Big push for gun-data shield at Maine hearing

by Michael Shepherd, Press Herald  |  published on March 14, 2013

Testimony Tuesday ran heavily in favor of a bill that would shield the privacy of Maine concealed-weapons permit holders.

L.D. 345, sponsored by Rep. Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, would prohibit access to names and addresses of an estimated 30,000 Mainers who have obtained the permits from Maine State Police or local agencies. It would make permanent a 60-day ban that lawmakers approved in February and would end April 30.

Advocates argued Tuesday that criminals could use information on permit holders to find residences where guns are kept, and that abusers could find out whether domestic-violence victims are armed.

Opponents contend that making the permit information confidential cripples the public’s ability to assess whether applicants are being properly screened before permits are issued.

“The name, address and date of birth of concealed-carry permit holders does not belong to the government or the press,” said David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. “To the contrary, my name, address and date of birth belongs to me.”

But as the Judiciary Committee’s hearing began, an amendment surfaced that would block personal information while allowing the release of aggregate data, such as how many concealed-weapons permit holders live in a certain town, The Associated Press reported.

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