people . " 30 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 30 firearms, 26 were loaded and 11 had rounds chambered. Here are pictures of some of the firearms. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post. " Domestic terrorists ( just ask TSA ) . http://blog.tsa.gov/
What and who are you afraid of , gentle men ? Canadians ? Mexicans ? The British are not coming any more . The 2nd amendment is anachronistic and i've had a gun pointed at me in anger , in Guatemala defending your rights to freedom of speeec and assembly ( among other more important rights ) where private armies and militias are the norm
Assault weapons , hollow point tipped ammunition ( i.e., " cop killers ") , multiple round banana clips serve one purpose : killing people . Try to deny that . You or anyone else can not really turn a gun in to a plow share . Neither can i . It's nearly physically impossible . Guns are made for killing . Read David Dickson's " The Politics of Science ." again . Get rid of guns like we got rid of the ? 70,000 nuclear warheads we shared with the Russians • We , the people , did that . Use a tazer , ladies . Buy some pepper spray or mace .  /s , Dr. Dosh and ohana , Hawai'i

Steve  Dosh's picture

. . sorry , almost forgot ,

. . sorry , almost forgot , you call yourselves sportsmen and women ? Try a bow and arrow . It has the added advantage of being - s i l e n t - and you can use it at night . .with a ƒlashlight and some binoculars. .to hunt your favorite helpless creatures and varmits . If you hit a deer or a moose in Maine and kill it with your car or truck you get to keep the meat . Road kill ? h t h :)

Steve  Dosh's picture

Mainers , Last but not least

Mainers , Last but not least 20:00 hst
" Biden said he keeps two shotguns and shells locked up at home and he's told his wife, Jill, to use them if she needs protection. He presumably was speaking about before he became vice president, a position that gives the couple full-time Secret Service protection , " Governor
http://www.hawaiiantel.net/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CDA4HVHM02%40news.ap.o...
His wifey is a fox , too , like Michelle * Wolf calls and w h i s t l e s *
Biden is Obama's attack dog , everyone
Get used to it
Thank you for your support ?
/s , Steverino ;)

RONALD RIML's picture

This information has been available for years.

Nothing in all those years occurred.

Until the Gun-Lobby created a Crisis. Which they are Professionals at.

Amedeo Lauria's picture

Scott, thanks for...

taking the time to update the story with the links to the voting record of the legislature on this bill.

I know how to get to the information, but your link makes it easy for the average reader to find it. In some cases may be very enlightening and informative if some further research done by constituents regarding those who were not present.

The information contained in those concealed carry records should, in my opinion, only be available to law enforcement personnel with a need to know. That is not so unusual. (I only say that because it was collected; I still hold the position that our right to bear arms should not be infringed. PERIOD)

This situation is, in my opinion, a perfect example of how this information can be used for political reasons or to further an agenda.

RONALD RIML's picture

For 'Gun-A-Holics Anonymous'

Gun-A-Holics Anonymous Twelve-Step Program

1. We admitted we were powerless over Guns & Ammo - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Caliber greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Master Armorer as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our Armory, our Ammunition, and our collection of National Rifleman Magazines.

5. Admitted to God, the NRA, and to an FFL Licensed Dealer the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have Charlton Heston remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings and trigger-jerk.

8. Made a list of all persons we wished to harm, and became willing to make concrete plans to do so.

9. Made direct amends to people we screwed on any gun deal whenever possible, except when to do so would injure our reputations or collections.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when wrong, promptly deny, deny, deny.

11. Sought through prayer and steady trigger pull to improve conscious contact with God's critical center mass as I understood Him, praying for the knowledge that my groups would grow smaller, and that I had the Power of His Will to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, I tried to carry this message to Gun-A- Holics everywhere, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Emergency bill shielding concealed handgun permit data passed ?

. t y v m Scott , 13.02.17 noon - ish ? 
http://hawaiiantel.net/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CDA4HV83O2%40news.ap.org%3...
. .uh , What was the energency again ? /s Steve , HI u s a

RONALD RIML's picture

The Emergency???

This was the Fourth Seal that had to be Broken before the Second Coming of Charlton the Charlatan......


Steve  Dosh's picture

Emergency bill shielding concealed handgun permit data passed ?

. t y v m Scott , 13.02.17 noon - ish ? 
http://hawaiiantel.net/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CDA4HV83O2%40news.ap.org%3...
. .uh , What was the energency again ? /s Steve , HI u s a

Amedeo Lauria's picture

I am proud of the actions of the brave legislators who voted...

to approve this emergency measure.

This is REALLY positive bi-partisanship on a critical privacy and safety issue.

I think it would be interesting to know who and the reasons for the absence of the two senators as well as the 11 members of the house who did not vote.

I think Mainers might want to know the who and why...I for one would, so I can voice my opinion appropriately at the ballot box during the next election.

Perhaps now the ringing phones at the statehouse will get a little break...a sincere thanks to those who called to express their opionion on this bill.

RONALD RIML's picture

If anything was lacking - it was Courage.

The names of 'Concealed Carry' are now concealed as under Hoods of White Sheets.

Noel Foss's picture

right....

