Our World In 2013 (Gwen Moritz Editor's Note)

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

The Arkansas General Assembly has decided to amend the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. (Photo by Stephanie Dunn)

According to our legislature, you don’t even have the right to wonder.

There is nothing — zip, zilch, nada — about this very bad idea that expands or otherwise protects the individual right to bear arms. No one new gets to legally own, carry or discharge firearms. The requirements for licensure aren’t changed at all by this decision to slice off a little piece of the public’s right to know.

What’s more, there wasn’t anything wrong with the old law. Since an amendment four years ago, the only information about concealed-carry licensees has been available to the public are the names and ZIP codes. This was a reasonable compromise reached after certain news organizations, locally and elsewhere in the country, decided to publish extensive information about licensees, including their home addresses. I understood the concerns about that — Arkansas Business generally doesn’t even list the exact street addresses of houses that are sold.

Gov. Beebe has declined to sign the bill, but he also declined to veto it. I understand that a veto — in this case and in most others in Arkansas — would only have been a gesture. It’s as easy to override a veto as to pass a bill in the first place, and this wasn’t even close. But sometimes a gesture is worth making, and I think the public’s right to know is an issue worth standing up for — even if it means being on the losing side. As I clearly am.

Meanwhile, I have obtained a list of the concealed-carry licensees from the Arkansas State Police while it was still my right to keep and bear these names and ZIP codes, and I’m not afraid to use it. If you want a copy of the list, just email me at the address below. Your crazy uncle may be on it. Or maybe not.

Gwen Moritz is editor of Arkansas Business. Email her at GMoritz@ABPG.com.


A Note on Comments to This Column

We are more than happy to continue to take comments to this article. We ask that you continue to follow our comments policy. Also, the concealed carry list that is no longer available here contained only names and zip codes, not full addresses. Therefore, we will not allow comments containing Mortiz's home address on this website. However, we note that Gwen Moritz lives in the 72116 zip code.



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