North Carolina Newspaper With No Backbone Apologizes For Its Request For Public Records

from the incredible dept

It's no secret that the latest decision by many newspapers to publish records of gun-permit holders after obtaining them via Freedom of Information Act requests is somewhat controversial. Some people are against the practice and think that such information should not be public. Wherever you come down on that side of the debate, however, hopefully you can recognize that since (in most places) the information is officially a public record, no publication or news organization should ever have to apologize for merely requesting the information. And yet, as pointed out by Jim Romenesko, The Cherokee Scout in Murphy N.C., posted an astoundingly groveling apology to its readers last week for the sin of daring to request public records:

NOTE TO READERS

The Cherokee Scout made a tremendous error in judgment this week, and thanks to our readers we learned a tough lesson.

As publisher of your local newspaper, I want to apologize to everyone we unintentionally upset with our public records request for a list of those who have or have applied for a concealed carry permit. We had no idea the the reaction it would cause.

Sheriff Keith Lovin had the best interests of the people of Cherokee County at heart when he denied our request. The Scout would like to offer an apology to him as well.

To that end, Editor Robert Horne spoke with Lovin on Friday morning to tell him we were withdrawing our public records request. He asked for a written copy of request, and Horne dropped it off at his office that morning.

While Horne was on the phone with the sheriff, he also thanked him and his staff for their quick response when some people who saw Facebook posts started making personal threats against him. Horne also requested a sit-down meeting in the near future to iron out any issues between the Scout and the sheriff's office, which Lovin graciously accepted.

I realize many people are upset with Horne, myself and the Scout and we can understand that. We never meant to offend the wonderful people of this fine community nor hurt the reputation of this newspaper. We do a lot of positive work that helps make Cherokee County an even better place to live, and I hope more good work will repair our reputation with readers.

Many of you have asked where Horne is from. He is from a small town in south Georgia — Cairo, Ga., to be exact. It is a rural area much like Murphy, and his roots are helping him better understand this community. [He has been editor of the paper since 2005.]

As for myself, I attended Murphy High School. I was married and baptized here, and three of my children are proud Bulldogs. This county has been important to me for a long time.

I know where this community is coming from, and I hope we can regain your trust. I know it may take a while, but we're going to try. Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

Publisher David Brown

Newspaper publishers are supposed to stand up for their right to ask for public information, not grovel about how it was a mistake to ask for it in the first place. People might not like it, but newspapers aren't supposed to only report on the stories that people like. If that's the case, they're no longer a newspaper, they're a marketing brochure.


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    Jay (profile), Feb 26th, 2013 @ 6:24pm

    What a pussy...

    I can't even call that a newspaper. Journalism is about speaking truth to power and answering tough questions. This "editor" is about being a stenographer. When the going got tough, his courage got going.

    His favorite color turned from green to yellow.

    He sleeps with a night light while tucked in the fetal position.

    His biggest regret in life is that he didn't get the job he wanted in being the secretary for a rich CEO.

    I can't come up with enough bad things to say about a coward that decides that he'd rather get stepped on instead of standing up to bullies.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:02am

      Re: What a pussy...

      "I can't come up with enough bad things to say about a coward that decides that he'd rather get stepped on instead of standing up to bullies."

      Althought maybe he was actually concerned of having to stand up to bullets.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:11am

      Re: What a pussy...

      They aren't bowing to a heavy handed government, or a wealthy business. They realized they pissed off the people. You know, the ones who buy the newspapers.
      They weren't breaking a cover-up or shady practices. There is no reason to publish the information of law abiding citizens just because they happen to be gun-permit holders.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:30am

      Re: What a pussy...

      I can't come up with enough bad things to say about a coward that decides that he'd rather get stepped on instead of standing up to bullies.

      That's funny. I heard no condemnation of Aaron Swartz by you. Sadly, his was the ultimate surrender to perceived bullies.

      While I am not inspired by the actions of the paper, I know that small newspapers are particularly influenced by community standards. And while CCW permits are public realm, I'm sure many found it to be invasive of their privacy and not particularly newsworthy. The paper could likely accomplished its goals by referring to the number of permits rather than seeking to "name names".

      You so-called privacy lovers sure are enigmas.

       

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        Jay (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:51pm

        Re: Re: What a pussy...

        Maybe because Aaron wanted to unlock research. I still don't like how he committed suicide but I can't do much about it.

        Here, having gun data gives an assessment of who doors and shows not wasn't guns in society.

        The problem with the paper is that he bowed away from a tough assignment and turned into a Lilly livered coward at the first few signs of danger.

        This isn't journalism if you don't have the cottage to pursue the tough questions and speak truth to power.

        It's merely stenography.

         

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          Jay (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: What a pussy...

          " data gives an assessment of who doors and shows not wasn't guns in society."

          Does and does not want guns in society...

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:08pm

    Of course it's a marketing brochure. All the newspapers are!
    I think David was worried about getting sent off to the cornfield.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:12pm

    Does that mean they have to do away with the police blotter?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:16pm

    How is publishing a list of gun owners "journalism" to begin with?

     

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    S. T. Stone, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 8:50pm

    I live in North Carolina, so I feel that gives me the full right to ask this: what kind of a pussy runs that paper?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 4:43am

      Re:

      So any one can ask for and obtain your tax records, they are public records after all, in that they are collected by the government.

       

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        Greg G, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 7:12am

        Re: Re:

        No. Tax records contain PII, ie, your social security number, name, address, DOB.

        Unless the PII is removed, it is not a public record.

         

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    MrWilson, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:05pm

    I know it's a matter of public record since David Brown put his name on the apology, and the newspaper itself, but geez Mike, I'm just so darn offended that you mentioned his name! I'm just gonna have to shoot someone because information that was already readily accessible to the public was published on this here blogsite thingy.

    ~~~~

    Seriously though. The government is the one keeping the records and these gun-nut yahoos tend to be more afraid of the government than journalists, so I don't get the reason for the outcry. It's not like it was a list of johns for a prostitution scandal like in Kennebunk.

     

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    Larry, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 9:29pm

    Cowardice?

    How is responding to your customer base 'cowardice'?

