Sat January 26, 2013
Gaston Commissioners Want Gun Permit Records Secret; Approve Resolution
Gaston County Commissioners voted 6-0 Thursday night in support of a resolution that calls for the General Assembly to make gun permit records secret. Commissioner Tracy Philbeck says the resolution was in response to news outlets publishing gun permit information after the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary in Connecticut.
"I'm a strong proponent of government transparency," Philbeck says. "At the same time, I think the press, in a lot of cases, have used the freedom of information act to bring forth an anti-gun agenda to criminalize those that own a gun."
Philbeck says publishing the information could be a danger to the community. He gave the example of domestic violence victims who have a gun permit whose addresses are now public to their former abusers if they were to look them up.
"To put it as plainly as I can, it's not anyone's business if I or my neighbor own a gun," Philbeck says.
Chairman Mickey Price says the commissioners all agreed that gun permit information should be kept private. He says this resolution was a way to send their show of support to Raleigh.
Some state lawmakers, like Justin Burr (R-Montgomery) have already said they will draft similar legislation. About four percent of Gaston County residents – or 7,984 people – have concealed weapon permits, according to the Department of Justice.