Concealed permits: Gun records even more secret with new law

What is it about forbidden fruit that makes it so irresistible? For example, we'd never really thought about looking up concealed handgun carry permits until the General Assembly passed a law making those records confidential July 1, and suddenly, all we could think about was looking at soon-to-be-concealed gun records.

 

Guess what? They're already virtually inaccessible to the public, and when the Hook went to see who's holding some of the 576 permits applied for so far this year in Albemarle County on June 26— five days in advance of the new law— they'd already been taken offline and removed from public access. "Richmond cut them off," blames Albemarle Clerk Debbie Shipp.

 

And it's not like there was ever a list of names that the public could peruse. Searchers had to enter a name into the public terminal to find out if someone has a concealed weapon permit.

Over at Charlottesville Circuit Court, Clerk Llezelle Dugger says the records already were un-FOIA-able. She'd gotten a Freedom of Information Act request that was withdrawn when she pointed out to the sender it would cost big bucks for her staff to copy the permit at 50 cents a page, and redact the Social Security number for each of the concealed-gun permit holders.

Her records go back to the 1950s, she says. Although the permits are only good for five years, the new statute doesn't specify whether she has to secure the old records as well.

"It's the most labor intensive new law," says Dugger. "Every clerk's office has hard files, orders, online records. Some have order books." Dugger is going to have to secure the box where the 111 gun permits so far for 2013 are kept, while trying not to have her staff walking back and forth to a locked area. "We use them so much," she says.

Since she's been in office, Dugger says, "I've had one or two calls to see if Joe Smith has a concealed permit."

"We keep them basically private anyway," says Shipp. Albemarle's current concealed carry permits were only available to the public on a terminal, and she's not worrying about the old ones filed by date in the general index books.

So what was the urgency to get the bill carried by Republican state senator/AG candidate Mark Obenshain on the books, making them accessible only to law enforcement?

"Senator Obenshain believes private citizens shouldn't risk having private information released," says Paul Logan, Obenshain's communications director. He cites the Gannett-owned Journal News in New York that printed an interactive map of names and addresses of handgun permit holders in two counties following the Sandy Hook Elementary mass murders. The problem, says Logan, is that the map disclosed the new addresses of handgun-owning victims of domestic violence. The Roanoke Times put up a list of all Virginia's concealed carry permit holders in 2007, and pulled the story the next day, Logan adds.

It's not only newspapers that are interested in who is licensed to conceal. The Republican Party of Virginia FOIAed circuit clerks for names of permit holders in advance of the new law because, opines the Richmond Times Dispatch, "Gun enthusiasts lean Republican."

Obenshain doesn't believe even his own party should have access to who is secretly carrying a gun, says Logan.

"It was a public safety matter, " he says. "This closed a loophole."

So now the only way to find out who's packing heat is to ask. And yes, according to his spokesman, Senator Obenshain does have a concealed weapon permit.

36 comments

Was there a point to this article?

Yes, to create a debate where there is no debate.

AN interesting spin on this story:

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, and the Virginia Republican Party - which claim to be best friends of gun rights, including this new Virginia law protecting conceal-carry permit records - BOTH HAVE BEEN ACQUIRING the records before they were protected by this law!. They admit it. They admit that they were using the records to raise money!

SO, the so-called best friends to Virginia gun owners/conceal-carry permit holders were/are hypocritical VIOLATORS of the intent of the law! They were arguing against others using the permit data, WHILE THEY WERE USING THE PERMIT DATA!

SUCH HYPOCRITICAL LIARS ARE RARELY SEEN!

Oh..."HYPOCRITICAL LIARS" are seen everyday on capitol hill. Pelosi, Reed, Obama, Holder, Carney, Biden, Sebilius, Clinton...both of em'.

Secret laws, secret courts, secret kill lists, secret public records...

I like where this is going.

The folks that get a concealed carry license have been verified by law enforcement as responsible folks with no criminal record, no mental adjudication, no nothing.

