After essentially telling a few of us reporters and bloggers no comment, the Associated Press is now explaining their attempt to gain access to the list of concealed weapons permits in Montana.
Chuck Johnson has this for Lee Newspapers:
“After the Montana Legislature voted to remove from the public record information on whom the government had granted permits to carry concealed weapons, effective Oct. 1, The Associated Press requested a database of these files that had long been accessible to the public.
“AP acted under freedom of information law, which we do routinely in seeking records at the federal, state and local level as part of our newsgathering process and our long-standing mission to assure transparency and accountability in government….
“We have never had any interest in publishing the Montana database in its entirety.”
Meanwhile, John Adams had an opinion column in The Great Falls Tribune where he criticized Attorney General Tim Fox (R-MT) for making “a public display” of rejecting the open records request. Adams then corrected the post by adding this response from the AG’s office:
(Update 8/5/2013 5:10 p.m.) According to Fox spokesman John Barnes, the Attorney General’s Office sent the July 17 memo only to Associated Press reporters Matt Gouras and Matt Volz as well as to county attorneys and Montana sheriffs. Barnes said he doesn’t know how other media outlets found out about the memo but that there was no effort on the attorney general’s behalf to publicize the decision. Barnes said after the news got out other media outlets requested Gouras’ original request.
The full piece can be found on Adam’s MTLowdown blog.
Chuck Johnson’s piece also pointed out that this story broke right here on The Flint Report blog, and that the AG’s memo came from a source outside of the AG’s office. But even if I didn’t have to get the memo leaked to me from someone outside the AG’s office, what would have been the harm if the AG’s office had sent out a press release stating why he rejected the request? It’s the public right to know, right?
— Kyle Schmauch (@KyleSchmauch) August 6, 2013
As for the issue of veiled threats- threats should not be tolerated, nor does it appear they are. The Daily Inter Lake summed up the whole issue quite nicely, as I previously mentioned.
Jon Arneson and I also discussed this very story on the August 1st program of Voices of Montana. Click below to listen to part of our discussion:
Click to Listen
Senate President Jeff Essmann (R-Billings) was also threatened during previous legislative sessions due to a bill he carried to limit the marijuana industry in Montana. The media did not stop reporting on marijuana stories as a result.
The Daily Inter Lake has a good read out on their editorial page this morning, which covers the recent request by the Associated Press to obtain a list of all concealed weapons permit holders in Montana. (They also gave a mention to our statewide radio talk show Voices of Montana) Plus, GUNS Magazine highlights anti0gun Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “magical misery tour.” And, more and more women are seeking concealed carry permits in Cascade County, Montana.
Daily Inter Lake editorial on AP Request:
It appears the Associated Press has gotten an unnecessary, self-inflicted black eye from its recent request for detailed information on all Montana concealed-weapons permit holders.
We certainly can’t think of a good reason to seek that information, particularly in light of the fierce blowback an upstate New York newspaper got late last year after it published a map along with the names and addresses of all permit holders in two counties. A Bangor, Maine, newspaper came under withering criticism for acquiring similar information, even though the editor insisted there was no intention of publishing the information.
But let’s make one thing clear. Whether we agree with the AP or not in this instance, reporters have every right to request information from the government. That is a large part of their job.
Daily Caller: Bloomberg’s magical misery tour
That New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, principal stakeholder in Mayors Against Illegal [read “Your”] Guns, was expecting a bumpy ride for his 25-state, 100-day “No More Names” bus tour was evident from the start. Rather than post an itinerary with stops, dates and times, the project’s website required interested parties to provide contact information in order to “Get the latest updates about the tour [and] be the first to know when it’s coming to your town.”
“I was in Raleigh … giving a talk to Grassroots North Carolina,” economist and author John Lott wrote on his blog. “Apparently just that day MAIG was having their bus tour in Raleigh and … the GRNC was able to get more people at the event than could MAIG.”
This was but one of many Bloomberg embarrassments. At its stop a few days earlier in N.H., while reading off their list of “victims of gun violence,” the group called out the name of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Great Falls Tribune: More Women carrying concealed in Cascade County
“I have seen a significant increase in concealed carry applications,” Captain Raymond Hitchcock of the Cascade County Sheriff’s office said.
By the end of 2012, instead of processing 10 to 20 applications per week, he said it increased to upward of 60 applications.
“If you are in danger you have the moral and ethical right to protect your life, and to protect the life of others,” noted Bill Garcia, Smith and Wesson district manager and NRA certified instructor.
“Women are great. They listen to instruction very well. Women are my best students,” he said.