Fact check: Concealed carry Q&A

The Judiciary Committee will continue work on LD 345 today, an act to permanently shield the identity of concealed handgun permit holders under Maine's Freedom of Access Act. The public hearing on that legislation was March 19, and many of the assertions and questions raised during that hearing have not been answered.

We answer them here:

*      *     *

Testimony: Under the Constitution, the right to carry open or concealed firearms shall not be infringed and this right shall never be questioned, citing Murdock v Pennsylvania (U.S. Supreme Court, 1943).

Fact: Murdock did not consider Second Amendment arguments, but ruled that an ordinance requiring religious solicitors to purchase a license was an unconstitutional tax on religious freedom.

There are two recent Supreme Court rulings that are on point, though.

In District of Columbia v Heller in 2008 and again in McDonald v Chicago in 2010, the court upheld Americans’ Second Amendment provisions to own firearms, with limitations. One of the limitations recognized by the court authorizes states to regulate permits to conceal carry. Regulating concealed carry is permitted under the Constitution.

*      *     *

Testimony: Victims of domestic violence are in danger if their abusers know where they live.

Fact: Domestic violence victims have protection under the Address Confidentiality Program. That program allows victims to domestic violence to apply to the Secretary of State’s Office for a “designated address assigned by the Secretary,” and that address is then to be used on all records maintained by local and state agencies, which could include concealed carry permits. Nonetheless, in her written testimony on LD 345, Julia Colpitts of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence urged Judiciary to craft a special shield, an amendment that Rep. Charlie Priest, D-Brunswick, proposed on March 21, matching the provisions now available to these victims through the existing Address Confidentiality Program.

*      *     *

Testimony: Permit holders who hold concealed carry permits were never informed the permit is a public record.

Fact: All concealed carry applicants are notified when they sign their applications that the resulting permit is a public record, and are required to initial that notification.

The “State of Maine Application for Permit to Carry Concealed Handgun” carries a disclaimer at the bottom of Page 9 that the information is considered confidential only to the extent provided by 25 M.R.S.A. §2006. That statute requires the issuing authority to make a record of the information contained in the permit and that record “must be available for public inspection.” (LD 576 created a temporary shield that expires April 30.)

The disclaimer appears in all capital letters just above the applicant’s signature line to authorize the release of information.

 *      *     *

Testimony: There are currently 483 exemptions from FOAA, so what’s one more?

Fact: The exact number of exemptions in FOAA is not clear because they are spread throughout statute, but the most current list of known exemptions (as of November 2012) identifies only one state-issued permit that is confidential under FOAA: the permit for a nutrient management plan for livestock operations required by the Department of Agriculture because that plan is considered a trade secret. [7 M.R.S.A. §4205(2)]

*      *     *

Testimony: There should be an investigation to see where information released previously wound up and for what reason.

Fact: State Police and other issuing authorities keep some records of where information released winds up and, in recent years, for example, it wound up in the hands of Downeast Energy as a company-wide safety measure after one of their employees was shot and killed on the job, it wound up in the hands of representatives of Gov. LePage’s office after then-Rep. Frederick Wintle’s handgun-related arrest, and in the hands of the marketing firms of Catalist LLC and emerges.com which build and sell database information to politicians, lobbyists, nonprofits and commercial companies.

*      *     *

Testimony: The fear of personal information being released “led to emergency bipartisan legislation to be enacted on a temporary basis that protects these individuals. This measure received broad support on both sides of the aisle.”

Fact: While there was certainly bipartisan support for LD 576, the overwhelming testimony on the floor of both the House and Senate argued in favor of establishing the temporary ban as a “cooling off period” requested by Gov. LePage. There was no public hearing on the bill and no deep floor debate on the merits of the FOAA shield.

*      *     *

Testimony: FOAA was implemented so that citizens could keep government “honest.”

Fact: Government regulates the application process, review process, cost and enforcement of permits and licenses of all description, and citizen access to that information keeps the governmental regulatory process “honest.” FOAA is about, as one person testified, the transparency of our democratically elected government. And, “the public has an absolute right to know who is holding a special state-issued permit and what the holders are permitted to do.”

*      *     *

Testimony: “We don’t need the media to supervise and publish lists of potential dangerous persons owning or possessing a firearms permit. These permit applications are investigated by bona fide police personnel doing the background checks on each application.”

Fact: A 2011 New York Times investigation found that, of the 240,000 permits issued in North Carolina — a shall-issue state that requires public access to permits — 2,400 of the permit holders were convicted of felonies and misdemeanors, including at least 10 who committed murder or manslaughter. More than 200 of permit holders were also convicted of gun- or weapon-related felonies or misdemeanors, including “roughly 60 who committed weapon-related assaults,” according to the Times. That investigation concluded the high rate of permit holders who had criminal records was a result of lax policing of the permit process. In that case, the media uncovered government wrongdoing.