    How can a site that wants to champion privacy seem to advocate the opposite here? What is the difference between the government collecting all of your online data and a news organization publishing it? The act of publishing and consuming that publication is the difference.

    If you want some news organization to publish every last piece of "public" information about you, then sign up. I don't.

    Jeez.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 10:00pm

      Re: Cowardice?

      Your publicly available information is not private and releasing that information does not violate your privacy.

      This isn't really a difficult concept, nor is the difference between a government collecting data about you and a private organization revealing already-public information about you.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 11:24pm

        Re: Re: Cowardice?

        So. Next time somebody puts a sign on your lawn that reads "Please burglarize this home. There are lots of goodies here.", just treat it as a public information service.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 11:54pm

          Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

          Why did you buy a gun then?
          Was it not to effectively protect yourself?
          If it attracts criminals is really useful?

           

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          Sneeje (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 4:26am

          Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

          Do you really not understand how those are two different things? Your lawn is not a public space and placing the sign would require trespassing.

          Saying they are the same thing completely ignores any context around the information requested (legally). And please don't say that context doesn't matter, because that would be an insurmountable level of willful ignorance.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

            You are right, posting a sign on the lawn is not a good analogy.
            Let's say the newspaper reports a list of big flat screen TV owners. How would you like to have your "public information" listed in that article? The point is it makes you a target to thieves. Guns are more appealing to thieves than your flat screen TV.

             

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              Rapnel (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

              Those that own bf tv's are not on the public record. I get what you're getting at but try to keep your analogies applicable.

              I personally think that this particular public record should have, at a minimum, the same level of protection as DMV records.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 10:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

                "Those that own bf tv's are not on the public record."

                They are also not private. The paper could buy a list from the stores. Not many people pay cash for something that expensive.

                I think that if a store were to furnish this list to the paper for this purpose, both the store and the paper would face a backlash. They would have every right - yet they would be in the wrong.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

                  You see the confusion between private owned data and government owned data is understandable, but the government was the one that made those records public.

                  Those trying to get it are not the responsible party, if you want privacy you should go after those that made it available in the first place not the people exposing the fracas.

                  Also why is that so important, in which way that could be used to cause harm?

                  There is a reason the government track sales of guns right, is because people can be dangerous with it is it not, so why others can't know about it too?

                   

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              Sneeje (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

              >> The point is it makes you a target to thieves

              More so than your zip code? or what they can see in the window?

              I think you need to spend some time understanding how burglary comes about--and using information like this is not even remotely close. Not to mention that there are so many other factors involved, it's ludicrous to speculate on the degree of risk increase/decrease as a result of this revelation.

              Also by your logic, being the subject of a newspaper article (regardless of the validity) that revealed anything about your belongings would be equally irresponsible.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 10:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

                >>More so than...?

                It doesn't matter if it's more so. It doesn't have to be a main factor to be a factor.

                >>Also by your logic, being the subject of a newspaper article (regardless of the validity) that revealed anything about your belongings would be equally irresponsible.

                Except the average article is usually either newsworthy ("Congressman caught with cash in his freezer!" tells you he has cash and a freezer, but this is newsworthy) or done with consent (an article like "Recent uptick in flat screen TV purchases" may involve an interview where someone who bought one is named, but that person agreed to the interview.) This is neither.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

                  Quote:
                  It doesn't matter if it's more so. It doesn't have to be a main factor to be a factor.

                  Than you have no problems with the concept of people that are dangerous to others being named in public do you?
                  Like say other criminals and pedophiles, gun owners also pose a risk to the security of others, how much of it doesn't really matter as you so eloquently put it "it doesn't have to be a main factor to be a factor".

                  Quote:
                  Except the average article is usually either newsworthy ("Congressman caught with cash in his freezer!" tells you he has cash and a freezer, but this is newsworthy) or done with consent (an article like "Recent uptick in flat screen TV purchases" may involve an interview where someone who bought one is named, but that person agreed to the interview.) This is neither.


                  a) The newspaper did it with consent, the government was the one that granted that consent, after it collected all that data from you, is not their problem they followed all the rules and protocols in place, is not the newspaper problem if that piece of information should or should not be private, it is the job of the people who collect and record those to decide what to do with it. The newspaper could have used their own judgement but they are not required to do so. You have no rights you given up on them the instant you let others collect your data and didn't complain then, why are you complaining now?

                   

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                    Sneeje (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:11pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

                    Yeah, the "it doesn't matter if it's more so..." is just baloney. The point completely missed here is that there is no way of knowing if a) it's a positive factor, b) a negative factor, or c) a completely unrelated factor, completely biased opinions notwithstanding.

                    And as happens so often, the AC completely ignores any positive or broader effect from the actions of the paper. "I don't like my 'legally-requestable' information from being publicized, so it must put me at risk and anything else positive or negative is irrelevant!"

                     

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        Shiriki (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:34am

        Re: Re: Cowardice?

        Help a non US citizen out:
        How are the names of concealed carry owners public information? And if they were why would they need to file a FOIA request to obtain them?
        Isn't the idea of FOIA request to get government branches to give you information that are _not_ public?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:51am

        Re: Re: Cowardice?

        This site is pretty big on there being a privacy issue when bits and pieces of 'publicly available information' are aggregated. Where you go every day when you leave your home is 'publicly available information' but compiling a list of your locations over a significant period and then publishing the pattern seems a privacy violation IMO.

         

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        Larry, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:06am

        Re: Re: Cowardice?

        You miss the points. First, the papers readers didn't want them to do it, made it known and they stopped (and apologized). Second, just because you "can" doesn't mean you should. This point goes two ways: 1. There are a number of things that are "public record" that shouldn't be. Example, if you complete military service, your discharge papers (DD214) can be public record UNLESS you opt out. Would you like the newspaper in your town to report the names, birth dates addressees and social security numbers of all vets in your town? Second part is, that they CAN do it today. If they did, there would be hell to pay and the paper SHOULD apologize for doing something so stupid.

        Reading these comments on the story, I see more of a trend of pro or anti "report the gun owners" rather than any real privacy stances and this is primarily what this is about.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Cowardice?

          Why should it matter?

