Legislators to discuss gun permit privacy and public info access

AUGUSTA — The Legislature's Judiciary Committee takes up the issue of concealed handgun permits today in a work session on a bill that makes permit data confidential.

AP file photo

Maine Gov. Paul LePage displays his own concealed firearms permit in this photo posted to the governor's Twitter feed. LePage was responding to a request by the Bangor Daily News for public information on concealed carry firearms permits in Maine.  "There is no reason why these records should be public, and I encourage the Legislature to act quickly to make this personal information confidential," LePage said in a prepared statement.

The legislation LD 345 was offered by Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, and was prompted in part after the Bangor Daily requested access to the gun permit data statewide under the state's open records law.

Advocates say the measure protects "law abiding" citizens with gun permits from an unnecessary invasion of their privacy and also insures their safety.

Open records advocates say the permits are open so the government can't discriminate secretly against permit applicants.

They also point out that oversight of the records in other states has shown flawed processes that allowed some people convicted of violent crimes to still hold concealed handgun permits.

While permit application data has been sealed in Maine, the information on the permit including name and address of the permit holder have been public since 1981.

Most other permits issued by the state are subject to the state's open records law and are available for public inspection — including driving records and automobile registration records. Voter registration records also are open to the public. Political parties and candidates are allowed to purchase copies of those lists, which also include names and addresses.

There are several amendments pending Wilson's bill, and some Republicans are speculating Democrats are trying to kill the measure with changes that would create new costs to taxpayers — difficult to pass in a tight budget year.

Under a temporary law, which expires April 30, the information on concealed handgun permits in Maine is sealed from the public inspection.
That measure, signed by Gov. Paul LePage, was meant as a "cooling off" period, but gun rights advocates seek to make the seal permanent.
The committee was scheduled to discuss amendments to the bill at 1 p.m. today.

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Concealed carry

If we grant that personal information on concealed carry permits should remain secret from public scrutiny then we are making the assumption that whoever is responsible for granting these permits is also beyond scrutiny. In other states, it has been learned, tragically, that these permits were given out to convicted felons and to people who had protection orders issued against them. Who is going to be responsible for making sure the people granting these permits are not endangering public safety I wonder? Considering that no one has been injured by the standards we have been using for years, it seems stupid to change to a policy that seems way more unsafe.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Legislators to discuss gun permit privacy and public info access

Scott ? hump day 09:20 hst ?
Still snowing ? & All 13.04.03
What's with your Hon. Gov. n e way ? Does he carry a concealed weapon ? ME should follow CT in the gun law controversy and do them one better and outlaw them except for service personnel . Service personnel • Only
Your state is getting a bit like North Korea with all the sabre rattling going on . Mind you , these are all rhetorical questions . Who supports your Governor ? The Hon. Senators Snowe and Collins ? We know King does not but the N R A does in most likelihood . The Sierra Club contributed to his war chest , also
The difference between our two states ( Vacationland and Hawai'i ) is that people are moving in here , not out •
/s Steve hth ?

 's picture

CC holders say...

...their safety and privacy are at stake. I would be curious to know how many CC holders safety was compromised during the first 30 years their information was public. As far as privacy is concerned, I can understand that, just in case someone with a CC permit does something wrong. We wouldn't want that to become public, would we. ALL CC holders are strictly law abiding citizens and not one of them would do anything illegal. At least, none we would know about. Probably an NRA rule.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Bob ? A: Zero ( 0 o 0

Bob ? A: Zero ( 0 o 0 ø º • ) ;)
/s Steve
and i retain my T S clearance in the eventuality that i'll need to use it •

Noel Foss's picture

I think they should remain sealed.

Just like a driver's license, this is a permit that contains potentially sensitive information that shouldn't be available to the general public.

 's picture

You can look up...

...my driver's license information on line right now if you want to.

Noel Foss's picture

Ehhhh.....No I can't.

I can look up your driving RECORD, should I care to spend the $7 (I don't), but not your driver's license. The information contained there is confidential.

Nifty, huh? So why isn't the information on a CCW Permit deserving of the same protection?

JUDY MEYER's picture

Ehh. Yes you can.

The information you can obtain through this link does indeed carry your license information (in addition to your driving record), including name, street address, date of birth, your organ donor status, and whether you are convicted as a habitual offender, which is more information than is printed on the face of your CCW permit.

Noel Foss's picture


Your street address is not included. If it is, it's a direct breach of the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994.
There's also no picture of you (both driver's licenses and many CCW Permits carry an image of the person they are issued to).
Additionally, there are no descriptors of height, weight, eye color, hair color, or race. Concealed weapons permits carry ALL of that, NONE of which is included in a driving record report.

Sample history report taken from the Maine.gov website:

link to wikipedia page regarding the DPPA of 1994:

Link to the actual text of the DPPA of 1994, should you care for some incredibly dry reading:

JUDY MEYER's picture

I just ran my license

And, while the "sample" report on the maine.gov site shows the street address and DOB struck out, it is not on a paid report.
Here's what comes back:
Full name
Street address
Date of birth
License number
Whether ever convicted of OUI
Whether ever identified as a habitual offender
Organ donor status
License issue
License expiration
Driver status
License class
Medical certified status
Self certified status
Points on license
Notation on whether you've ever been involved in an accident (as driver or vehicle owner)
Notation on whether you have any moving violations
There's more, but you get the gist.
Maine contracts with the for-profit informe.org to sell this information to anyone willing to pay $7.

Noel Foss's picture

I find that sad.

Given the statement provided on the Informe.org website.

"This online service allows access to State of Maine driving records retrieved directly from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles database. The electronic record displays driving history information only. The federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act of 1994 restricts access to personal information, including address and social security number (title 18, United States Code, chapter 123). You may see a record example before making a non-refundable search."


Looks like I'm writing another letter to my representative today.


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