*      *     *

Testimony: The Journal News published the names, addresses and a detailed map of concealed permit holders in two New York counties … in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting. …  The action was obviously a provocative attempt by a media outlet to label law-abiding concealed permit holders with a scarlet letter.

Fact: The Journal News published the names and addresses on an online-only interactive map of permit holders in New York. At the time, the newspaper’s publisher said the community “should know where gun permit holders in their community were, in part to give parents an opportunity make careful decisions about their children’s safety.” The newspaper took down the permit data after 27 days, but maintains a map and its associated red locator dots online to convey “a powerful message: gun permit holders are everywhere in our counties,” according to Publisher Janet Hasson.

Contrary to testimony offered by multiple people, no photographs of listed homes were ever published.

*      *     *

Testimony: The Journal News map led criminals to burglarize homes at two addresses contained on the map.

Fact: Police in White Plains investigated an early theory that the map and the burglary in that town were connected, but the investigation has since concluded they were not, according to the police commissioner's office. Police in New City believed from the start that the burglary was random and had no connection to the online map.

*      *     *

Testimony: In light of the Journal News actions, New York passed legislation protecting concealed carry permit identification.

Fact: New York maintains public access to all permits, but recently adopted a provision allowing pistol owners to ask that their names be withheld from the public record if the permit holder provides a reason why their life or safety may be endangered or how they may be subjected to unwarranted harassment by disclosure of information. That is the same protection requested of domestic violence advocates and currently proposed by Rep. Priest.

Judith Meyer is a law-abiding gun owner and a managing editor at the Sun Journal. She is a member of the Right to Know Advisory Committee, and vice president of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

Fact check: Concealed carry Q&A

†yvm Judith 13:00 hst ? 13.04.04 Thursday
http://blog.tsa.gov/
/s, the readers • 

Brock Harmon's picture

read - 'opinion check'

The authors clear bias shines through. This read more like an op-ed than a fact check. This just perpetuates the myth that there is no fair news - just more spin.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Brock ? Most illegal handguns

Brock ? Most illegal handguns ( > 1/2 ) in these very U S of A are only used in felonious suicides . Suicide is against the law . ƒact • /s Dr. Dosh hth ?

RONALD RIML's picture

Try getting statistics from the State

(No 'Private Information'- just Statistics on CCW Permits.)

"Sorry, we can't get it out of the Computer" It's old and won't talk to us. By the way - why do you want to know???"

- Gee, I don't know, perhaps because I was born yesterday.....

Steve  Dosh's picture

- l o l , Frank ?  " My

- l o l , Frank ?  " My computer just went down on me ." Q: What's that mean ? /s, your friend Steve . ..•

Noel Foss's picture

Technically fact checking. Just selectively.

Kind of one-sided fact checking. Could it be that the SJ has a vested interest in preventing changes to Maine's FOAA (sarcasm intended, but with no malice aforethought)
Granted, the majority of people who gave testimony were in support of making this information private permanently.
However, I'd be interested in seeing an analysis of the assertion made by Rep. Paul McGowan that only CCW permit holders keep firearms in their homes. Given that the majority of people in Maine who own firearms don't have CCW permits, it seems foolish to assume that a list of CCW holders will allow his constituents to ensure they don't send their children to a house with a gun. Perhaps they should consider the old-fashioned approach of actually contacting the parent whose house their child shall be attending.
Additionally, the disclaimer at the bottom of page 9 of the CCW permit application makes no mention of the permit being a matter of public record; it merely references the statute that does, with no explanation thereof.
"INFORMATION OBTAINED PURSUANT TO THIS RELEASE IS CONFIDENTIAL TO THE EXTENT PROVIDED BY 25 M.R.S.A. § 2006 AND MAY NOT BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION OR COPYING BY THE ISSUING AUTHORITY UNLESS THE CONFIDENTIALITY IS
WAIVED BY THIS APPLICANT BY WRITTEN NOTICE TO THE ISSUING AUTHORITY."
Given the wording included, namely "may not be made available for public inspection," applicants could be forgiven for believing the information to be private. The supplied handbook contains 25 MRSA under the heading of "confidentiality of application" and contains some wording that could be considered contradictory. Interestingly, this information is absent from the fact check above.
There's other instances, but this is long enough already.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Noel ? Post a picture ? It's

Noel ? Post a picture ? It's EZ to do . Thanks for that 4.11. /s, Us

RONALD RIML's picture

Let's consider the other side of 'Fact-Çhecking

I asked numerous times on forums: What reported crimes in Maine have been attributed to a person's CCW being Public Information?

