In the Montana Newspaper Association’s (MNA) testimony at the Montana State Legislature earlier this week, the MNA said, “We agree that much of the information currently required on a Concealed Weapon Permit Application may clearly be considered to fall within the realm of individual privacy.”
However, Montana Media Trackers, a conservative watchdog group, reports that at least one prominent newspaper in the state had previously requested access to the full registry. And, Media Trackers noted that SB 37, which the MNA is backing instead of SB 145, actually increases the amount of information that is currently considered public information by requiring physical addresses of permit holders.
Media Trackers’ Garrett Lenderman has this:
According to Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Anders, the list currently provides the names and county residence of each applicant, as well as their FBI national background check number, permit number, and dates associated with the permit.
When the Billings Gazette, a member of the MNA, requested a registry of persons holding concealed weapon permits in 2000, MDOJ determined that the addresses of permit holders is not privy to public information laws.
The attorney general’s office, headed by then Democratic Attorney General Mike McGrath, who now serves as Chief Justice of Montana, explained in a letter to the Billings Gazette that providing the addresses of each permit holder would violate the individual privacy rights of each person listed in the database.
Click here to read Lenderman’s full column with more quotes from Chief Justice McGrath’s previous opinion.