Leftist-Run Maine Newspaper Asks Police For Names And Addresses Of Concealed-Weapon Permit Holders

Bangor Newspaper’s Record Requests Cause Uproar Among Gun Owners – Portland Press Herald

The Bangor Daily News has asked Maine police departments for the names, addresses and dates of birth of all concealed-weapon permit holders, a move that is angering gun-rights advocates and Republicans in the State House – including Gov. Paul LePage.


Gov. Paul LePage displays his concealed-carry permit in a photo posted to his Twitter account on the afternoon of Thursday, February 14, 2013. “If newspapers want to know who has concealed weapons permits,” tweeted the Governor, “they should know I do.”

“The BDN has no intention to release this information publicly,” said Anthony Ronzio, the newspaper’s director of news and new media, in a prepared statement Thursday. “We intend to use this information, along with other information we are gathering, to analyze possible correlations and trends relevant to our reporting projects.”

However, David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, condemned the newspaper’s decision as a move that will “enrage and upset” permit holders.

If they aren’t going to publish the data, “I would question exactly what they want the information for,” Trahan said. He questioned whether the request was a “provocative move” taken as the Legislature prepares to consider a bill that would make permit applications confidential.

LePage released a statement and made a Twitter post from the governor’s office, with a photo depicting him holding his own concealed weapons permit up for the camera.

——————————————————————————————

Paul R. LePage
@Governor_LePage

If newspapers want to know who has concealed weapons permits, they should know I do. http://yfrog.com/obernilsj

7:43 PM – 14 Feb 13

——————————————————————————————

“If newspapers would like to know who has concealed weapons permits, then they should know the Governor has his,” LePage said in the statement. “I have serious concerns that (the) BDN’s request will incite fear among gun owners and non-gun owners alike regarding their safety. There is no reason why these records should be public and I encourage the Legislature to act quickly to make this personal information confidential.”

A bill sponsored by Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta would designate personal information on weapons permit applications as confidential and make it illegal to release such information to anyone who lacked authorization.

House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, said at a press conference that the newspaper was “politicizing” the gun issue.

Senate Minority Leader Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport, said having information available on gun permits is a privacy issue.

“I think most people in the state of Maine don’t really like organizations out there collecting lists with their names on it,” he said.

The press conference ended just after a Lewiston Sun Journal reporter asked about Republicans and Democrats gathering voter information. Thibodeau finished the thought in an interview afterward.

“There’s a big, big difference,” he said. “We have a heated debate going on in this nation and it’s going to be a robust debate.

“But for a major daily newspaper – one with the reputation of the Bangor Daily News – to engage in something like this, it’s just shocking to me.”

Shortly after the press conference, Maine Republican Party Chairman Richard Cebra used the guns dispute as a fundraising pitch in an email blast to supporters.

“This is a reckless overreach by a zealous press that could result in innocent, law-abiding gun owners, and all Mainers being put in danger,” Cebra’s email read. “We can’t stand idly by as the press, liberal politicians and anti-gun special interest groups control the debate and control the message in the media. Help us fight back.”

The dispute echoes a controversy in New York in December, when a newspaper, the Journal News, published a list and an interactive online map of all handgun permit holders in two counties. That action triggered condemnation from police and was also criticized by numerous other media outlets.

In his statement, Ronzio said the BDN finds that newspaper’s treatment has long planned to request the records as part of its reporting on domestic violence and drug abuse, but the introduction of the emergency bill in the Legislature moved up its timeline.

Ronzio posted an editor’s note Thursday afternoon in response to criticism, saying the BDN found the New York newspaper’s treatment of concealed-weapon permit holder “irresponsible.”

But letters Wednesday that Ronzio said were sent to the Maine Department of Public Safety and municipal police departments, which keep permit data, the newspaper says it “does not intend to publish wholesale identifying information included in this list.”

Despite those intentions, the request upset gun rights advocates and legislators.

Thibodeau and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Roger Katz, R-Augusta, said the newspaper’s statement was incoherent.