Because everybody who chooses not to strap their gun to their hip is a racist...
Perfect analogy.

RONALD RIML's picture

You're right - I should remember all the fear expressed

under the White President

Gun sales were no so high as under George W. Bush.

Noel Foss's picture

That's an...interesting... comparison.

But I doubt it's entirely race-related.
Consider that President Bush had pro-gun leanings, and President Obama has an anti-gun history. It seems reasonable to assume that has more to do with the surge of firearms sales since his election. The more so now that he's actively pushing restrictions.
Say the president and a group of legislators started pushing a ban on alcohol sales. You'd have an awfully hard time find any Jack Daniel's on the shelf at Hannaford. Same thing as the surge in gun sales over the last few years.
I'm sure that the president's race is a motivating factor for some buyers, but I very much doubt it's the primary reason.

RONALD RIML's picture

President's don't pass laws

And they never called Bush a Muslim

Noel Foss's picture

Right.

So you're saying that people who own guns are both racist and religiously discriminatory.
That's pretty ignorant.

RONALD RIML's picture

Congratulations - You drew that conclusion all on your lonesome.

Hi Iggie......

Noel Foss's picture

If it's untrue, enlighten me as to what you ARE saying.

Other than "I don't like guns or anything to do with them"
Because the statements about race and religion don't really tie in with the discussion at hand, but with regards to this article they're the most lucid thing I've seen from you yet.

RONALD RIML's picture

YOU compared Firearms to Firewater (Jack Daniels)

In an illustration as to how each might fly off the shelf.

One small problem. Booze is a 'Consumable' - as is ammunition. Firearms are not.

So just exactly how many are enough?? This reminds me of the 'Arms Race' of the 50/60's

It's not the 'Firearms' I so much have a problem with - it's what folks end up doing to themselves and others with them. I had to pick up too many pieces.

You may have perhaps noted in my profile that I was a certified Police Firearms Instructor. I was damn good at teaching people how to shoot, and consistently shot 'Master Class' myself. But a gun is nothing more than a tool.

But there are those who view firearms in an almost mystical manner; it is a tool which endows these souls with belief in powers far beyond those which they would normally view themselves capable of. I've seen the change which can come over some when they are given a gun - or lust for a particular weapon. Watch some people at 'Gun Shows' - I've been to enough. Like the old 'Bargain Basement' at Filene's - you could smell the desire, the jealousy, the sweat. The angst as to whether or not one could close that deal. All over instruments of death.

And as much as those instruments have been coveted - I have responded to that call - where a 'Loved One' placed the barrel in his mouth, blowing out the back of his skull - perhaps having first taken another family member first.

It's just made me so damn sick over so many years.

Like the government's going to come and take them all away. Poor Babies. Find another Lollipop to suck on.

Noel Foss's picture

Not a consumable, but they are a commodity.

If you'd prefer, I'll change my analogy to "microwaves" to hold more on the line of tools to be used. Although, ammunition has been in short supply lately as well, due to talk of restricting purchases of that as well.
How many firearms somebody chooses to have is their business, not yours, or the government's. When you consider the percentage of legally owned guns in the country, versus the # of them that are used in a crime, you're going to come up with a very small percentage. The big factor is the "legal" part. I've done a lot of reading on the Cold War, from the cynical view of somebody raised primarily post-Soviet collapse. There's a big difference between countries bankrupting each other trying to one-up the other guy and a person who chooses to be a firearms enthusiast.
I certainly agree a dislike of "gun worship" as being unhealthy and dangerous, just as blindly worshipping anything can be. But I can't condone throwing everybody under the same umbrella as you seem to have been doing with firearms owners. The vast majority of (legal) firearms owners will never commit a crime with them. As a former cop, I'm sure you're aware of that. People who go through the trouble to get a concealed weapons permit rather than just "packing heat" are probably even less likely to commit a crime with them.
You used to be a cop and an instructor: you must be able to distinguish the difference between a tool and the person who uses it (granted, some of them are probably tools). You obviously also know that the gun, as a tool, needs a person to operate it (with varying degrees of skill, to be sure). So why would you try and restrict the availability of the tools, rather than trying to fix the causal effect (the person using them)? If you don't like guns, that's fine. I've got no problem with that. Don't like them. Don't keep one.
The guy who's convinced the Government is coming for his guns? When you lump everybody who's opposed to firearms restrictions in with that guy, you're being the equal and opposite of him. Just as absurd, but more insulting to those of us who like (and don't worship) our tools.
Look, I can understand your position and your opinion. But I strongly disagree with how you present it sometimes. I'd be happy to keep discussing them, but I feel like we've wasted enough SJ space. Too bad SJ doesn't have private messaging, haha.

RONALD RIML's picture

I'm Insulting???

Jason Theriault's picture

Very critical.

So critical because it's only been available since forever, and we all know of the rash of permit holders getting mugged by liberals for their guns.

SCOTT THISTLE's picture
staff

Roll calls on the vote

Hi Amedeo,
I added some clickable links to the story so you can see the roll calls on these votes. Good idea thanks for suggesting that. I know at least some of the absences were excused for illness. So I don't think they were avoiding a vote. Just FYI.
Cheers,
Scott Thistle

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