Newspaper Defends Publishing Gun-Permit List


Last week was ugly at the Memphis Commercial Appeal because passionate gun owners latched onto three very wrong ideas about why the newspaper’s Web site now lists all those in Tennessee who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, says editor Chris Peck.

Wrong idea No. 1: The newspaper is against the Second Amendment that gives Americans the right to keep and bear arms. Wrong idea No. 2: The newspaper is invading people’s privacy by posting the permit-to-carry-guns list on its Web site. Wrong idea No. 3: Posting the list is empowering criminals.

After pro-gun groups started a protest, Commercial Appeal executives were receiving as many as 600 e-mails a day, along with dozens of phone calls at home, at work and on their cell phones. Maps to their houses, with ominous warnings, had been posted online. Peck notes that the newspaper published an edited version of a publicly available list. This newspaper isn’t soft on crime, Peck says: “We know that crime is the No. 1 issue that needs to be addressed in Memphis.” He adds: “Many, if not most, households in Memphis possess a firearm. So you don’t really need a list to find a house with a gun [] Neither logic nor common sense is carrying the day on this issue. “

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