Sunday, November 16, 2008

Check Box To Conceal Weapons Permit - Oregon

Corvallis Gazette Times: Community News

I'm afraid I've quoted this article in its entirety, because I'm not confident that if I just linked to it (as above, which is my preference) it would remain available in detail as long as I would like for you to be able to read the entire thing.

Therefore I have quoted it (below) so you will have all of the information.

If I had been confident that the Corvallis Gazette Times would continue to make this article available, here's what I would have said:

In America today, we are usually "allowed" to carry a concealed weapon in accordance to the Second Amendment. This is because we, and our Governmental agencies, generally acknowledge that we are constitutionally acknowledged to the right to carry a weapon (usually a firearm ... the right to carry a Knife, for example, is often more closely regulated) defend our persons, our loved ones, other persons, and property.

The vast majority of states in America have accepted that certifiably law-abiding citizens should be allowed license to Carry a Concealed Firearm to provide them the ability to so protect the People and Property which are important to them, and to aid Law-Enforcement Officers (who cannot possible be immediately available to thwart predators) in defense of The Law-abiding and The Law.

However, there are powerful forces ... most frequently, Journalists ... who have set themselves in a self-declared 'higher Moral Level' to identify those who have been vetted, qualified, and defined as legally qualified to Carry Concealed firearms. Their goal, they suggest, is to identify people who are legally permitted to arm themselves.

Or, as it is expressed in this article:

" ....the public has a right to know who has a concealed weapon."

(Jack Orchard, a lawyer on retainer with the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, says: “It’s not something you are entitled to keep confidential,” he said. “No one forced you to acquire a handgun.”)
Orchard, and Newspaper Publishers through-out the country, deny the right to keep confidential the list of people who are licensed to carry a defensive weapon. Again, they cite the right of the public to know who is armed.

They claim the "public right to know", but it seems to me that this a particularly Liberal point-of view.

Liberals love Gays. I wonder if they would be as quick to embrace the rights of the Public to know who is gay.

Then the quote may be:
“It’s not something you are entitled to keep confidential,” he said. “No one forced you to acquire a handgun be Gay.”

Is this a Public right, or a Liberal preference?

In either case, this journalistic drive to full disclosure for the 'public right', may not be as appealing for journalists when voiced in terms of a societal right which is more personally acceptable to them.

I reject their argument of "public right". This is a personal bias, and it is an effort to sell newspapers without regard to the possible detriment of the safety of the law-abiding individuals whom they would target.

To post a list of people who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun would be to pillory these individuals in the stocks of public opinion. Oregon is a Liberal state; generally speaking, most people here don't care about the Second Amendment. More important, they are afraid of guns. This wasn't the case two generations ago, when guns were widely accepted and a 'frontier' (in current terminology) attitude toward firearms was assumed and accepted. Two generations of Liberal education have changed the local attitudes.

The Journalists take an impersonal point of view. They don't own or carry guns, their friends and acquaintances don't own or carry guns; they don't see any reason why anyone should want to own, let alone carry, guns.

My friends almost always own guns; several of them carry guns. The people I work with, and my friends, ALL know that I own guns.

Only a few of them know that I have a CHL (Concealed Handgun License) and you may be surprised as a reader to learn that I very rarely carry a gun.

Well, I work on a College campus where it is worth my job to be caught carrying a gun ... even though it is legal. Show me a college campus in this state where the rules of employment (or attendance) do not restrict firearms carry? Answer: Nowhere in the Oregon University System is this acceptable whether you are faculty, staff or student.

Still, I have a CHL. Whether or not I carry on campus, if it became wide public knowledge that I had a CHL I would find myself under intense scrutiny by my employer, and general suspicion on the part of my co-workers, for fear that I was walking around with a gun in my waistband.

I don't, but my social and employment situation would become untenable if I were "outed" as a CHL owner.

What they decided I was Gay?

Nobody would even blink.


I had no idea, until this weekend, that I was subject to being"'outed" for my mere PERMISSION to carry a handgun.

Thanks to this article, I will immediately contact the Benton County Sheriff's Office and inform them that I definitely do NOT want to be identified as a CHL holder.