          Why is so important that nobody has access to such data?

          If there is no good reason why does it bother you?

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 5th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

        Re: Re: Cowardice?

        Since gun registration data is "publicly available information," then then by extension the list of those who are not registered gun owners is also publicly available information. This problem could be easily solved by publishing only the names and addresses of those who have not registered weapons.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 10:38pm

    Ignorance running rampant

    It's astounding how you guys can be all about privacy online, yet see no issue with gun owners having their info published in the newspaper. This is guilty until proven innocent attitude here.

    It's one thing for a person to request that info, and have their information on file from the request, and its another entirely to publish it so _anyone_ on a mass scale can find out about it. Of course someone can share this with another person, but few have as far reach as a newspaper does, nor does it make it right. No one was told when buying their first gun, 'Oh BTW, someday people who disagree with you on gun ownership will assume you give up your right to privacy even though you are a law abiding citizen who happens to own a gun and they'll just publish whatever they want about you online, in the newspaper, anywhere, because you followed the law and registered your gun responsibly; good luck with that!'

    If you want to prevent gun violence, telling tons of anonymous people where guns are located, with often times less protection than stores is a fucking stupid idea on a slippery slope of bad ideas. Work to change society if you actually believe something should change, don't try and cowardly bully people whose opinion differs from your own by publishing their names, home addresses and anything else you can dig up.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 11:48pm

      Re: Ignorance running rampant

      If it's done through legal channels, such as the FoIA, then I have less of a problem with it than if the government, say, looks through my Facebook account and keep that information in a little black box.

      That said, your second point is a valid reason that this was a very idiotic idea by the newspaper, and that is what they should apologise for. There has to be a balance, and it would have been more interesting had the newspaper not chosen to just access the number of people applying for a concealed carry permit.

       

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        The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:27am

        Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

        This isn't a FOIA request for information pertaining to government. This is a newspaper with an agenda, as most seem to have, against public citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights. Seriously, in what way is printing the names and addresses of all registered gun owners considered 'news' unless the intent is to construe gun-ownership with committing a crime or threat? Why not also print everyone's brith certificate, licenses, social security, insurance, tax and medical records, etc. etc.? Why isolate gun owners for public display?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

          I agree with you, and as I pointed out above, that is what the newspaper should apologise for - that conflation of "gun-owner with Concealed Carry" with "criminal activity". Just saying that "X% of people in this area have a CC permit, according to a recent FoIA request by us" is less of a problem than having an easy-access database of registered voters and which way those people voted, fro example.

           

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          Andrew Norton (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:07am

          Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

          "This is a newspaper with an agenda, as most seem to have, against public citizens who exercise their Second Amendment rights."
          Want your 2nd Amendment rights? Join the National Guard. THAT is your 2nd Amendment right there.

          2nd amendment isn't about carrying a gun around because you feel a bit scared, or because you hope to be a hero one day.

          I doubt if Scalia, with the level of knowledge he showed with the last two SCOTUS gun cases, would have passed the US citizenship test, which says a lot.

           

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            The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

            "The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms." - D.C. vs Heller

            The Second Amendment has nothing to do with "joining a militia." The PEOPLE are the militia.

            "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." - George Mason, co-author of the Second Amendment, during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

              And the National Guard stopped being a militia when it was sent to fight overseas. That's not a militia; that's an army.

              The Constitution says the militia can be deployed by the President in cases of invasion or insurrection. The framers never even thought they had to put in the words "of this country" because it was so incredibly obvious.

               

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                The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 7:59am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

                It was also obvious that in the event of war, when the citizens (i.e. militia) would be called to duty, they'd bring their own firearms.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:05pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

                  That is all fine, you can own a gun or many guns you can also be a threat to others and should be target of some scrutiny.

                  Where is the problem?

                  You think you should be able to hide?

                  You own a gun because you shouldn't have to hide.

                   

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            btr1701 (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 11:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

            > Want your 2nd Amendment rights? Join the
            > National Guard. THAT is your 2nd Amendment
            > right there.

            Not according to the Founders and the Supreme Court. I trust their judgement more than yours. And more importantly, theirs is the one that counts from a legal perspective.

             

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          art guerrilla (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

          1. you have a right to bear arms, you do NOT have a right to necessarily do so ANONYMOUSLY...

          2. depending on the state, it IS a public record, it was filed publicly; you don't like it, don't get a concealed carry permit...

          3. as a matter of psychology, you would think that fraidy cats who get concealed carry permits would WANT EVERYONE to know they were packing; after all, aren't they paranoid pukes who WANT EVERYONE to be afraid of them ? ? ?

          4. as far as that goes, i think there is a WORLD of difference between having guns at your home (where i can choose not to go), and being able to pack them -concealed or not- in the public sphere...

          5. ...and finally, if the purpose of publishing the article was to 'shame' (? whatever) them, and there is -you believe- nothing 'shameful' in having a concealed carry permit, then what the fuck do you care if it is public ? ? ?

          6. ARE PEOPLE actually going to the homes of the public lists with pitchforks and torches demanding they disarm themselves ? ? ? no, they are not; and if ANYONE ever does, it will be the GUMMINT, you nimrod... guess what, THEY HAVE THE LISTS ALREADY...

          art guerrilla
          aka ann archy
          eof

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

            >>1. you have a right to bear arms, you do NOT have a right to necessarily do so ANONYMOUSLY...

            Would you prefer open carry to concealed carry? The gun right there where everyone can see it? Because we could do it that way.

            >2. depending on the state, it IS a public record, it was filed publicly; you don't like it, don't get a concealed carry permit...

            Your newspaper IS subscribed to by the people you made angry and they can cancel; you don't like it, don't publish un-newsworthy stuff about private citizens.

            >>3. as a matter of psychology, you would think that fraidy cats who get concealed carry permits would WANT EVERYONE to know they were packing; after all, aren't they paranoid pukes who WANT EVERYONE to be afraid of them ? ? ?

            Gee, maybe your opinion of these people is wrong, and that's why they don't think the way you think they would think? Maybe they are actually NOT "paranoid pukes who WANT EVERYONE to be afraid of them"?