Why is it even an issue that the finest of law-abiding citizens information not be made public like child molesters? The whole premise of outing concealed carriers is asinine. It does nothing useful while making pariahs of good folks that just want to defend themselves.

THE POINT OF HYPOCRISY is to benefit yourself, while denying the benefit to others; to claim how 'pure' and 'righteous' on the issues you are, while claiming that others are 'impure', 'unrighteous', and 'dangerous'.

So, we see that in the Virginia Republican Party, the Virginia Citizens Defense Leagues, and NRA: THEY ALL CLAIMED that newspapers could not be trusted with permit info, but THEY ACQUIRED AND USED THE DATA FOR FUNDRAISING! THEY CLAIMED THAT THE ISSUE WAS PRIVACY, BUT THEY ABUSED PRIVATE RECORD TO RAISE MONEY.

Similarly, the VCDL and NRA support the use of guns for suicide, as a protected expression of 2A rights! But they are too sissy to state that openly and transparently in public meetings, and in their publicity; since the Virginia Republicans that support them would then appear to be pro-death, utterly destroying their claims to be pro-life. And, although they agitate, and get, whatever laws they want, VCDL and NRA aren't agitating to make suicide legal in Virginia ( e.g. in the insurance laws, etc).

So, VCDL, NRA, and Virginia Republican are not only HYPOCRITICAL LIARS, but utter sissies! cowards! They want RIGHTS TO SUICIDE, but won't change Virginia insurance laws so that the poor families of the suicide can get access to life insurance and other insurances. Shameful! They want their power, and don't want to help the families. They toy with the law to suit themselves, but won't even help the families of gun-owners! They abandon them. They have no honor.

VCDL, NRA, and Virginia Republicans are not only utter hypocrites, and utter sissies and cowards, they are also utterly SHAMEFUL and DISHONORABLE!

(All the while claiming to be so patriotic, virtuous, and honorable! ... put a dress on a pig, it still ain't a lady).

BTW,
Mr, or Ms, Whoa,

do you see how stupid this argument is:

WhoaNelly July 3rd, 2013 | 10:12pm
Oh..."HYPOCRITICAL LIARS" are seen everyday on capitol hill. Pelosi, Reed, Obama, Holder, Carney, Biden, Sebilius, Clinton...both of em'.

Using the construction of that argument, one would have to say:
'There are people with tuberculosis living right here in our community who infect others with disease. But, look over there - there are some people in India with tuberculosis who are also infecting others with disease.'

Same argument construction. Both say nothing new, and both do nothing to help the problem. Both let tuberculosis spread, and both allow hypocrisy to continue.

If Virginia Republicans are hypocritical on an issue, and Congressional Democrats are hypocritical on an issue. Do you you let both go? NO, you challenge all the hypocrisy.

god-fearer,

Good Lord, man - take a chill pill. Your posts are almost unreadable. There are always two sides to an argument and when any side goes wacko like you did it adds nothing to meaningful discourse.

god-fearer,

Do you have a citation that shows how VCDL was using the CHP records for fund raising?

Regarding suicide: I have never heard anyone in VCDL advocate suicide. Using a gun for suicide is a misuse of the gun. Please provide a citation that shows VCDL advocating the use of guns in suicide.

What I think god-fearer is doing is inventing stories for political purposes. GF is not interested in liberty under the Virginia constitution and is more concerned with violating the constitution in order to advance a political agenda.

Regarding "there was no list the public could peruse" is not correct. I believe it was the Roanoke Times that published the names and addresses of CHP holders statewide in an online database. This resulted in a bail officer (or similar) being confronted by a felon and the outing of several women hiding from violent ex-husbands. Furhermore, it provided criminals with addresses known to have guns. Good job Roanoke Times at placing people in danger of burglery and/or home invasion!

