Gun Permit Secrecy on Hold

On June 16, 2009, in News 2009, by Mark Norris

Humphrey on the Hill,
June 16, 2009

A bill to close public access to the list of those holding handgun carry permits is on hold for now, according to the Senate sponsor.

The House-passed bill (HB59) was scheduled for a Senate floor vote Tuesday. But Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris, the sponsor, says the vote will be delayed again as he focuses on budget issues.

Norris said he is undecided on how to proceed with the bill, including possible amendments. He’s already filed one, which would make public the records of anyone whose permit is revoked.

Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, has filed another amendment. It would keep the records open for inquiries on whether a stated individual has a permit, but prohibit distribution or publication of the entire database.

The AP reports, meanwhile, that John Harris, head of the Tennessee Firearms Association, believes several organizations now say don’t want to completely close access to the names of people on the permit list.

Harris said on the association’s online forum that several organizations “want the database to remain available… for purposes of contacting permit holders directly.”
Of course, 2010 is an election year and the database could be used to send permit holders campaign mailers.

The AP says Harris made the comments during an online exchange Sunday and did not immediately return a phone call.

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