Ten days ago, TTAG reported on whospackingny.com, a website that publishes a searchable database of all Empire State gun permit holders. Although the information is publicly available anyway, the site’s debut caused something of an uproar in the gun rights community. Today we learn that Oregon’s Mail Tribune is taking the concept to the next level. “Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters must release the names of concealed handgun licensees from 2006 and 2007 to the Mail Tribune, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. A three-justice panel of the appeals court upheld a Jackson County Circuit Court ruling that determined Winters had no right to deny a Mail Tribune request for copies of concealed handgun licenses because the licenses are public records.” To quote Mr. Doo, roh-roh. The paper made the request on the behalf of . . . a gun rights campaigner. Curiouser and curiouser . . .
The Mail Tribune requested the list as part of its reporting on a lawsuit by Shirley Katz, a South Medford High School teacher who challenged the Medford School District’s policy restricting employees from bringing weapons on campus.
In October 2007, Katz filed suit against the city to gain the right to conceal carry her pistol at school. She claimed she needed the weapon for self-defense. And not without reason. In 2004, police arrested her then-husband Gerry Katz for brandishing a .38-caliber revolver during a parking lot confrontation, after a “near miss.”
Weirderer: “The whole point of carrying concealed is no one should know you’re carrying,” Katz said, when asked if she would pack heat if the court ruled in her favor. “So I feel like my carrying concealed on campus now sets me up as a target.”
Anyway, Katz lost. And passed on the opportunity to take her case to the Oregon Supreme Court. Right. Back to the Gallactica . . .
The newspaper requested a list of concealed handgun licensees to count how many license holders were teachers who could potentially carry guns to school . . .
The paper does not intend on publishing the licensees’ names, [Mail Tribune Editor Bob] Hunter said.
Yeah, that makes sense. We just want to do a head-count. For his part, the sheriff holding the records is fighting the decision tooth and nail, vowing to appeal. Meanwhile, his office has taken steps to protect the confidentiality of concealed carry permit holders who’ve joined the pistol packing fraternity since that bee flew into Katz’s bonnet.
Since the newspaper filed the lawsuit in October 2007, the sheriff has changed the concealed handgun license application to include an optional confidentiality request in which applicants state whether they are seeking a license as a personal safety measure and whether they want their information to be kept confidential.
It is unclear whether a confidentiality request is enough to exempt a handgun license from public disclosure.