Guns roundup

by Walter Olson on February 5, 2013

{ 1 comment }

1 Richard Nieporent 02.05.13 at 10:05 am

Second Amendment vs. First? Maryland lawmaker proposes bill “to prohibit publications from printing private info of gun owners”

This is an erroneous way of representing the issue. There should be no First Amendment right to publish a list of the names and addresses of gun permit holders just because the government collects that information. The only reason to do so is at a minimum to shame and more likely to harass law abiding citizens who have committed no crime or even a peccadillo. A self-righteous employer could fire someone who was on that list because they did not believe a person has a right to own a gun. Worse it has the potential to physically harm individuals on the list, such as women who have gotten protective orders, by letting a potential attacker know where they live. Would we also favor publishing other information collected by the government such as the names and addresses of everyone who is on disability or who has gotten a disabled placard? People would be up in arms that we were violating their right to privacy even though such a list, unlike the list of gun owners, could have a positive benefit by helping to identify people who were not entitled to those benefits. Why not publish the names and addresses of everyone who has been convicted of a crime (like we do for sexual predators). Not only do we not publish such information, but the government goes out of its way to protect individuals who have committed a crime by attempting to prevent employers from asking about a person’s criminal history when they apply for a job. In other words we go out of our way to protect privacy except when it suits one’s political agenda.

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