11.17.08 WAR ON GUN OWNERS’ PRIVACY HEATS UP.

“It’s not something you are entitled to keep confidential,” Orchard said. “No one forced you to acquire a handgun.”

With those twisted words, the attorney for the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association explained why every media outlet in the state and country, as well as every anti-gun extremist organization, should have the names and addresses of every Oregonian who has a concealed handgun license.

The Oregonian, in their infinite stupidity said “We’ve always appreciated the fact that you could check whether your road-raging next-door neighbor also had the sheriff’s permission to pack heat in an ankle holster.”

As if that neighbor would be any less dangerous if he did not have the sheriff’s permission “pack heat in an ankle holster.”

As you know, the Medford Mail Tribune, in an effort to “out” CHL holders, demanded that the Sheriff of Jackson County turn over the personal information of every license holder there.

Their hope was to continue the attack on teachers in the area who had licenses and owned guns for the defense of themselves and others. The Mail Tribune has consistently attacked the Medford teacher who went to court (with our support) to force the Medford School District to stop harassing and threatening her because she was exercising her right to have a concealed handgun license.

The Jackson County Sheriff stood up to the newspaper and its editor Bob Hunter, and refused to turn over the names. Hunter, of course, sued.

The local courts agreed that Hunter and the Tribune had the right to have the names, addresses and phone numbers of every CHL holder in Jackson County. Hunter would then be free to publish all of this information.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters fought back and appealed the decision. The Appeals Court has not yet rendered a verdict, but to protect CHL holders, several other sheriffs have taken steps to keep this info private.

In Washington, Marion, Benton*, Josephine, Linn and Columbia Counties, the sheriffs are working to give license holders the option to keep their personal information private, no matter what the Appeals Court decides. Other sheriffs are reported to be considering it, but many are still making this info available to any individual or group, no matter what their position on gun rights is. (Currently,the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office web page is saying they will NOT disclose this information.)

Clackamas County’s Sheriff Craig Roberts, on the other hand, has stated that he plans to continue to release this information and has made no effort whatsoever to protect the privacy of CHL holders.

*The law firm discussed in this story has revealed that they are in fact seeking CHL holders’ names in all 36 counties.

In the new political climate we face, it  is more important than ever that gun owners in general, and CHL holders in particular, protect their personal information and privacy.

We applaud the sheriffs who have stepped up to confront the media and any other anti-gun organizations that seek to use this information to harass and intimidate gun owners as the Medford Mail Tribune has attempted to do.

It is our hope that legislation to address this issue can pass in the upcoming legislative session, but we expect that to be an uphill fight. In the meantime, we need to strongly urge every sheriff to follow the lead of the Jackson and Washington County Sheriffs and take whatever steps they can to protect the personal information of CHL holders from people like the lawyers for the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

Your can use this link to find and contact most Oregon sheriffs. If you discover broken or outdated links, please let us know and we will update them as quickly as possible.  A sample message to your sheriff follows. Please cut and paste it into an e-mail or modify to suit your personal style. And thank you for your activism.

____________________________________

Dear Sheriff,

As you know, media outlets and other organizations are asking sheriffs to reveal personal information about concealed handgun license holders.
These requests expose CHL holders to harassment, abuse and criminal activity.
Persons who apply for, and receive, CHL’s are not looking to make a public statement and in many cases have reason to want to keep their status as license holders private.  I urge you to do everything you can to protect this information from people who have no legitimate reason for having it.

Very truly yours.

______________________________