“I actually believe at this juncture that the Bangor Daily doesn’t intend to release this information,” he said. “But I still question: Are they trying to create a news story or are they reporting the news?

“It doesn’t give me any comfort because the fact of the matter is they will be in possession of it,” said Damien Pickel, police chief in Milo, a town in Piscataquis County. “They say they don’t have an intention, but it doesn’t say they won’t.”

Trahan said he’ll be sending an email blast Thursday to mobilize gun-rights supporters in his group and other groups to contact the newspaper about its decision.

“I don’t think it can be good for business,” Trahan said.

The New York newspaper removed its online map of permit holders in January, after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a package of gun-control legislation that restricted access to permit data. Maine is one of 14 states that allows access to names of concealed-weapon permit holders, according to a January USA Today article.

Officials in Waterville and Fort Kent told the Portland Press Herald Thursday that their departments have received the newspaper’s request.

In Fort Kent, Police Chief Kenneth Michaud said he received the BDN’s request Wednesday and will comply. But he said he had reservations.

“The only thing that bothers me is I give a guy’s name and if they put that public, now everyone’s going to know there’s a gun in that house,” Michaud said.

Joseph Massey, Waterville’s chief, said he’s passed the request on to a city attorney, but he doesn’t think the information should be public.

“There’s always the possibility that someone who wants to steal guns gets a hold of this it and wait until someone’s not home and burglarize the home,” Massey said.

Pickel, the Milo chief lamented the request in a Facebook post – while saying he’d comply.

“Personally, I am opposed to releasing ANY information regarding concealed carry permit holders,” he wrote. “I find it will create a (sic) unsafe environment not only for those who are legally permitted to have a concealed weapon, but also those who do not.”

Responses to his post were visceral: many attacked the BDN for liberal bias and said they’d cancel their subscriptions. One said the newspaper has “a death wish,” while another said it thought its readers are “stupid and uninformed.”

The BDN’s Facebook page is also under fire with almost exclusively negative comments about the move. One asked, “Has this sick liberal rag finally gone completely Communist?” Others suggested boycotts of the paper and posted information on certain employees.

The Journal News published their map days the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. where gunman Adam Lanza killed 26 students. The newspaper’s office is approximately 50 miles from the school.

“I think they reacted impulsively because they were so close to the Newtown shooting,” said Michael Socolow, a journalism professor at the University of Maine in Orono. “I think if they had time to consider the decision, they might have made a different decision.”

Still, he said the ethical question over the request should focus on the newspaper’s presentation, not the fact that the information is public.

Now, Socolow said, scrutiny is being fanned by political flames in the face of fierce divides on gun control.

“If the BDN had put in this request five years ago, it would not have catalyzed such a controversy,” he said. “The toxic political environment is inflaming passion all around the media.”

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NY Newspaper Publishing Names And Addresses Of Legal Gun Owners Hires Armed Security Guards

Assploding Irony: New York Newspaper Publishing Names And Addresses Of Legal Gun Owners Hires Armed Security Guards – Weasel Zippers

And in added irony, the armed guards protecting them could have had their names and addresses published by The Journal News.

Via Politico:

The Journal News of West Nyack, N.Y., has hired armed security guards to defend its offices after receiving a torrent of phone calls and emails responding to the paper’s publication of the names and addresses of area residents with pistol permits.

RGA Investigations, a private security company, “is doing private security at on location at the Journal News as a result of the negative response to the article,” according to a police report first obtained by the Rockland County Times (Nanuet, N.Y.) and shared with POLITICO. The guards “are armed and will be on site during business hours through at least January 2, 2013.”

Last month, in the wake of last month’s elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Gannett-owned Journal News published interactive maps showing the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties. Conservatives and gun rights advocates publicly protested the paper’s move; on Monday, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association called for a nationwide boycott of the paper’s advertisers, calling it a “wanton act” that “has put in harm’s way tens of thousands of lawful license holders.”