            >>4. as far as that goes, i think there is a WORLD of difference between having guns at your home (where i can choose not to go), and being able to pack them -concealed or not- in the public sphere.

            There is a difference, that's why there's a right to keep AND bear arms.

            >>5. ...and finally, if the purpose of publishing the article was to 'shame' (? whatever) them, and there is -you believe- nothing 'shameful' in having a concealed carry permit, then what the fuck do you care if it is public ? ? ?

            >>6. ARE PEOPLE actually going to the homes of the public lists with pitchforks and torches demanding they disarm themselves ? ? ?

            Don't bring a pitchfork or torch to a gun fight.

            But seriously, the answer to 5 and 6 is they're worried about thieves. Plus, you know, basic privacy. And some people might have the permit because they are worried about a specific person (restraining order type situations), and oops, now you've just told that person where they live.

             

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              art guerrilla (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 12:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

              1. i am NOT against gun ownership in the least...

              2. again, it IS public info in some/many states, cry me a river if you don't like it... (not in la florida, though)

              3. i am fully aware -as many gun owners seem blissfully and purposefully ignorant of- that guns are an ATTRACTION for burglars... where i live, gleaning that info from some public list, etc is a waste: randomly break in to ANY house around here, and you are probably 90% certain there will be guns there...
              better yet, wait until the weekend, and you will here people popping off rounds ALL THE TIME, just listen for them and mark them down as a potential victim, no lists required...

              (NOT TO MENTION, there are people firing ILLEGAL automatic weapons ALL THE TIME, and no piggies EVER 'investigate', much less confiscate them or arrest anyone...)

              4. lastly, by your 'reasoning', NO property/house owners should be public info, 'cause, like, that tells people there is a big ole house there with stuff in it that someone wants to steal ! ! ! oh noes ! ! ! *AND* they give you their name and address and phone number ! ! !
              will no one think of the poor defenseless houses ?

              again, no problem with gun ownership (the gun owners are another matter), but the rights pendulum in this regard is pegged to the one side, it can stand to swing back a little to the more reasonable side...

              art guerrilla
              aka ann archy
              eof

               

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:54am

        Re: Re: Ignorance running rampant

        That 'legal channels' argument is the kind of 'because it's the law' unlogic average joe posts and gets mocked for on this site all the time.

         

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      gorehound (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 11:21am

      Re: Ignorance running rampant

      I am against Newspapers Publishing in Mass the names and addresses of those who have Weapons.It is an invasion of their Privacy and Rights and no Newspaper should be doing this.
      None did it before and they are only thinking of doing it to sell more Papers.They think it is OK to put out a list of folks whom a thief would love to break-in and rummage thru your stuff.
      Free Guns here is what the Newspaper list does.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 10:51pm

    You're living in a fantasy world. Public information is public. Get over it.

    If you want to arbitrarily decide which public information can be shared by which individuals under which circumstances, you're going to fail.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 10:52pm

      Re:

      Sorry, should have been a reply to the above AC.

       

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      The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:33am

      Re:

      Good point. Now then, would you be willing to have all of your "public" information displayed in a newspaper for the world to see, e.g. marital status, siblings (if any), relatives, your birth certificate, driver's license, job history, and so forth? After all, if it's good for the goose...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:15pm

        Re: Re:

        I am not him, but I welcome you to try and collect as many data as you can about me and expose to the world.

        It is what it is, there are data that I cannot and will never be able to control and there is data that I can, I forget what I can't control and focuses on what I can.

        Yes bad things can happen, and you learn to deal with it like a big boy(or girl) not like a chipmunk trying to hold on to a nut.

        You want privacy, you will need to make it happen, the first thing you should try is not to register anything voluntarily, the second is to define the what is proper and what is not and create artificial lines when the natural ones are no longer in place.

        There will be a time when every person on this planet will have a video camera in their faces, there will very little privacy left.

        I love guns, I think everyone should have them, I even build some of my own, which are not registered, you see I have the knowledge to create weapons and there is nobody that can or will force me to register those.

        What I am not going to do is give any government with censorship tendencies any more reasons to censor data no matter how embarrassing that crap is.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:56am

      Re:

      So you're just going to ignore the elephant in the room and skip completely the question of if this information should be public in the first place.

       

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      American Freedom Advocate, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 7:09am

      Re:

      says the Anonymous Coward...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:07pm

        Re: Re:

        Exactly, he worked for his privacy, he didn't expose himself to anyone and so he can have his privacy unlike gun owners apparently.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 10:26am

      Re:

      Thats how some people, WANT it to be, technically, it sure as hell does'nt HAVE to be

      Educational - yes
      Cultural - yes
      Individual private information - fck off

      Dont think for one bloody minute people wont fight it, regardless of, "thats how it is"......if my blood temp is anything to go by, oh yes, people willf fight it, as inevitable as i think that is, i dont wish the outcome i suspect will come of it, not just for this, but everything rolled into one

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 11:43pm

    Somehow I suspect if the paper was publishing a list of their town's Muslims, or abortion doctors, we wouldn't be seeing this robust defense of republishing of publicly available information in convenient vigilante-consumable form.

     

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    MikePoz90, Feb 26th, 2013 @ 11:45pm

    It's a small town newpaper

    This is a small town issue that most people who live in a city don't understand. Murphy N.C. is a town of about 1600 people. If you piss off even 10% of the people, you will not be in business long.
    Having grown up in a town of 600, I know that if this had happened in my town, the line to cancel the subscription to the paper would have been out the door about 10 minutes after the story about the request broke. Small town America is one of the few places where the speed of sound is almost as fast as the speed of light.

     

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    Pete Austin, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 12:27am

    They were receiving personal threats

    I have only once been threatened by someone holding a gun and I backed down pretty quickly and never went back to that company. People who are critical of the newspaper should think what they would do.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 3:23am

    I'm not sure why all the fuss (I wouldn't mind ppl knowing I have guns) but I wonder if it's really necessary to make all info public. What was their purpose in making all this info readily available? What good does it bring? If they wanted statistics then couldn't they at least redact surnames or something so it's not that personally identifiable?