> > > > > > > From: president@vcdl.org

> > > > > > > This is from the April 9, 2007 VA-ALERT that went out to 18,000 gun owners on VA-ALERT:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > ****************************************************
> > > > > > > 1. Attorney General says that CHP list can't be released
> > > > > > > ****************************************************
the Attorney General has been asked to rule on whether the State Police can release the CHP list to the public.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > General McDonnell [ Then, the AG, now the Governor ] has ruled that the list should not be made available under the Freedom of Information Act and the State Police have said they are going to comply with the ruling.
> > > > > > > The bad news is that VCDL, which has been using the CHP holder list for years, has now suffered collateral damage. The CHP list is a great tool for contacting gun owners ...

So, the VCDL President confirms that VCDL - as long ago as 2007 - had at that time already been using the CHP list "for years". And, was continuing to acquire and use the list until the last moment.

So, VCDL - during YEARS OF COMPLAINING about use of the lists - WAS ITSELF USING THE LISTS!

Thank you GF for that citation. I will verify with VCDL and find out their line of reasoning.

I confirmed that it was The Roanoke Times that published an online, searchable database of all VA concealed handgun permit holders in Virginia. It was up for only a short time before RT took it down.

I believe you are glossing over a major detail in your support of this issue. There is a huge difference between using the list to recruit members and using it to promote an anti-rights agenda. As I understand it, VCDL was complaining about anti-rights organizations using the those lists to discourage people from getting the permit. I think you will agree that intent is important and intent to do harm to people is a bad thing. How does recruitment harm a person other than to annoy them with some spam mail? This is very different than publishing a name and address so a gun owner may be found. Furthermore, the Roanoke Times' intent was to "out" CHP holders, which implies there would be some sort of social repercussion (loss of job, social shunning, etc). "Outing" CHP holders for that reason seems to me to be an abuse of the records since it can result in the CHP holder becoming the victim of a crime.

I'm the President of VCDL. One of our members pointed me to this site. I predicted this would be "Ed", who for some reason has a bee in his bonnet over VCDL, and sure enough...

Tom RKBA nailed the issue on the concealed handgun permit holder list - it is about intent. Revealing to the public that certain names/addresses belong to permit holders endangers those permit holders. I talked to several permit holders whose lives were completely disrupted by the Roanoke Times's antics. Some had their jobs in jeopardy because their names appeared in the Fredericksburg Freelance-Star.

However adding the names to a general mailing list is not harmful as that does not reveal their status as a permit holder. As Tom RKBA pointed out, they may get some unwanted mail, but there is no danger or shame involved.

VCDL used the list to contact gun owners in certain legislative districts to have them send our pre-written postcards to their representatives in the General Assembly. That greatly enhanced our efforts to protect and improve gun rights in Virginia.

If VCDL were using the list to endanger, embarrass, or intimidate permit holders, then we would indeed be hypocrites, but that was not the case and Ed has never understood that (or doesn't want to understand it).

Finally, on the issue of suicide, Ed wants someone other than the person who commits suicide to be held accountable if the suicide involves a gun. VCDL soundly rejects that idea. A person intent on killing themselves, really can't be stopped unless they are incarcerated. Japanese have a much higher suicide rate than the U.S. has, with virtually none of those suicides involving a gun. Some suicides can be prevented by getting someone with mental health issues some help. But some suicides are done by completely rational and sane people who simply cannot bear the pain of some awful disease.

Let's not blame the gun if it happens to be the tool used for a suicide.

> Revealing to the public that certain names/addresses belong to permit holders endangers those permit holders.

I agree. Security of our law-abiding and armed citizens is of the utmost importance.

There is absolutely no reason for the public to have access to the names and other private information of people who choose to exercise their second amendment rights. The process to legally carry a concealed weapon in Virginia involves a background check, submission of fingerprints, and contact with a law enforcement agency. In other words, there are plenty of checks and balances already in place to ensure that people who qualify for a concealed carry permit are law abiding citizens. Opening the gun registry information to everyone just creates more opportunity for abuse and targeting of people exercising their constitutional rights.

