Virginia State Police protecting privacy

I wrote before about Christian Trejbal’s ill-considered editorial in the Roanoke Times, which was linked to a digital database of the entire list of concealed carry licensees in Virginia. Predictably (to everyone except Trejbal and the rest of the editorial staff at the Roanoke Times, apparently), this action was not well received (to the extent that some murderous lunatic sent mailing labels to his house–it’s a miracle that they didn’t explode).

Within a day, the Roanoke Times finally got a clue about what a mistake they had made by invading the privacy of 135,000 law-abiding Virginians, and removed the database. When Trejbal published his editorial, he claimed that the “point” he was making was about open government, and was not intended as a criticism of firearm ownership and lawful use.

This is not about being for or against guns.

Two sentences later, he turned around and “question[ed] the wisdom” of owning guns.

There are plenty of reasons to question the wisdom of widespread gun ownership, too.

The full measure of his opinion of concealed carry licensees is finally revealed when he seems to advocate that they should be subjected to the same intense scrutiny as sex offenders.

A state that eagerly puts sex offender data online complete with an interactive map could easily do the same with gun permits, but it does not.

The irony is that Trejbal’s “celebration of open government” seems to have spurred the government to move to protect the very privacy he celebrated violating.

Last Friday, the Virginia State Police, under the guidance of Attorney General Bob McDonnel, closed the records to the public (the full text of the AG’s opinion can be read here). I am especially amused to see that the article about the closure of the records, in the same paper that Trejbal published his editorial, begins by referring to Trejbal’s “botched attempt to highlight an open record.”

An editorial writer’s botched attempt to highlight an open record — the list of Virginians licensed to carry a concealed handgun — resulted Friday in the record being closed.

It would seem that ol’ Christian is having trouble finding support at even his own newspaper–here is a very good editorial, also in the Roanoke Times, making the case for more respect for the privacy of licensees.

Next year, more permanent privacy protections may be put in place by the Virginia legislature.

McDonnell’s opinion settles the issue only for the short term; the General Assembly is expected to take up the issue next year following a study by the state’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council.

“I think this opinion will serve as a foundation for future discussion,” Nutter said.

Although he said it was too early to talk about specific legislation, Nutter said he could envision a solution in which citizens could still look up information on individual gun owners at their local courthouse, while the statewide list compiled by the state could be off-limits to everyone except law enforcement.

Still pleased with yourself, Christian?

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One Response to “Virginia State Police protecting privacy”

  1. hairy hobbit Says:

    in my best Simpsons

    HAAHA!

    /Simpsons

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