    I have mixed feelings here. Even though the info is public I don't see the need to publish it all over because there's a private/personal factor there. Still the newspapers sure can do whatever they want with the info so yes, they don't have to apologize.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 3:28am

    Um, United States Code, Title 5, section 552 lists exemptions from the FOIA, one of which is (quoted straight from wikipedia)
    records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual

    (C) or (F) (unwarranted invasion of prvacy or could threaten life or physical safety of any individual. depending on what the "personal threats were, that alone might well justify withholding the information ) would seem to apply. Gun Ownership is controversial in many places, so it's possible the FOIA request was blocked because sheriff thought gun owners might be threatened. That, and it is ultimately none of the business of the wider ublic who owns legal firearms.

    it's similar, albeit admittedly not identical, to why a FOIA request for information on people who've had an abortion would be refused ((a) it's medical information, so covered under HIPAA (b) it could reasonably be a threat to people's physical safety (there has been violence against clinics, it isn't much of a stretch to suspect the people actually getting the abortions could be targeted)

    in short; the paper should really have thought through the impact of their planned article before sending the FOIA request, thus the apology is for wasting the time of the sheriff in having to consider the request.

    TL;DR the FOIA act includes exemptions covering why the request was refused, the apology was probably for not thinking the request out properly beforehand.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 4:47am

    Stay the fuck away from this one masnick

    "Newspaper publishers are supposed to stand up for their right to ask for public information, not grovel about how it was a mistake to ask for it in the first place."

    You know what Masnick? FUCK YOU. You seem to have an issue with not being able to see the forest cause of all the trees in the way.

    Newspapers are NOT supposed to be in the business of violating the privacy of the local citizens en masse, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why you want them to be so badly.

    Your gun control emotional bias is showing here, and its causing you to betray logic.

    Tread lightly.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 4:50am

    As I have said before, there needs to be codified a codified responsibility requirement for information of this nature whereby if you request the information but use it irresponsibly, then there are consequences for the irresponsible action.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:31am

    I agree that public information should be public, but there is no reason that this information should be public. This information turns law abiding citizens into targets.
    This is no less controversial than making the personal information of those receiving abortions public. People have strong feelings on these subjects and will target people on either such list.
    This is akin to making precious gem owners' information public. It gives criminals the information they need to make a big score.
    Give a list of legal gun owners to a bunch of criminals and see how many legal guns get stolen and put in the hands of criminals.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 5:37am

    I'm sure this paper is a non-profit with massive donations from the Tides foundation and George Soros,so it can go a piss off the readership.

    Oh wait, that's not the case? You mean the readership pays it's bills? That if it had continued with it's current line of publishing people would stop buying it's product?
    That the community would stop advertising with the paper?
    That this would cause them to lay people off and close the paper?

    Why the craven cowardly spineless basterds. (incorrectly spelled on purpose)

     

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      The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:12am

      Re:

      If a newspaper intends to paint Americans who exercise their 2A rights as 'potential criminals,' giving the real criminals a blueprint of the local area in the process, they'd better be ready to face the consequences. A rather large percentage of people will discontinue purchasing their paper, boycott them and/or their advertisers, harass and very likely plaster the personal information of every editor online. Not smart.

      That the paper was attempting to do such a thing exposes just how little they actually care about the well-being of the general public. This has nothing to do with safety. Gun control = Government control.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:18pm

        Re: Re:

        Or they could just trying to show how many unstable people actually own guns and could go out on a shooting spree.

        There is a reason the government track gun sales, is not because guns are harmless, why the government doesn't track butterflies?

         

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          The Real Michael, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 5:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's all supposition; it's not based on hard facts. Gun ownership is in no way an indication that a person is a raving lunatic who intends to go on a killing spree. There are somewhere between 60-80 million gun owners in the US, yet most of the crimes being perpetrated are done with illegally-obtained weapons by gang members and convicted felons in the poor urban areas (with tough gun control, I might add).

          The government wants to create a national registry database so that they can confiscate them later, as history has proven time after time in other countries.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:05am

    That was an example of a newspaper confusing public interest with of interest to the public. Public Interest is that information which the public should be able to see to make informed decisions, including which politician to elect. Any relationship between a politician and an industrial magnate is of public interest, but what the look like when naked may of interest to the public, or some section of it.
    The Intent of the FOIA was to allow the public, and newspapers, to obtain information that is in the public interest. The use of the FOIA in this case was to try and obtain information that was only of interest to the public, and possibly against the public interest by making freely available information that allows criminals to select houses and individuals to target to obtain a gun.
    The newspaper was correct in apologising as it was misusing the FOIA, as it was not intended to allow information on individuals to be obtained via its use.

     

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      Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 7:39am

      Re: Logic FAIL

      Like so many of the outraged comments from the good people of NC, it uses the same line of flawed logic. It supposes that if this information were printed in the newspapers that criminals would immediately target gun owners. It's public so it doesn't need to be printed in the newspapers.


      Cognitive dissonance time. Gun nuts will argue that owning a gun makes you a target if it's publicly known because criminals will want to steal your gun. They also hold the belief that if the public knows you have a gun you are a much less appealing target, because you are likely to fight back.

      Reality check. If I assume the first is true then criminals can simply request the information since its public. If I assume the second is true then criminals can simply request the information because it is public.

      Instead of shaking their fists at the newspaper, the citizens should be calling their legislature and having gun ownership information declared private.

       

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        The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:30am

        Re: Re: Logic FAIL

        That's all presumptutous nonsense. Clearly you're more well-protected if you're armed. (If that weren't true, tell the police to leave their guns back at HQ.) Gun owners are worried that posting that info publicly can potentially make them greater targets of gun theft, meaning that a thief could simply wait for an opportunity to raid a targeted house. In addition, it would also allow criminals to see who's unarmed, i.e. more prone to assault. Posting such sensitive info would give criminals a major advantage and confidence boost, potentially bringing harm upon the general public.

        It would be one thing if the paper made a FOIA request for info based on a certain individual who'd committed a crime, but they requested ALL registered gun owners' records.

        In what way would plastering such info in a "news"-paper be beneficial to the public? I've yet to hear a valid explanation.

        You're right in that gun ownership should be made private.