Concealed Carry Permit: Yes - and that's exactly why VCDL pushed to close it. Before the Roanoke Times incident almost no one knew the list was available and we were silent about it. Because of the Roanoke Times's abuse and once it hit the papers and became public knowledge that the information was available with a Freedom Of Information Act request, we started our push to close off the list from everyone except the police during an official investigation.

If the records for a license to wield scissors against another person's cuticles are public records, why shouldn't the records carrying a concealed gun public also be open to the public's eyes?

In the alternative, perhaps the records should be private but instead CCP holders should have to somehow identify themselves (but not their personal identities) to the public when carrying a gun. Brightly colored armbands emblazoned with the symbol of a pistol, perhaps.

> Brightly colored armbands emblazoned with the symbol of a pistol, perhaps.

I like how you think, Dinh. I believe I'm going to like Charlottesville. The last ten years or so have been good ones for me but I'm looking to settle down someplace that's kind of "untouched", if you know what I mean. ; )

Can anyone recommend a good vegetarian restaurant?

BLAH BLAH BLAH

Hypocrisy is not disproved.

a.
This argument, does not disprove hypocrisy:
"However adding the names to a general mailing list is not harmful as that does not reveal their status as a permit holder. As Tom RKBA pointed out, they may get some unwanted mail, but there is no danger or shame involved."

Paternalistic nonsense.

Similarly competent adults should be treated similarly.

The list was available to the public; VCDL acquired and used it for its legal organizational mission; why shouldn't any other organization use it for their legal organizational mission; e.g. licensed businesses might use the list to sell guns? 501.c.3 organizations might use the list to prevent suicide?

Why should one set of competent adults tell another otherwise similar set of competent adults that 'we can use a list for our legal organizational mission but you can't use a list for your legal organizational mission'?

That is like one set of competent adults - e.g. example Whites - telling another set of otherwise similar competent adults - e.g. non-Whites - that they have to drink at a different water fountain, etc. Or one set of competent adults - e.g. Virginia Republicans - telling another set of otherwise similar competent adults - e.g. gay and lesbian adults - that they don't have the same rights to their own bodies, and the same rights to form families.

b.
This argument does not disprove hypocrisy:
"But some suicides are done by completely rational and sane people who simply cannot bear the pain of some awful disease.Let's not blame the gun if it happens to be the tool used for a suicide."

VCDL wants 'human rights' for the gun owner who kills self, but no rights for the gun owner's family. If non-hypocritical, VCDL should publicly fight to overturn Virginia laws that harm the families of suicides, rather than abandoning the gun-owners' families. If suicide is a protected expression of 2A rights, then surely harming the suicide's family after the exercise of that right is unjust.

Why isn't VCDL actively and publicly supporting changes to all such Virginia laws that harm the families of suicides? And/or that harm the gun-owner who is unsuccessful in exercising her/his right to kill self with guns and remains alive?

Moreover, why isn't VCDL actively and publicly supporting change to all such Virginia laws that criminalize assisting the gun-owner from exercising her/his 2A right to kill self: e.g. someone assisting loading the gun, helping to point the gun, or pulling the trigger at the permission and direction of the competent gun owner attempting to exercise her/his right?

Contrary to the strawman distraction of opining that we are 'blaming the gun', the construction of the question here is strongly the opposite of 'blaming' the rights-holder; since the question is why VCDL does not embrace the full expression of the 2A rights of the gun-owner, to disable Virginia law from harming the gun-owner and her/his family as they enact 2A rights?

god-feared thinks VCDL is evil for ensuring the Commonwealth of Virginia complies with Section 13 of its constitution. What a silly person!

I think he fears more than God....

Blah blah blah

name calling does not disprove hypocrisy

honesty does

god-fearer,

Your mental gyrations to come up with the notion that advocating for the right to keep and bear arms is advocating for the right to commit suicide with a weapon are ridiculous. The entire notion is STUPID and nobody in VCDL, the NRA or any other gun rights organization advocates for self-murder. You are inventing "rights" and tying them to the right to keep and bear arms where no such relation exists. Your anti-rights agenda is obvious.

Ed, perhaps you should start your own group to push for your beliefs...