Provide the applicable Police Report, please.

Noel Foss's picture

To my knowledge, none.

And I'm assuming that ties in with your information, or you wouldn't have asked the question. Not sure how it ties in with the discussion being held here, though, since nobody on this page (including the original author, in fact) brought it up before you did.
Does it mean that there's no risk of such a crime being committed? Absolutely not. How many crimes were committed against Permit holders in NY before the Journal News published its interactive map? (incidentally, the source cited in the article above is an article from the preliminary stages of an investigation; it's my understanding that the police typically don't offer opinions based on information they don't have at that point, correct?)
How many reported crimes in Maine were attributed to driver's license information being made public, before the federal government insisted it be made confidential?
Last time I checked, there were 35 (I think; it may have been 36) states with Concealed Carry Confidentiality laws on the books. How many of them had seen their permit holders targeted before passing those laws? Does it matter? Probably not; they still thought that the laws were a good idea. LD345 (and its recent amendment) doesn't deny information; it merely denies personal information. It doesn't bar access to the number of permits held, in what counties or towns. It doesn't bar access to the information by members of law enforcement, it simply seeks to keep potentially sensitive personal information about members of the public out of the hands of the rest of the general public.
The phrase "reasonable expectation of privacy" means less and less every day; it clearly doesn't mean much to you. Hopefully it means considerably more to our legislators.

RONALD RIML's picture

How it 'Ties In' - Exactly as I told your folks were complaining

Letter to the Editor

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/03/09/opinion/protecting-the-privacy-of-...

"The purpose of a conceal and carry permit is to allow people to protect themselves, without disrupting the public. Making the names and addresses of permit holders public defeats the purpose of “concealing” the weapon. With the release, all permit holders could become targets, either by criminals looking to obtain a firearm that would be untraceable, by anti-gun activists or by the very people the permit holders would want to protect themselves from."

RONALD RIML's picture

There is a significant difference between a government action

Empowering a person to carry concealed and granting a person the privilege to drive.

That action should be open to public inspection - and not barred for so-called 'privacy' reasons, when there has been no compelling case made for the necessity for privacy.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Then, you'd be supportive of

Then, you'd be supportive of making public the names of all people who have been on welfare for three years or more?

RONALD RIML's picture

Has the Government made a decision

that these people would be legally enabled to carry concealed instruments of death that other citizens are not entitled to???

If so, then we can discuss it.

Noel Foss's picture

You do realize that Maine's an open carry state, right?

And that any citizen who's not legally barred from owning a firearm can carry "instruments of death" around on their hip anytime they choose? The folks who choose to carry concealed are the ones who are more considerate of some people's dislike of firearms, by opting to keep them out of public view.
So why do you need access to the list of people who've gone through the additional criminal and mental health assessments, training, and approval to carry their firearm under their jacket or in a pocket rather than in the open?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Frankly, I'm more concerned

Frankly, I'm more concerned with the guy that's carrying his piece holstered but out in the open than I might be of the other dozen or so that may be packing but under CCW protocols. Whether it's at the Walmart or the Fryeburg Fair, the open carry guy with the holster makes me nervous.

Rrrrrr Matey!

If the majority of people are carrying ........... your worries will be fruitless. Ask the parrot, I bet he agrees.
Good to see ya Pirate!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"I think Canadian women are

"I think Canadian women are cool"!!, was the parrot's answer when I asked him. As you can see, he's not quite up to speed with the program.
If everyone were packing, and everyone knew it, we would probably transform into a more civilized and polite society, or, it would be Tombstone all over again. Hard to say what the people in this country will do anymore. Who would ever have thought oBAMa would be a two-termer?
Good to see you too, David.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Make that "Good to see you

Make that "Good to see you too, Gary."
Sorry about that.

Not to worry my friend,

With two first names I'll answer to both. People can call me anything, just don't call me late for supper ..... aarrrggg!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

i've had transpositions of

i've had transpositions of first and surnames (as in Jean St. Paul) myself on a few occasions, but it only happens once. Second timers get to walk the plank. AARRGHH!!

RONALD RIML's picture

You believe the State is 'Omnipotent and All Knowing?'

"So why do you need access to the list of people who've gone through the additional criminal and mental health assessments, training, and approval to carry their firearm under their jacket or in a pocket rather than in the open?"

You have more faith in the decision making process than I.

Noel Foss's picture

Quite the opposite, in fact.

