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View Full Version : Publishing Names and Addreses of Gun Owners - Could It Happen Here?


SandHill
01-01-2013, 6:42 PM
Most of you have probably heard about the newspaper in Westchester County New York that decided to publish the naems and addresses of holders of handgun permits on an interactive map. Many of you will also at least be familiar with the baklash agaisnt the newspaper (if you aren't actually part of the backlash). Apparently they got the information through a Freedom of Information Act Request. This has led a NY state legislator to introduce a bill to remove this information from the public record: http://www.rocklandtimes.com/2013/01/01/the-journal-news-is-armed-and-dangerous/

This makes me wonder: Could It Happen Here? Are the names and addresses of registered owners of handguns public record in California?

Spanky8601
01-01-2013, 6:56 PM
The information is public. That is how CalGuns was able to obtain Good Cause for CCW in the various counties. However CalGuns had the class to redact the identifying information before any publication. Not all organizations have the same strict code of behavior.

dave_cg
01-01-2013, 7:01 PM
Not only could happen, did happen not that long ago. The names and addresses of CCW holders in San Mateo county were published by a local newspaper. You could probably dig up the threads here on CGN using search if you are motivated.

blakdawg
01-01-2013, 7:04 PM
Registered owners of handguns, no.

LTC (CCW) holders, yes, and it's already happened in San Mateo County, though I don't think they published the home addresses.

RickD427
01-01-2013, 7:09 PM
The California Government Code (in sections commonly referred to as the "Public Records Act") allow government agencies to redact some information in CCW applications where the information concerns: 1) a vulnerability to attack on the part of the applicant, or 2) describes a psychological or medical issue concerning the applicant.

The law only "allows" the agency to redact the information. It does not "require" they do so.

Refer to Government Code section 6254(u)(1).

unusedusername
01-01-2013, 7:14 PM
It is likely possible for both the CCW list and the handgun registration list.

blakdawg
01-01-2013, 7:15 PM
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=554188

johnthomas
01-01-2013, 7:21 PM
It is likely possible for both the CCW list and the handgun registration list.
You are saying handgun registration information is a matter of public record in California, I looked, I can't find that anywhere, could you please post a link to that?

warbird
01-01-2013, 7:30 PM
i think we have screwed up at the ballot box and the jury box is toast thanks to the judge limiting evidence based on his opinion of what is relevant, so that leaves us with the cartridge box box and feinstein is forcing the average American to use the third option. The fringe and fragile people (mentally ill) are collapsing and reacting by killing. It is only going to get worse as people see no other way out and are not going to go down alone. People like Feinstein are going to make more draconian laws which in turn will create more massacres as more and more mentally ill steal guns. Like Russia I think we are going to implode and it will be citizens and states against the federal government.

RickD427
01-01-2013, 7:45 PM
You are saying handgun registration information is a matter of public record in California, I looked, I can't find that anywhere, could you please post a link to that?

John,

You will not find a specific link that states handgun registrations are public records. The law works a little differently. Government Code section 6252(e) defines public records very broadly (pretty much any record held by a government agency qualifies). Section 6253(a) allows public access those records. There are several sections of the code that allow specific types of records to be withheld. These are written very narrowly.

In other words, there is no list of what records are releasable. It works the other way around. Everything is releasable unless an exemption applies. Most of the exemptions are written so that the agency may withhold the information, but are not required to withhold it.

blakdawg
01-01-2013, 8:27 PM
Perhaps more directly on point is Government Code 6276, which begins a long list of types of information where the agency is permitted to refuse to release information, including:

Firearms, centralized list of exempted federal firearms licensees,
disclosure of information compiled from, Sections 24850 to 24890,
inclusive, Penal Code.
Firearms, centralized list of dealers and licensees, disclosure of
information compiled from, Sections 26700 to 26915, inclusive, Penal
Code.
Firearm license applications, subdivision (u), Section 6254.
Firearm sale or transfer, confidentiality of records, Chapter 5
(commencing with Section 28050) of Division 6 of Title 4 of Part 6,
Penal Code. (Cal. Gov. Code 6276.18)

I agree that the Attorney General could probably choose to release that information if she wanted to; but releasing it to one requestor (like the press) would probably make it tough to refuse it to other requestors, and I'm pretty sure they don't want to open that can of worms. There are a lot of people with money, people with power, and celebrities on that firearm list that do *not* want to find their name and addresses on some website as gun owners.

So I don't think there's a legal barrier to the release, but there's also no legal right to receive the records, and the behavior of CA law enforcement to date has been strongly biased towards not releasing information.

SanPedroShooter
01-01-2013, 8:33 PM
Perhaps more directly on point is Government Code 6276, which begins a long list of types of information where the agency is permitted to refuse to release information, including:

(Cal. Gov. Code 6276.18)

I agree that the Attorney General could probably choose to release that information if she wanted to; but releasing it to one requestor (like the press) would probably make it tough to refuse it to other requestors, and I'm pretty sure they don't want to open that can of worms. There are a lot of people with money, people with power, and celebrities on that firearm list that do *not* want to find their name and addresses on some website as gun owners.

