Publishing a list of handgun permit holders is a Bad Idea! real-life
topic: Letter to Editor of Fort Collins Coloradoan
On Sunday, February 20, 2000, the Fort Collins Coloradoan printed 4 articles with an anti-gun slant, in addition to a list of all the people who obtained Larimer County Concealed Handgun Permits since July 4, 1999. My letter-to-the-editor enumerates why I think this was a bad idea, and some of the unintended consequences it might cause.
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Sent to the editor Feb. 22, 2000

Published Feb. 28, 2000

Bad Idea

Publishing a list of Larimer County concealed handgun permit holders was not only an invasion of privacy, but also irresponsible, undermining the benefit of concealed-carry permits, and putting both permit holders and the rest of the population at increased risk. Here's why:

One of the main advantages concealed carry permits is that the entire population enjoys a reduced violent crime rate if only a minute fraction, even 1/2%, of the population carries.

This communal benefit is only possible because a criminal does not know who is armed and who is not. Unfortunately, with a published list, this anonymity is removed, and an enterprising criminal now has a de-facto list of those not armed, namely, those not on the list.

Mr. Greiling alluded to another issue: increased danger to permit holders whose names were published. Of course, we understand that a criminal would be foolish to single one of us out for a personal, violent attack, however, many permit holders own more than one gun, and since guns aren't cheap ($400 to $700 is common), these permit holders are probably financially successful. Now your list becomes a veritable directory for criminals: If you wait until we're not home, you can steal firearms and other valuables from us. Why don't you just publish a map to my house?

In an apparent effort to stereotype permit holders, you mention that only 10% are women. If I were a woman, I would now be scared: any potential rapist now knows that there is a much lower chance that I am armed.

The recurrent theme of your articles, and Cherie Trine's quotes, is one of fear, that you "would want to know if a neighbor or co-worker is armed." I honestly don't know if you keep bringing this up out of a genuine misunderstanding or in an effort to portray a negative image of permit holders, and gun owners in general.

This fear is not grounded in reality. To obtain a concealed-carry permit, a person must pass both Colorado (CBI) and Federal (FBI) background checks, have no history of substance or alcohol abuse, no history of domestic violence, no history of mental problems, and no criminal record.

In short, just about the worst thing a person can do and still obtain a concealed-carry permit is drive too fast on the way to work! Concealed-carry permit holders are upstanding, law-abiding, level-headed members of the community.

Federal civil rights legislation forbids discrimination based upon race, creed, color, sex, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, and status as a Vietnam-era veteran. Since "gun owner" or "concealed-carry permit holder" is not one of these protected classes, you have opened the door for an employer to fire an employee because she has a carry permit.

Of course, whether or not you are allowed to carry at work is a term of employment -- a carry permit does not allow you to carry on company or private property if the owners don't want you to.

There is obviously more to the debate than "my right to know if my neighbor is armed" vs. "my right to privacy." It is imperative to understand that publishing the concealed-carry permit list can decrease the safety of our community, and endanger its individual members.

Another article, also published on February 20th, was titled, "No penalty for carrying gun on CSU campus." The whole idea of "gun-free" zones is ludicrous. The only effect such laws have is to disarm those legally carrying, and advertise to criminals: "If you want un-armed victims, come here." If a criminal is planning to rob, rape, or kill, he isn't going to care whether or not it's a gun-free zone!

The police have no duty to protect any individual citizen, it's been ruled over and over again in court cases. If a rapist or killer is attacking you, he isn't going to wait for you to dial "911". Each person is ultimately responsible for her own safety. Why are you promoting an anti-self-defense view?


[Zak Smith] [zak@computer.org] [/~zak/documents/real-life/coloradoan-2-20-2000/html]
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