Town Police Chief Issues Warning on Facebook About Newspaper’s Request for Gun Permit Information
The police chief of a central Maine town has taken to Facebook to warn residents that he has been asked to turn over the names of all concealed weapons permit holders at the request of the local newspaper.
Milo Police chief Damien Pickel posted on the department’s Facebook page Thursday that he had received a state Freedom of Access Act request from the Bangor Daily News.
“This request, which has been sent to every police agency in the state, is requesting the ‘names, addresses, and dates of birth’ of concealed weapons permit holders maintained by the town of Milo,” Pickel wrote. “I have spoken to the Maine Attorney General’s Office and am informed the request is legitimate and lawful.”
He continued, “Personally, I am opposed to releasing ANY information regarding concealed carry permit holders. I find it will create a unsafe environment not only for those who are legally permitted to have a concealed weapon, but also those who do not.”
Referring to the recent public outcry after New York’s Journal News published an interactive map pinpointing the homes of gun permit holders, Pickel noted that several burglaries took place after New York residents’ addresses were published and said the Bangor Daily News was requesting the same type of information.
The Journal News ultimately removed the names and addresses from its map after about a month, though later admitted the records they used included “outdated, inaccurate data.”
Pickel suggested Milo residents contact their local government representatives and the governor, Republican Paul LePage, to express their views.
“While I personally oppose releasing this information to the Bangor Daily News, I am legally bound to do so and as the chief law enforcement officer of the town, I must comply with it,” Pickel wrote. “As always, I am just providing you with information I believe you have a right to know.”
Pickel did not immediately return a request for comment from TheBlaze, nor did Bangor Daily News managing editor Susan Young about his post.
Anthony Ronzio, the newspaper’s director of news and new media, said in an editor’s note published Thursday afternoon that they have no intention of releasing “identifying information about permit holders.”
“The BDN has never had any intention to release identifying information about permit holders, and said so in our request. We recognize how sensitive this information is, and made sure police agencies knew of this intent,” Ronzio wrote.
He said they requested the concealed weapons permits information “as part of long-term reporting projects on domestic violence, sexual assault and drug abuse” and called the “wholesale publication of permit holder information” as done by the Journal News “irresponsible.”
“Again, no identifying information about permit holders will be published, and no stories specifically about permit holders are planned,” Ronzio wrote.
Nevertheless, the newspaper’s request made waves around the state Capitol Thursday, with Republican state representatives and Gov. LePage registering their outrage, the Kennebec Journal reported. LePage even took to Twitter to post a photo of himself displaying his concealed-carry permit.
If newspapers want to know who has concealed weapons permits, they should know I do. yfrog.com/obernilsj
— Paul R. LePage (@Governor_LePage) February 14, 2013
This post has been updated.
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