"You have more faith in the decision making process than I."
If your issue is with how well the state regulates its decision making processes, why aren't you pursuing making public lists of people on welfare, or taking schedule 1 narcotics, or who've been designated mentally unfit? Those are all regulated by the state, or offices overseen by the state. And Schedule 1 narcotics are arguably more dangerous to the general public than concealed weapons permits.
If you don't trust the system, shouldn't it apply to the entire system?

RONALD RIML's picture

Last I checked.....

The list of persons licensed to prescribe or dispense controlled drugs in Maine was public record, and were required to hang their license in a visible place.

So you agree CCW holders shall wear their license boldly displayed about their person????

Noel Foss's picture

well, by that comparison

It'd actually be that the local Police stations (the ones who are 'dispensing' the permits) would have to display a sign in a visible place, not the people receiving the product.
So no, I don't.

RONALD RIML's picture

Dispenser of Permits doesn't 'Hang it' - Permittee Does

Try another tack, Noel.....

Noel Foss's picture

I'm not the one with the wrong sails set for the breeze at hand.

You made a comparison between concealed carry permits and prescription drug permits. However, prescription drug permits are an authorization to dispense a product, whereas CCW permits are a product being dispensed. Hence, my statement that the local police station (as the dispenser) is more similar to the pharmacy (who is required to display said permit to dispense drugs), and the CCW permit holders are more similar to the people receiving the prescription drugs (as the recipients of said product).
Put in simpler terms:
State authorizes local pharmacies to dispense drugs; citizenry receive prescription drugs.
State authorizes local police stations to dispense CCW permits; citizenry receive CCW permits.

Try another tack, Ron...

RONALD RIML's picture

The State is the major 'Issuer' of CCW Permits.

There are 433 Towns and 16 Cities in Maine. The State issues permits for the vast majority of these.

http://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/licenses/documents/Weapons/Concealed%20Hand...

Noel Foss's picture

Those are issued by the State Police...

Who, unless I'm very much mistaken, are a police force, who have been authorized by the state government to issue these permits.
And given that the permits are still the commodity being issued, and police forces are the ones issuing them, my comparison still stands.
If you'd prefer, I'll amend the wording.
State authorizes pharmacies to dispense drugs; citizenry receive drugs.
State authorizes police forces to dispense permits; citizenry receive permits.

RONALD RIML's picture

I bet you must be the very same person......

Who, when pulled over for a traffic violation - Says: But Officer, why aren't you arresting someone who is really committing a crime??

To which I replied: "I am"

Noel Foss's picture

Oh, absolutely!

But that protestation would only be after I'd attempted a bribe with my Oxycontin and my EBT card, then complained that "My taxes pay your salary, you know!"

Noel Foss's picture

You're right, there is a significant difference.

One's predicated upon a constitutionally guaranteed right. One's not. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of a driver's license?
However, they're both privileges. They're each granted by the state based upon certain requirements regarding training, mental health, and criminal background.

But you see a difference between making the information on Driver's licenses confidential, and making the information on a CCW permit confidential, despite the fact that they contain nearly identical information? Where's the logic in that? Or do you think that the information on driver's licenses should no longer be considered confidential under the FOAA?

No Comments Yet?

I'm curious as to why not. Great article. There's nothing better than fact checks and I'd love to hear any debate. More interesting is these sites Catalist LLC and emerges.com. and who are their recipients??

Brock Harmon's picture

This was an op-ed piece, not

This was an op-ed piece, not a fact-check. The opinion of the author on the subject matter is clear, which should not be the case with any fact-checking. She was unable to hide the divisive and incindiary tone that shines through when most folks 'discuss' issues involving guns. Not saying her opinion is wrong or right - just that there is NO place for it in any 'fact-check'.

RONALD RIML's picture

Obviously Brock did not following the supporting 'Links'

And you included no links nor references in your reply, it's noticed.......

I stand by my comment.

What was written in the "op-ed" appears to be some facts to me. I don't profess to have all the answers and I surely I don't approach "op-eds" with blinders on. Where are the disputes to what she said? Just saying it's biased it a shortcut to nowhere. Dispute the claims written. Bring something to table that references the topic. Gun issues always go off on tangents and for some reason the gun advocates always end up including words like what you use, divisive and incendiary, and many statements by others. Why not debate the topic here. Where is she wrong? Where is she right? Call it what you may. To me it's a fact-check, until proven otherwise written in an op-ed.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Gar, Never let the †ruth be

Gar, Never let the †ruth be the enemy of the good • hth ? /s Dr. Dosh , suicide mopper upper • 

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