The Journal News continues to host the map on its website and has said that it will soon add a map listing all pistol permit holders in Putnam County.

Keep reading

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After Black Mob Savagely Beats White Couple, Newspaper That Employs Victims Buries Story

Many blacks Beat White Couple, Media Bury Attack – WorldNetDaily

There’s outrage in Norfolk, Va., today after a white couple was attacked by dozens of black teenagers, and the local newspaper did not report on the incident for two weeks, despite the victims being reporters for the paper.

Even today, the Virginian-Pilot did not cover the crime as news, but rather as an opinion piece by columnist Michelle Washington.

……..

“Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim,” Washington wrote, describing the onslaught that began when Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami stopped at a traffic light while driving home from a show on a Saturday night. A crowd of at least 100 black young people was on the sidewalk at the time.

“Rostami locked her car door. Someone threw a rock at her window. Forster got out to confront the rock-thrower, and that’s when the beating began.

“The victim’s friend, a young woman, tried to pull him back into his car. Attackers came after her, pulling her hair, punching her head and causing a bloody scratch to the surface of her eye. She called 911. A recording told her all lines were busy. She called again. Busy. On her third try, she got through and, hysterical, could scream only their location. Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton. It happened four blocks from where they work, here at the Virginian-Pilot.”

Washington says neither suffered grave injuries, but both were out of work for a week. Forster’s torso ached from blows to his ribs, and he retained a thumb-sized bump on his head. Rostami reportedly fears to be alone in her home., while Forster wishes he’d stayed in the car.

The columnist admits the story has not, until today, appeared in the Virginian-Pilot.

“The responding officer coded the incident as a simple assault, despite their assertions that at least 30 people had participated in the attack,” Washington explains. “A reporter making routine checks of police reports would see ‘simple assault’ and, if the names were unfamiliar, would be unlikely to write about it. In this case, editors hesitated to assign a story about their own employees. Would it seem like the paper treated its employees differently from other crime victims?”

Washington says the day after the beatings, Forster searched Twitter for mention of the attack, and one post in particular chilled him.

“I feel for the white man who got beat up at the light,” wrote one person.

“I don’t,” wrote another, indicating laughter. “(do it for trayvon martin)”

Trayvon Martin is the unarmed black teen who died after being shot by a community-watch captain with white and Hispanic parents, George Zimmerman, in Sanford, Fla., sparking a wave of outrage long after the incident.

The newspaper is coming under heavy criticism today from residents in the greater Norfolk area, known as Hampton Roads.

“It is unbelievable that the Virginian-Pilot would BURY this story for two weeks for politically correct reasons. That is sad and disgusting,” said David Englert of Norfolk. “Someone should be fired or resign over the decision not to report this attack. It is a sad enough commentary on our society and community to read about how the responding police viewed this crime, but for our only newspaper to decide that they will hide from the truth rather than report the truth is PATHETIC! Any attack by a mob of people on any innocent victim should be put under a bright spotlight for all involved to be judged and exposed as appropriate, and to make sure that the criminal justice system does its job to protect those who obey the law.”

William Tabor of Chesapeake, Va., complained: “Surely the Pilot knew about it. A racially motivated attack is certainly news. Was it not politically correct enough to be reported? Is civilization suspended in Norfolk after dark? If we can’t rely on the police for protection, and our [news] media fails to warn us of such hazards, we can only rely on ourselves.”

Charles Chandler of Norfolk indicated: “I am not sure what I am angrier about. This story, or the crowd of black teens who needlessly and thoughtlessly beat two white victims. Or am I just angry that this still occurs in the year 2012. Nearly fifty years after the marches and the speeches and the declaration of civil liberties for all people. Clearly we are nowhere near the dream Dr. King envisioned. I am angry. I am angry at the calloused cop who stated ‘this is what they do.’ I am angry at the Pilot for hiding it under a bushel.”

And Douglas Gaynor of Virginia Beach brought up the need for self-defense, saying, “If the young lady was armed and trained, she could have whipped out P345 and taken out a few thugs.”

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