The Gross National Debt

Thursday, December 27, 2012

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The recent furor over the publication of names and addresses in a part of New York of people with concealed carry permits is not bothering me.

I say this as a person who owns firearms and is a journalist.

Having been threatened in the past, I have reacted with a public display of a firearm. One time I was threatened. I went home, slung a shotgun across my back and rode my motorcycle around town for a while.

The records of who has a concealed carry permit are public records, at least up there in NY. That means anyone has the right to go in an view those records.

That means anyone has the right to reproduce those records.

That means the First Amendment is still in place, still at work and still in force.

The. First. Amendment.

Just so's y'all know, there is no license, no permit, no special training, no government requirement of any sort to enjoy the First Amendment. Some courts have attempted to define what a journalist is and isn't, but when it comes to your freedom to copy government records and hand them out in whatever manner you see fit, it's called THE FIRST AMENDMENT.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If government money was being spent on other records keeping and they were were not release-able to the public, most likely you would scream.

Parity. Sometimes it is uncomfortable. Oh wait. I got that wrong. If the truth hurts, you're living wrong. Yes. Mo betta.

So, to those Second Amendment advocates who are steamed about the names being released-
If you don't like the provisions of the First Amendment, feel free to move to another country as you continually invite those who object to the Second Amendment to do.

Now as a professional journalist for more than 25 years, would I go get a list of concealed carry permit holders and publish it?
Early exposure to professional journalism influenced me.

Yep. Betcha. No question. Inna heart beat.

Point of order Mr. Chairman - I have been trying for years now to get News Of Record (explanation in a moment) out of the courthouse each week to publication in the paper. There's just no way to get this stuff without spending hours and hours a week in the Courthouse poring over files and being a nuisance to the Courthouse folks.

Item: I have no problem in being a nuisance at the Courthouse. It's public records, public information and you and I have a right to see it. If the folks working int he Courthouse don't like it, they can get another job somewhere else.

Item: I don't have up to 10 hours a week to spare collating this information. So, I don't.

Ok to define News Of Record - Births, marriages, deaths, divorces, wills probated, wills closed, wills filed (The content of a will filed but not executed is private. Once the person dies, it is public, but I would not have room to print will details.), carry permits issued, denied, parole and probation status, who bought property, who sold property, bankruptcies, municipal utility connections and shut offs and so on. It's all public record. You have a right to see it.
Buy a newspaper subscription.

"Just cause it's public record doesn't mean you have to publish it,"  you say.

Tru Dat.

Some of you are now wondering whyinthehell I'd want to publish that info.

Because you'd read it. Once exposed to it for a little while, you'd want it each and every week.

"No I wouldn't," you say.

Wanna bet? Don't bother. I don't want to take your money.

The other reason I'd publish it is because I am a journalist and I run a newspaper.

What is the purpose of a newspaper? When you can understand that, then you will understand why I'd publish the News Of Record.

So while I'm here, gratuitous plug - www.thewiregrassfarmer.com - $20 a year gets you a digital subscription. 

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