I could handle the stigma of being almost any kind of social pariah, except that of having exercised my Second Amendment Rights.

What if I were a Journalist, and I was outed as being determined to exercise my First Amendment Rights?

Oh, they would say; that's okay. You can carry a pen.

But not a Sword.


Benton County Sheriff Diana Simpson said people who carry concealed weapons for personal safety shouldn’t have to reveal their names. So she’s giving them the opportunity to remain anonymous.
am indebted to Benton County Sheriff Diane Simpson for her bold stand for the privacy of her neighbors and constituents. I emailed her office immediately after writing this article; she personally replied with the information that I could find an online PDF of the updated application. She said that there was no fee for re-filing an updated application.

I downloaded and printed the application, filled in the blanks, and included a cover letter of explanation along with a both-sides picture of my CHL. That letter is sitting in my mailbox tonite, waiting for pickup tomorrow. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Check box to conceal weapons permit
By Tom Henderson
Corvallis Gazette-Times

Lawyers with the Portland firm of O’Donnell Clark & Crew want to know the names of Benton County residents who hold concealed weapons permits.

Benton County Sheriff Diana Simpson said people who carry concealed weapons for personal safety shouldn’t have to reveal their names. So she’s giving them the opportunity to remain anonymous.

Simpson has added a box to the county’s application form that people can check if they want a permit for personal protection. People who already have permits also can submit the revised form. Simpson said she won’t reveal the name of anyone who has checked the box.

Simpson issued a press release Thursday to inform the 2,000 Benton County residents who have concealed weapons permits that they have the option of keeping their permits secret.

Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller is revising his county’s application form, as well. So are a lot of other sheriffs across Oregon in response to an April court ruling that permits obtained for personal safety may not be subject to public record laws.

It is unknown how many counties’ permit information O’Donnell Clark & Crew is seeking. Three calls to the law firm were not returned.

Simpson said her office is complying with the law firm’s request, but because records are not automated, the process is very long and time-consuming. In the meantime, the sheriff’s office will accept amended applications requesting their information to kept confidential, she said.

“This is a difficult situation to be placed in,” she added. “On the one hand, I need to respect the public records law request. But on the other hand, I need to respect the expectation of privacy and confidentiality.”

Renewed concern over the confidentiality of concealed weapons permits began when Shirley Katz, a South Medford High School teacher, insisted she needed to carry a concealed weapon in her classroom to protect herself from her ex-husband.

Editors of the Mail Tribune newspaper in Medford wanted to know how many public school teachers already had concealed weapons permits. Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters refused a public records request from the newspaper, although the county’s concealed weapons permit application form indicated that weapons permits are public records.

The Mail Tribune’s publishers took the county to court. Meanwhile, the forms were changed to omit the statement that permits are public records. Jackson County Circuit Court Judge G. Philip Arnold ruled April 25 that concealed weapons permit information may not always be protected under Oregon’s public record law. He said people who hold permits for personal safety could ask that the information be withheld from the public.

Jackson County officials are appealing the decision with the support of the Oregon Sheriffs’ Association.

At issue is whether or not permits can be altered retroactively.

John Haroldson said that they can. As Benton County District Attorney, he is the primary custodian of public records in the county. “What you have is a court ruling that recognizes the need for carrying concealed weapons for personal safety,” Haroldson said.

Laura Cooper, a Bend lawyer who specializes in public records, said changing existing records puts sheriffs in an ethical and legal gray area. “That seems to be the destruction of a public record,” Cooper said. “Basically, what you’re doing is amending a public record.”

Although the sheriffs’ decision raises questions, Cooper said she doesn’t have any definitive answers. “It sounds problematic, but I can’t say that with any authority.”

Jack Orchard, a lawyer on retainer with the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, is more definite. Orchard said the public has a right to know who has a concealed weapon.

“It’s not something you are entitled to keep confidential,” he said. “No one forced you to acquire a handgun.”


UPDATE: 18-NOV-2008

I deleted the contents of my email, and added the comment about mailing an updated CHL application.

I also corrected the link address; the original article had been moved to the newspaper archive.

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