One More RCOB Moment: Roanoke Times Publishes VA CCW Permit List

Every now and then, I see something so breathtakingly arrogant that I almost, almost want to put my fist through the computer screen. This is one of those times.
Via THR we have this, from the Roanoke (VA) Times (no linky from me to that rag!):

Today is the start of Sunshine Week, the annual week in which we reflect on the importance of open government and public records. To mark the occasion, I want to take you on an excursion into freedom of information land. We’re going to find out who in the New River Valley has a concealed handgun permit.

I can hear the shocked indignation of gun-toters already: It’s nobody’s business but mine if I want to pack heat.

Au contraire. Because the government handles the permitting, it is everyone’s business.

There are good reasons the records are open to public scrutiny. People might like to know if their neighbors carry. Parents might like to know if a member of the car pool has a pistol in the glove box. Employers might like to know if employees are bringing weapons to the office.

And all Virginians have a stake in checking that their government is not making mistakes, for example, by issuing permits to convicted felons. Open records allow the media or any private citizen to check.

Actually, I would argue right off the top of my head that there is only reason the CHL permit records were open to the public: compromise with those who don’t think the public can be trusted to carry guns. And this idiot journalist apparently didn’t stop to think that the mistake the government made was letting the felon out of jail in the first place — if said convicted felon can’t be trusted to carry a gun, then why the hell is he walking free? Said idiot journo also conveniently forgot to mention that, “Abusive ex-husbands/boyfriends might like to know if the objects of their spurned affections are packing as well. They have a right to that information. It’s public record, you see.” Whether any licensed carriers will suffer any repercussions from their privacy being invaded remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt that the chances of such have been increased dramatically because of the reckless actions of the Roanoke paper.
Looks like, though, from the reactions on the Roanoke Times blog, that a few of those who had their privacy invaded are rightly angry about it.

Thanks for upsetting my wife. She has a concealed weapon permit to protect herself, not so you could publish it online for criminals to see.
Concealed handgun permit holders and sex offenders???? Your a class act, way to abuse the first amendment while trying to strip us of the second.

The problem with the mainstream media today is that they have forgotten the difference between “can” and “should”. There are a great many things we can do that are legal but just not right. The Roanoke Times has with this article proven that they are no better than the rest of the mainstream media.

I for one will no longer spend my money on a publication with such low ethical standards. In addition, the company where I am employed has advertised in the Roanoke Times in the past, I am in a position to see that this will not happen again. Clearly 3,826 concealed carry permit holders in the New River Valley mean nothing to the Roanoke Times as newspaper buyers, maybe advertising dollars mean more.

I found that last thing quite gratifying. I don’t know how well a lawsuit against the Times would fare in court, but as the Zumbo affair showed, if enough wronged people raise enough hell about the wrong done to them, the advertisers will sit up and take notice. Let’s hope Virginia gun owners make enough noise for the newspaper’s advertisers to see that maybe the paper didn’t do the right thing. The Roanoke Times deserves to pay, and pay dearly, for their sanctimonious reporter’s reckless disregard for Virginia gun owners’ privacy and safety. To the extent Trejbal’s action was about open government, it shows the dangers of letting the government say we can’t carry the most effective implements for self-defense unless they give us permission. If that wasn’t the case, then this would be a moot issue, but in any event, if we recklessly pulled out our guns and indiscriminantly pointed them at passers by, we would rightly be punished for our actions. Trejbal and the Roanoke Times should face no less for their reckless actions here, whether it be by their advertisers or the courts.


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