Governor Expected to Sign Bill Closing Concealed Carry Permits InfoBy Daniel Cherry | Published 02 Mar 2013 01:03pm |
Governor Phil Bryant is expected to sign a bill this week that would block public access to information about state issued permits for people to carry concealed weapons. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports...
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has been vocal in his support of the measure that would remove information about concealed carry permit holders from the public record. Jim Prince, President of the Mississippi Press Association has fought closing the records from the beginning.
"Why even keep permits on gun owners? But if the government is going to keep a record, that record at the very least must be open for public inspection."
The bill is in response to a New York newspaper publishing the names and addresses of concealed carry permit holders after obtaining the information by public records request. Keith Plunkett has been an outspoken supporter of closing the records and has urged lawmakers to pass the bill. He would like to do away with permits altogether, but in the meantime, he says there are concerns about the same situation happening locally.
"That conversation should be had, but I think if you look at some of the recent moves by the Northeast Daily Journal, for instance, that was going after some of this information it became a little bit of a sensitive, timely thing. Let's protect gun owners' personal information first. Let's have that conversation later on down the road."
Freedom of information advocates have been up in arms over the Mississippi Department of Public Safety's denial of records requests on permit holders. Jim Prince says the bill isn't law yet, and DPS isn't following protocol.
"The state law right now says that the information should be available, and the state is flat out denying it, even gone out of its way to make it unavailable. And that's a very disturbing proposition for government to be in the place out outright breaking the law."
Once the governor signs the bill, Mississippi will join 30 other states that already block such information.
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