One day after igniting a firestorm of criticism, The Roanoke (Va.) Times removed from its Web site a list of Virginians licensed to carry concealed weapons. The list, published as part of an opinion column about open records, was taken down out of concern that it might include names that should not have been made public, president and publisher Debbie Meade said. The list, which included the names and street addresses of about 135,000 Virginians with permits to carry concealed weapons, was linked to a column by editorial writer Christian Trejbal.
Hundreds of readers complained on the newspaper’s message board and to a gun-rights group that publishing the names violated the privacy of law-abiding citizens and gave potential criminals information that would help them find victims. “By publishing that list, you’ve created a windfall for criminals,” said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. He argued that convicted felons, barred from buying guns at stores, could use the list to burglarize homes. Another concern was for the safety of domestic abuse victims, who might carry concealed weapons for their own protection but don’t want an abusive former partner to know where they live.