         

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          The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Logic FAIL P.S.

          Oh, and I heard about some politicians floating around the idea of secondary liability for gun owners should their firearms fall into the wrong hands, which is insane. If someone steals your car, gets into a high-speed chase with the cops and damages property or perhaps injures/kills somebody, should the actual car owner be held liable?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Logic FAIL P.S.

            Those it sounds any less crazy when gun owners try to pin all the blame on the newspaper that got PUBLIC DATA made public by the government?

            Secondary liability.

            I think both are crazy.

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Logic FAIL

          The police in London and Japan don't use guns to patrol the streets.

          Also about the potential to be robbed well what is stopping criminals for requesting that data themselves?

          The harm part well gun owners have the potential to get enraged and kill people thus bringing harm to others, would that not be in the interest of public safety to be disclosed?
          Wouldn't you want to know that your unstable crazy neighbor owns a gun or not?

          I have yet to hear any good reason why gun ownership data should be kept private.

           

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            The Real Michael, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Logic FAIL

            "The police in London and Japan don't use guns to patrol the streets."

            So? I wasn't talking about London and Japan. BTW, they still have a healthy supply of both semi- and fully-automatic guns.

            "Also about the potential to be robbed well what is stopping criminals for requesting that data themselves?"

            The simple fact is that most criminals won't go through the trouble, shining a light on themselves in the process. Chances are they don't want to raise suspicion. Also, most comitted crime is not so well premeditated in advance. On the other hand, if a newspaper hands them a blueprint of armed/unarmed homes in their neighborhood, chances are that criminals are going to use it to their own advantage.

            "The harm part well gun owners have the potential to get enraged and kill people thus bringing harm to others, would that not be in the interest of public safety to be disclosed?
            Wouldn't you want to know that your unstable crazy neighbor owns a gun or not?"

            No because it's none of my business. Let's say for the sake of argument that I know that A) my neighbor is crazy, and B) he's armed. What am I going to do armed with that knowledge, confront him? Move? ...?

            "I have yet to hear any good reason why gun ownership data should be kept private."

            You're switching it around. The onus shouldn't be on the law-abiding citizen for exercising their rights. Any such attempt to publicize sensitive background info on the citizens, compromising their security (i.e. removing the element of surprise), would only serve one purpose: to establish suspicion or guilt where there is none.

            There is a blatant attempt by the media to portray gun owners as dangerous people, an overwhelming tendency to frame the dialogue according to their socialist bias. Anti-American to the core.

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re: Logic FAIL

        "Gun nuts will argue that owning a gun makes you a target if it's publicly known because criminals will want to steal your gun. They also hold the belief that if the public knows you have a gun you are a much less appealing target, because you are likely to fight back."

        Many of them actually argue that NOT knowing whether the house has a gun is the deterrent. The reality is that most criminals would be deterred by a gun, but the ones that want to steal guns would be attracted to them.

        "Instead of shaking their fists at the newspaper, the citizens should be calling their legislature and having gun ownership information declared private."

        Can't they do both? Did you ever hear the NRA support making gun registrations a public record?

        And if criminals request this information, that's a lead for the police to follow when those exact homes get burglarized. Whereas if it's in the paper, anybody could know.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: Logic FAIL

          Quote:
          And if criminals request this information, that's a lead for the police to follow when those exact homes get burglarized. Whereas if it's in the paper, anybody could know.


          So? wait until criminals discover how to use GIS(Geographic Information Systems), oh boy it will be a boom for business.

          Quote:
          Many of them actually argue that NOT knowing whether the house has a gun is the deterrent. The reality is that most criminals would be deterred by a gun, but the ones that want to steal guns would be attracted to them.

          That shouldn't be a problem since people who bought a gun in the first place are the ones that bought it to protect them against this very situation. Part of the deterrent part of any mechanism is image that it brings to mind, nobody would believe that a flower could stop crime and so criminals don't care if there is a garden or not.

          If information can be used to attract criminals it also can be used do discourage them, print the crime rate of the area and the crimes solved ratio, nobody is going to a neighborhood where they will certainly be caught. Guns alone will not protect you against anything, at this point they are a feel good thing to have, real deterrent is in group planing, surveillance and data sharing.

          Also we are in an age where people have developed less than lethal weapons those could be used incentivized by not requiring registration like normal guns.

           

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        Aerilus, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:38pm

        Re: Re: Logic FAIL

        I knew a gun collector that had guard dogs nice gun safes and an alarm system. the people who broke in his house poisoned the dog two weeks in advance. i think the problem here is "owning a gun" where as most people that a gun own more than one. your gun cant be a deterrent to theft if its in your waistband and your wast ban in at your nine to 5 job.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:19am

    "no publication or news organization should ever have to apologize for merely requesting the information."

    Not for requesting the information. But what were they going to DO with that information? If they were going to put people in danger by making a map out of it, then perhaps the apology is not out of line.

    And in the end, the paper is really in the business of making money. They apparently angered their readers, and so they apologized.

    A paper would have every right to publish the name of a rape victim, and perhaps they should not have to apologize for seeking public records and publishing the truth... but if they did so without a good reason, they'd face a huge backlash.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 6:22am

    When I applied for my permit, it said right there on the form: Your application for this permit is a matter of public record. When you sign your name, you are agreeing that you understand people can search and legally find this stuff out. Just like the public housing record when you want to build a new garage or whatnot.

    If you've got a problem with people finding this stuff out, go after your government who wrote the form and decided it was public record. Don't expect anyone else to ignore publicly available information just because looking at or publishing it is "in bad taste" or violates your invented sense that that line on the form doesn't apply to you.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 7:26am

      Re:

      Better yet, don't enter the permit system at all. Just buy your weapons from non-reporting sources.

       

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        The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:49am

        Re: Re:

        Nothing encourages people to forego legal avenues moreso than abuses of their privacy and rights. Then again, private gun sales are not illegal. Private gun sales of illegally-obtained fireams, however, is.

         

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    Mr. Applegate, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    If we apply some basic logic here, I think this makes sense.

    1. The paper has the legal right to request the information.

    2. I have the right to expect that my right to privacy regarding both my gun permit and any weapons I may legally own and have registered will not be violated.