RESPECTFULLY,

We have not heard why VCDL backs away from protecting unpopular or controversial expressions of 2A rights.

The ACLU does not back away from protecting the 1A rights of unpopular speech. IN FACT, ACLU has DEFENDED the speech rights of hated groups such as the KKK.

So, it seems that VCDL is more sissy than ACLU.

Advocating suicide as a valid expression of the right to keep and bear arms is INSANE. Nobody is going to support that, much less VCDL, the ACLU, or any other rights advocacy group.

BTW, the wonderful ACLU turned its back on the Second Amendment for decades.

BUT,

VCDL, NRA, and other groups ARE ALREADY among the leading facilitators of suicide by gun in American. Public health evidence shows strong association between availability of guns, and accomplished suicide.

You are facilitating suicide - which is BY FAR the greatest burden of gun violence in America, NOT homicide - simply by accomplishing your mission of increasing and protecting access to guns, without supporting comprehensive mental health back ground checks for every purchase and transfer of a gun(s). The data show that when you accomplish your mission you should expect more accomplished suicides.

That is a devil's bargain that you must admit that you've made.

Oh, many social experiments make devil's bargains. For example, we know that there is an association of access to mobile phones and more traffic deaths. Our society has made a devil's bargin: we're willing to accept more traffic carnage because we like access to mobile phones.

VCDL, NRA, et al have made a similar devil's bargain to accept more suicide by gun because you like access to guns.

Oh, but, btw, most suicide - by far - in America are White older men, many of them in rural areas, and many of them veterans. So, that is who are the victims of your devil's bargain.

And, since VCDL, NRA, et al are too cowardly to stand up to change the laws in Virginia (insurance, and other laws) that harm the families of suicides - which, like it or not, VCDL, NRA, and others have ALREADY SAID is protected expression of 2A rights! - you are not only facilitating suicide of your own members, you are abandoning their families to grievous financial and other harms.

Cowardly, is what we'd usually call that sort of behavior. Shameful. Pitiful. and other words may come to mind, too.

You're simply barking up the wrong tree, Ed.

Thomas Jefferson knew a thing or two about politics, philosophy and the behavior of governments. He certainly understood that liberty is dangerous and that men and women should not live free from adversity.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it."

Things appear to be very lucrative for VCDL:

a 501c3 'lookup' (501c3lookup.org, EIN 54-1900291) - from tax period 12/20111 - shows - income of more then $150,000, and asset amount of more than $160,000.

Quite a posh tree to bark up.

That is very good news, GF. VCDL has the funds to nullify the evil acts of anti-rights groups.

One thing is certain,
despite any disagreements

the original post that this story 'wasn't a story' was WRONG!

It is quite a great story, involving many facets: political malfeasance of Virginia Republicans, corporate greed and corporate spending to promote its greed, sinful lusts and idolatry,

... and really, most importantly, the deaths of innocent children (a wee girl in Crozet killed in her own home by another child / a child in Chesterfield shot in a home by another child / a dear wee boy killed - shot through the head - by a stray bullet during a 4th July show in Richmond area / and on and on).

Unbounded lusts for guns have left children unprotected and dead.

2A radical advocates who want no limits or bounds under Virginia law on their 'gun rights' are no less culpable in the harm of children than are 1A radical advocates who want no limits on pornography.

What company you guys keep!

GF, you really are ignorant. This is a RIGHT that you intend to turn into a government controlled privilege. If you cannot understand that the reasons why the right overrides any other issues, and is a hard limitation on government power, then you do not understand the fundamental ideas behind the constitutions written by the founders. Attacking one right is an attack on all, but you do not understand that government will gleefully expand its power by any means necessary.

I am now dropping this thread and will not read any more of your comments.

After all the nonsense above, my question is still relevant.....
Was there a point to this article? Evidently not.

With the list now closed, not much point Oldtimer. Oh, the press would love to see it open for more abuse, so we'll have to keep an eye out for attempts to reopen it down the road.