A number of newspapers across the country have been using open records laws to get the names of people who are registered owners of firearms and then publishing their names and addresses. Why would they do this? I guess it’s part of the movement to exert social pressure against gun owners, shaming them as smokers are shamed. That’s the strategy recommended a number of years ago by the man who is now our Attorney General, Eric Holder.
From Tim Brown, “Eric Holder: Like Smokers, Gun Owners Should “Cower” in Shame”:
In this 1995 footage [follow the link] of Attorney General Eric Holder, when he was Attorney General for the District of Columbia, he remarks before the Woman’s National Democratic Club, broadcast by CSPAN 2, that gun owners should be shamed like smokers who “cower outside of buildings” to smoke.
“What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns,” said Holder, “especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we’ve changed our attitudes about cigarettes. You know, when I was growing up, people smoked all the time. Both my parents did. But over time, we changed the way that people thought about smoking, so now we have people who cower outside of buildings and kind of smoke in private and don’t want to admit it.” Laughter followed.
This is the same clip in which Holder also stated that we need to “really brainwash people to think about guns in a vastly different way.”
Paul Farhi in the Washington Post seems shocked and indignant that anyone would object to newspapers exposing gun owners:
Routine requests for public records have become anything but routine for some newspapers these days.For the third time in as many months, a newspaper has faced an angry backlash, including threats of violence, after it sought government data on local gun permit holders. In the two most recent instances, the newspapers rescinded requests for the documents amid the outcry, with one issuing an abject apology to its readers and the local sheriff for daring to seek the information in the first place.
The news media’s attempts to access gun-ownership records have sparked debate over a central question: Do gun owners have a right to privacy, or does the public have a right to know about the guns in a community? The spate of episodes suggests the intensity of passions surrounding the issue after the shootings of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Conn., in December. . . .
Gun permits are public records in many states and counties, much like home sales, driver’s license data and voter-registration rolls. Government officials are required to make them available to anyone who seeks them. However, in some jurisdictions, the records are confidential.
Opponents of public disclosure of gun-ownership data say such information could demonize law-abiding people and jeopardize public safety. Widespread publicity about individual gun owners, they say, could lead to thefts of firearms or enable criminals to target neighborhoods and vulnerable people.
“This is like posting a sign on someone’s lawn saying ‘gun-free zone,’ ” said Mike Thibodeau, a Republican state senator from Maine. “We don’t need lists floating around of who does and does not have a firearm. It’s bad public policy.” . . .
Media advocates cast the issue as one of public safety, arguing that disclosure enables people to know who on their block or in their neighborhood is armed. That could guide parents in making decisions about where their children play or with whom they associate.