So I don't think there's a legal barrier to the release, but there's also no legal right to receive the records, and the behavior of CA law enforcement to date has been strongly biased towards not releasing information.

Agreed. The list of carry licenses in some counties would read like a whos who list of wealth and power.

Also what about the lists of registered handgun owners? Wouldnt it be insanely massive? What is the population of the county targeted in NY compared to a large CA county I wonder?

SanPedroShooter
01-01-2013, 8:54 PM
Yahoo via Reuters

New York County denies request for names of gun permit holders

http://news.yahoo.com/york-county-denies-request-names-gun-permit-holders-231656034.html

safewaysecurity
01-01-2013, 9:00 PM
Not for handgun owners but it can absolutely happen for LTC holders...

johnthomas
01-01-2013, 9:09 PM
John,

You will not find a specific link that states handgun registrations are public records. The law works a little differently. Government Code section 6252(e) defines public records very broadly (pretty much any record held by a government agency qualifies). Section 6253(a) allows public access those records. There are several sections of the code that allow specific types of records to be withheld. These are written very narrowly.

In other words, there is no list of what records are releasable. It works the other way around. Everything is releasable unless an exemption applies. Most of the exemptions are written so that the agency may withhold the information, but are not required to withhold it.

Thank you

Gray Peterson
01-01-2013, 10:43 PM
Let's make sure we get things squared away.

First, in New York, you need a pistol license to even possess a handgun in one's home. Lower Hudson News or whoever they are stirred up a major hornets nest in NY that might actually get the records closed up permanently. Pistol Possession permits are shall-issue and have been since the 1970's.

California does not have that issue with possession. Carry, on the other hand, is open records and the reason for this is due to statutory law and how it was interpreted by the California Supreme Court in CBS v. Block.

While the law is may-issue in practice, the records must be kept open. When it becomes shall-issue, the records should become closed. That would require either a Legislative change, or a state court challenge.

Gray Peterson
01-01-2013, 10:43 PM
Let's make sure we get things squared away.

First, in New York, you need a pistol license to even possess a handgun in one's home. Lower Hudson News or whoever they are stirred up a major hornets nest in NY that might actually get the records closed up permanently. Pistol Possession permits are shall-issue and have been since the 1970's.

California does not have that issue with possession. Carry, on the other hand, is open records and the reason for this is due to statutory law and how it was interpreted by the California Supreme Court in CBS v. Block.

While the law is may-issue in practice, the records must be kept open. When it becomes shall-issue, the records should become closed. That would require either a Legislative change, or a state court challenge.

nicki
01-02-2013, 1:33 AM
Until we have shall issue in this state, we must have access to who got permits and their good cause statements versus those who were denied and their good cause statements.

The reason the no issue counties try to block you from even applying is to avoid creating a paper trail of denials.

Once California is forced to go shall issue by the federal courts, sealing ccw permit information will be a clean up process.

Nicki

wjc
01-02-2013, 10:51 PM
It's already happened.

The Redwood City Patch posted names and addresses of CCW holders.

Someone posted the personal info of the writer repeatedly. Even when the Patch deleted it.

The got the clue and pulled the list.

mofugly13
01-03-2013, 10:42 AM
New York County refuses to give gun owner info to newspaper. (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/ny-county-refuses-to-give-newspaper-gun-permit-info)

More here:
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57561810/n.y-county-aims-to-keep-gun-permits-from-paper/

Regulus
01-03-2013, 11:36 AM
It's already happened.

The Redwood City Patch posted names and addresses of CCW holders.

Someone posted the personal info of the writer repeatedly. Even when the Patch deleted it.

The got the clue and pulled the list.

Like their explanation of why they pulled it:


"The initial decision to publish this article was not an easy one for us. The subsequent decision to remove the names of the San Mateo County residents who possess a concealed weapons permit is also difficult.

However, after much thought and discussion among our editorial team, we decided that we did not have a compelling reason to publish the names even though they are a matter of public record.

Clearly, the article hit some nerves. The discussion about guns and gun ownership in this country is intense. We saw that intensity in the comments.
An essential part of Patch is to have a civil discussion about many issues that affect us. Unfortunately, many of the comments we received regarding this article were less than civil, and bordered on vitriolic."


Apparently, these people do read the comments. They should really THINK about the repercussions of their actions BEFORE they make these decisions.

bwiese
01-03-2013, 12:01 PM
Sure it could.

At least for certain subsets. :-)

It's amazing the number of cops that go into CA gunshops - with audio & video security monitoring! - and confess to illegal gun ownership and 'brass pass' claims.