The paper's editorial board recounted recent efforts by journalists and news organizations to obtain the names, addresses and, presumably, the kind of guns owned by concealed carry holders. The board noted that one of the earliest efforts to obtain that information by the San Francisco Chronicle prompted one California sheriff to take to Facebook to alert CCW holders he was about to turn over their info to the paper because he had no choice: It was state law.
The post led to great backlash against the Chronicle, including threats of violence -- so many that editors there had to obtain extra security to protect journalists and staffers.
Similarly, "a neighboring suburban newspaper in New York tried to give readers that information, publishing an interactive map revealing the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in two counties," the board wrote.
"But the paper received intense backlash, and gun advocates successfully pushed for legislation to broadly limit the disclosure of gun ownership records under New York’s law. Similar news features ran in North Carolina and Virginia, only to end up either redacted or retracted after fiery backlash," said the board.
The question, the op-ed posited, was this: "How do you balance the public’s right to know if their neighbors own guns vs. gun owners’ privacy rights?"
The quick answer is that neighbors have no inherent right to know if someone living nearby has a firearm anymore than neighbors should have to reveal how much cash they keep on hand, how much valuable jewelry they keep in their homes, or what kinds of foods they store and in what quantity. The fact that leftists think the Constitution's privacy protections extend to everything except firearms is absurd on its face.
In any event, the op-ed continued:
...[T]here's a case for making at least some gun licensing information public — and not so members of the public can keep tabs on guns that might be in their neighborhood. Last week’s apparent hate crime in Winthrop, where a man armed with two guns shot and killed two people, raises questions about transparency around gun permitting records. That lack of public information about gun permit-holders makes it harder to judge how well the police chiefs who issue those permits are using their authority, and to hold them accountable when they make the wrong call. The shooter, who was gunned down by police, had a license to carry. Yet little is known about who the licensing authority was in this case and how that decision was made.
Got that? Police chiefs who have a little bit of discretion (in Massachusetts) can't be trusted to 'make the right decision' because every once in a while, someone who was otherwise properly licensed after legally purchasing a firearm might -- might -- harm someone.
So, how will alerting the public to concealed weapons holders and others who have licensed their guns provide better public safety? If these same individuals made it through police scrutiny, how is making public their gun-ownership and gun-carry information conducive to a safer environment?
The answer is, it won't. In fact, all it will do is put concealed carry permit holders and gun owners in general in more danger -- of having their weapons stolen by thieves who know exactly who's got a gun and who doesn't.
But the op-ed also makes a presumption that requiring firearms licensing in the first place is proper; it isn't. The Second Amendment says nothing about our right "to keep and bear arms" being subjected to government permission. Imagine the same editorial board being forced to get a license from police or some other government agency to publish their op-ed.
Fact is, it's no one's business who legally purchases a gun and who legally obtains 'permission' to carry said gun. Telling everyone who's got what and where they live is inviting theft.