Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Pot Is Calling for the Kettle - Hypocrisy on Concealed Weapons

Last session, one of few contentious gun safety bills we debated was legislation regarding confidentiality of concealed carry permits (CCP) for handguns.

If a Virginians wants a CCP today, they are required to apply at the Circuit Court.  Anyone can go to the courthouse and review them like any other court document.  If you want to see what they look like, you can click here for the standard application.

Around the United States and in Virginia, several newspapers have published the names and addressed of people who CCP's, including recently after the Newtown Shooting.  Gun rights groups have taken offense to that and fought to make these records confidential. 

In 2011, legislation was introduced but was killed in a Senate Committee.  This year, the proponents got smart.  Senator Mark Obenshain, the Republican nominee for Attorney General, introduced legislation (Senate Bill 1335) in the Senate to make CCP applications for protective order victims confidential.  That bill flew through the Senate, made it to the House who struck the limitation for protective order victims, made CCP applications confidential for everyone, and shot the bill back to the floor of the Senate for approval of the amendment bypassing the problematic Senate Committee.  The same method was used to pass legislation restricting abortion clinics in the 2011 Session - also called "TRAP" regulations, Targeted Regulations for Abortion Providers.

During the debate on the amendment, gun safety groups pleaded to keep the information public so that crime perpetrators with CCP's could be determined.  Others opponents felt that licenses granted by the government should not be confidential. 

However, several of my Republican colleagues were adamant that this information should remain private and that no one had the right to know except for the government and the CCP holders.  They say it makes gun owners robbery targets (for people wanting to steal guns).  You can watch the floor debate here (around the 1:20 mark).  The Minority Leader raised a germaneness argument since the amendment radically altered the scope of the bill - the Speaker overruled that because the amendment was made by the committee that has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the bill.   

As of July 1, 2013 and unless there is a change in law, CCP information will be sealed.

Today, I was astonished to learn from Ryan Nobles over at Richmond's Channel 12 that the this data is being requested pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act from all courthouses in Virginia by the Republican Party of Virginia

This thing was like a Trojan Horse inside a Trojan Horse.  I'm speechless.

1 comment:

  1. The Republicans are no more liberty loving than the Democrats; this action simply illustrates that.