    3. My right to keep and bear arms is embedded in the constitution of the United States.

    4. Release of the fact that I have a gun permit, or that I purchase weapons puts my property and more importantly the welfare of me and my family at undo risk.

    5. It is probably important for the government to keep track of who carries weapons and who owns them (though technically, I believe, even that is a violation of my rights since it means they could choose to take my license and my weapon at any time).

    So given those 5 facts, I think logic would dictate that while information might technically be public, parts of it are private. In this case, my right to privacy overrides your right to know. So any FIOA requests should redact names and addresses, SS#... (any personally identifiable information). I think I have the same right to privacy with this as I do with my medical records. Only people with a real need to know have a right to know. If you don't feel that way, then I may choose to purchase and carry a weapon without registering with the good old government.

    Now regarding the public apology by the editor. There is no surprise there. The paper betrayed the trust of the very people they were supposed to serve.

    Did they have to apologize? No. It was not mandated by any court or other governmental body was it?

    However, just like everything else in life, the paper quickly figured out that you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. If you are going to betray me, why should I pay for your paper?

    Sorry Mike, can't agree on this one. The paper did what it had to do, it is called self preservation. The paper acted stupidly and irresponsibly. The editor corrected the mistake.

     

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      The Real Michael, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      Agreed with 1-4 but not 5. The government doesn't have the right to know everything about you.

       

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        Mr. Applegate, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re:

        Overall, I agree with you, it was a concession on my part. Perhaps one I shouldn't have made. I did hedge it by saying that technically that was a violation of my rights.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:42pm

        Re: Re:

        The constitution grants you the right to have a gun, but it says nothing about not having to disclose that fact to anybody.

        With so many angry people on the streets, wouldn't you like to know if the unstable next door person owns a gun or not?

         

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          Mr. Applegate, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 2:11pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "With so many angry people on the streets, wouldn't you like to know if the unstable next door person owns a gun or not?"
          Not particularly, no.

          What purpose would it serve? If the dude is unstable, hopefully you already know to keep clear. All knowing he had a gun would do is give you something else to fret over.

          What are you going to go buy a gun and shoot yourself in the foot when you get nervous?

          If you have a solid plan and keep security always at the forefront of your mind, you don't need to worry about your neighbor, or anyone else. I worry about keeping me and my family safe. I know the world is full of nut cases and I am pretty good at picking them out.

           

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          Aerilus, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:29pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          you need to read the constittution

          "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

          telling me i have to go through goverment channels to bear arms(as is the case in alot of america where you cant open carry) is pretty much the definition of infringed.

           

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        •  
          identicon
          The Real Michael, Feb 28th, 2013 @ 6:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The constitution grants you the right to have a gun, but it says nothing about not having to disclose that fact to anybody."

          Right, ok. It also doesn't say that I don't have to disclose the fact that I'm talking on a public forum. Maybe I should check in with Big Brother gov every time I decide to exercise my First Amendment rights as well.

          "With so many angry people on the streets, wouldn't you like to know if the unstable next door person owns a gun or not?"

          Once again, that's none of my business. If you want to make the foolish mistake of entrusting your personal safety to an agency which, in all truth, is indifferent to your well-being, so be it.

           

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Also one can justify the tracking of guns in a number of ways.

        Would it make it ok if only "criminals" (80% of Americans will have some type of criminal record before they die) had to register?

        Would it make sense to have angry people have to register?

        Would it make sense to make psychological(more than 90% of people have some psychological issue) disturbed people register?

        Aside from that, guns really do aid terrorrism, if the government stop tracking guns, all criminals also benefit and they more than the gun owner that is afraid of being robbed.

         

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      Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 1st, 2013 @ 5:18am

      Re: Apologies

      I first want to apologize for using the term gun nuts. While I'm sure that there are gun nuts, certainly not everyone who is passionate about the issue is crazy.

      This article is about the first and second amendments. Even though most of us have a pretty clear understanding of the 1st Amendment, the 2nd Amendment is not so clear to most people.

      The reason for the confusion is that many many many people choose to ONLY read the second half of the amendment or simply choose to ignore the first half. The above comment is a perfect example.

      "3. My right to keep and bear arms is embedded in the constitution of the United States."

      Yes that is true, BUT only as part of a well regulated militia. The US Constitution does not grant the right to bear arms simply by being a citizen.

      I'm all for the 2nd Amendment, ALL of it. Not just the latter half.

      "5. It is probably important for the government to keep track of who carries weapons and who owns them (though technically, I believe, even that is a violation of my rights since it means they could choose to take my license and my weapon at any time)."


      It is NOT a violation of your rights for the government to regulate your weapons. It is that regulation that gives you the right to bear arms.

       

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    Miff (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    So...

    Carrying a deadly weapon anonymously: OK.

    Posting offensive comments on the Internet anonymously: WRONG.

     

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      art guerrilla (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 12:48pm

      Re: So...

      exactly...

      not only that (again, stupid that i 'have to' say I AM FOR GUN OWNERSHIP), but how is it running a metal box on roads requires a permission/license from the state, but a small, easily concealed machine for killing people does not ? ? ?

      NOTE: i COMPLETELY get that it is NOT paranoia to be 'afraid' (in a vague-ish sense) that the gummint is going to come after our guns... i do NOT discount that possibility out of hand...
      *BUT* aside from our current extreme political climate, SHOULDN'T we -in a slightly more perfect world- require *SOME* training and control of machines made EXPLICITLY for killing nekkid apes, over machines that only incidently/accidently kill nekkid apes ? ? ?
      just askin'...

      art guerrilla
      aka ann archy
      eof

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:42pm

      Re: So...

      Crazy world we live in.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:28am

    Story, What Story

    So, posting public info on gun owners is a STORY??

    Is this what Journalism is now?

    "Hey, Public Records Office, we're a bunch of idiots so we need to publish some info that will get our paper some press."
    Morons...

    "They'd stick it in your face
    And let you smell what they consider wrong
    That's why I say hey man nice, nice shot"

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 10:36am

    Poor analysis by Mike

    I'm surprised by tone of this blog post and how far it differs from much of what I read on this site.

