A suburban New York newspaper’s decision to publish the names and addresses of handgun owners is prompting gun rights advocates across the country to propose legislation to keep such records secret. Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, runs a family gun shop in western Iowa.
We need to make sure that we’re protecting the identities of those who choose to get a permit to acquire or carry a weapon, but also those people who choose not to,” Windschitl says. “We had recent incidents in other states such as New York where the information was made public and there were crimes that were perpetrated because of those things.”
Concealed weapon permits would not be a public record if Windschitl’s bill becomes law. The Iowa Newspaper and Broadcasters Associations oppose the proposal, arguing gun permits are no different than other public records, like restaurant inspections.
The Journal News in White Plains, New York, published the names and addresses of more than 33,000 gun owners in northern New York suburbs about a week after the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
Legislators in Illinois are likely to reject a proposal to make gun ownership records public; such records are private in that state today.