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11.13.07 MEDFORD NEWSPAPER SEEKS GUN OWNERS’ NAMES

MEDFORD NEWSPAPER SUES TO GET NAMES OF GUN OWNERS

As you may have heard, the Medford Mail Tribune has sued to get the names of concealed handgun license holders.

This action was taken as a result of the lawsuit brought by a Medford teacher against the Medford school district. As you know, teacher Shirley Katz was suing to be allowed to carry her defensive firearm to work at Medford High School.

The Mail Tribune, which has repeatedly editorialized that licensed, trained adults should NOT be allowed to carry firearms on school property, believes that one of the ways to promote its anti-gun agenda is to intimidate gun owners by demanding that the Sheriff turn over the names of license holders.

What possible purpose this would serve, beyond invading the privacy of the most law abiding residents of Oregon, remains a mystery. But the Tribune’s Editor, Bob Hunter is determined to proceed.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike WInters has so far refused, correctly pointing out the dangers this would present. “We were reluctant to hand over the names because we don’t want to make it easier for anybody who would use the information for harm in terms of credit card fraud or identity theft.” Winters said.

Editor Bob Hunter believes that he has the right to those names for whatever purpose he chooses to use them. “This is information bought and paid for by the public, and the public has a right to it.” But of course, that’s not true. The public did not buy and pay for this information. The information was paid for by the fees license holders are forced to pay to exercise a “right.” But Bob goes on “It’s important for news media to take a stand on something like this because if public information is withheld in this way it will diminish the amount of public information the public is allowed to see,”

The truth is, whether it is legal for the press to obtain these names or not, (and attorneys have recently informed us it may NOT be legal) the only purpose being served is to chill the rights of gun owners. It would be no different if we published the home addresses and phone numbers of Tribune staff and hid behind the First Amendment. (Which we will do if they continue this senseless exercise.)

While the Sheriff should be applauded for his efforts to protect license holders,Bob Hunter and the Mail Tribune and its advertisers should know that it’s wrong to promote their anti self-defense crusade by threatening the privacy of gun owners.

You can contact Hunter by e-mail here bhunter@mailtribune.com or by regular mail and phone here:

Mail Tribune
P.O. Box 1108
111 N. Fir St.
Medford, OR 97501
541-776-4411