    Sure, if the information is currently public record and they can obtain it then they have the first amendment right to publish it.

    But that doesn't mean that they should. It also doesn't mean that they shouldn't apologize to their customers.

    The information wasn't vital to any story.

    This should have been held as an example of a company listening to their customers and behaving appropriately. Just as with a media company who would be in the legal right to issue an injunction to shut down a fan project by their customers, it may not be in anyone's best interest. You should have recognized this and posted about how this is a success, and that listening to your customers in not having "No Backbone".

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:49pm

      Re: Poor analysis by Mike

      Except the real story.

      Why is the government tracking and recording it and making it public?

      You want privacy dude?
      Like anything else in life you will have to earn it the old fashioned way. Working for it.

       

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    special-interesting (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 12:04pm

    This seems to be a privacy issue obscured by privacy issues. The real problem is that there was such a list of gun owners in the first place.

    If I get into an accident or thrown in jail the newspaper considers this news and as a society that cares reads newspapers a lot. Do I like that something embarrassing about me was there? Most likely not. The list of gun owners being published was there and they published it.

    In this case the newspaper itself is an unwitting bully, in some ways, by publishing some personal information that most sane people keep 'under the bed mattress'. They No sane gun owner would publish the fact they carried a gun. I think its good they apologized its so rare to see this these days and takes some corporate fortitude to do that.

    The government in its unwisdom forced this situation by peeping into the lives of ordinary citizens. Its another bad example of how just the fact of, just even, collecting such intelligence on average people can get out of hand so quickly. Gun ownership is a basic freedom which should be guarded along with other privacy issues.

    To the point (from post #28) “Give a list of legal gun owners to a bunch of criminals and see how many legal guns get stolen and put in the hands of criminals.” When such lists are collected is is sometimes true that the government officials who are the criminals. Fave Example: Diamond sellers have to apply to the government for an alias so they can travel safely and anonymously. You get it... the list was sold and diamonds were stolen, often. (Chicago IL) Just the fact the list, of gun owners, exists is to much. [references to comments , 33, 47, 52, (and especially 61)]

    Kind of reminds me of an old movie called Red Dawn in where the invading forces just rounded up all the gun owners as likely enemies. (and did what?) Have not seen the new version of this movie (issued from the middlemen of culture?) and wonder how it has been culturally reinterpreted.

    Middlemen of culture post: http://www.techdirt.com/blog/innovation/articles/20130224/22344422088/why-does-entertainment-industr y-insist-that-it-can-veto-any-innovation-it-doesnt-like.shtml#c795

    I dont think this was a good example of how public information is published because its an issue that should not be an issue. A lot of posts danced around this nail of an issue but no hits. My comments on privacy are best found in this post: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130226/14360422120/supreme-court-effectively-says-theres-no-way-t o-challenge-warrantless-wiretapping.shtml#c681 (its way at the end if you posted there, and like to read other's posts) it explains somewhat the role of bullies and government.

    Extending my humble opinion: Violent Felons should not have guns. (note the specificity of violence since everything is a felony these days) This is hard to enforce at the point of purchase since any search would send name and purchase info (about arms) to government agencies who recored such stuff and thus another list would be made (and published by some unwitting newspaper?). It should probably be handeled on a case by case basis locking up violent felons with guns. Obviosly i'm pro gun ownership even if I don't own one. (yet, friends ask me to hunt with them)

    Comments were good, thanks. Wanted to comment on so much but I do like to stick to the topic. (even though the comments were on topic my commentary would have went off topic)

     

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      art guerrilla (profile), Feb 27th, 2013 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      1. tl:dr

      2. gun owners do NOT 'advertise' they have guns ? ? ?
      what state/country are you from ? ? ?
      never seen a bumper sticker that says 'protected by smith and wesson' ? (i can assure you, they are serious)

      3. again, in the rural, southern area i live in, *MOST* people have guns; it ain't no fuckin' 'secret' when you are in your back yard plinking shit for hours on end...

      4. the safe (unsafe?) assumption around here is that, yes, just about EVERY house will have a gun or two... around here it ain't no secret, ain't no big deal, ain't no paranoid bullshit 'oh noes, don't nobody ebber tell nobody we got a gun, lurleen, they's a come to rob us fer sure ! ! !'...
      give me a break...

      again, the point another poster made above is valid:
      paranoid gun owners are ascairt they will get robbed if they have a gun; but on the other hand they are all about letting you know they have a gun to defend themselves...
      doesn't the paradox burn their brains ? ? ?
      ...or is that the saltpeter ?

      art guerrilla
      aka ann archy
      eof

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Aerilus, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:18pm

        Re: Re:

        not wanting to kill someone that is breaking in your house is a paradox? i also dont know what you are talking about i live in a rural area of nc and have never seen any of these bumper stickers on anybodies care or house. a few people open carry but thats their right to do so to me it is asking for trouble.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    aerilus, Feb 27th, 2013 @ 9:14pm

    i notice that tech-dirt has whois privac is activated

    http://www.whois.com/whois/techdirt.com

    i notice you dont put a personal address or phone number anywhere yet it would probably be pretty easy to find through sec filings and county record of deeds search why should I be able to get this information generally people keep it to themselves for privacy esp on the internet. why should i be able to find out where you live who you are married to probably whether you have children its none of my business and the government shouldent give out thise paperwork that they require individuals to fill out to receive their rights. thats right you are required to fill out publically available data to have a place to live to exercise second amendment rights. its a trade off of freedom for security but again that trade off should be between you and the government or any stake holders not between you and the rest of the world. you really need to do some reasearch before commenting on gun issues. did you know that nc is an open carry state meaning that you dont need a conceal carry license to carry a firearm. the people who get them are trying to stay low key off the radar and out of conflict. and stuff the newspaper publishing private data about personal information that was required by the government to exercise a constitutional right should not be public knowedge. neither should who you are in business with who your bank is where you live who you are married to unless someone has a reason to know ie they want to invest in your company.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    James D Dory, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 8:23pm

    That does it.
    If you want to be a political outlet, fine. I'll get my tech somewhere else.

     

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