In the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting, a Connecticut lawmaker wants to enact a bill that makes the names and addresses of handgun permit holders public.
Connecticut has a 20-year-old law on the books that keeps this information confidential.
Rep. Stephen Dargan, a Democrat and co-chair of the legislatures public safety committee, wants to allow the gun license data to be released through the Freedom of Information Act. According to the Hartford Courant, Dargan claims among other things that because property ownership and mortgage documents, voter registration, and other similar records are public, gun registrations should be too.
Dargan’s proposed legislation has been well received on social media. Since by and large only law-abiding citizens abide by firearms regulations, many feel that this measure would just gives burglars and other wrongdoers a heads-up on which homeowners own guns. The same criticism has been leveled against the Journal News in New York after it published a controversial interactive map displaying the names and addresses of registered firearms permit holders.
Robert Crook, the executive director of the Coalition of CT Sportsman, called Dargan’s idea a “shopping list for criminals,” according to WTNH, Channel 8 in New Haven. “First off, it’s a two-edged sword; you can either say that they’ll know where the guns are an avoid it or they’ll know where the guns are and steal it.”
Richard Burgess, head of the Connecticut Carry organization, similarly asked “Do we want to give criminals access to a database that tells you where every handgun in Connecticut is?”
Expressing disagreement with the state representative’s premise, constitutional law professor Gary Rose of Sacred Heart University suggested that there is no equivalency between ordinary public records and gun licensing, according to the Courant.
“Gun ownership is different; it is a right protected by the Second Amendment — and thus, [Rose] said, is more in the category of other guarantees in the Bill of Rights such as freedom of religion and association …
” ‘I think that what the lawmaker is attempting to do here can be viewed as an assault on the right to privacy. ‘If we can start publicizing who owns guns, then what’s next — lists of who practices certain religious freedoms and what organizations they belong to?’ “
Do you think law-abiding gun owners have a right to privacy? Even though Connecticut is a blue state with the Democrats controlling the legislature and all statewide offices, it’s unlikely that this kind of legislation would pass, although you never know how lawmakers will react or overreact to the Sandy Hook tragedy. The Connecticut General Assembly’s new session starts next Wednesday.
Watch a report on the proposal would make gun license info public from WTNH: