Our pro-gun owner legislation, House Study Bill 201, has hit a nerve with the Des Moines Register – big surprise right? The paper has now run two pieces against HSB201 on two consecutive days.
First it was a story on Monday where the Register’s lobbyist claimed the Second Amendment was important but then insinuated their right to know who has guns and who does not trumps your right to privacy.
Then today (Tuesday) the Register editorial board issued another attempt to justify prying into the personal information of everyone who has a permit to carry in Iowa.
Quite frankly we’re not at all surprised to see the Register’s vehement opposition to HSB201 and you shouldn’t be either. It’s a major pro-gun owner bill and they’ve historically opposed most everything that protects or enhances the Second Amendment rights of Iowans.
More specifically, what we’ve done with HSB201 is write a provision in that would block the state from sharing the personal information of anyone who’s got a permit to carry, or a permit to acquire. This is what has the Register up in arms. Right now if someone were to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the state they could get the personal information (names, addresses, dates of birth, etc.) of every Iowan with a concealed carry permit or permit to acquire.
You may remember 2012, when in the wake of the Newtown tragedy the Journal News of New York filed a FOIA request and published the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in their region. Not only did they publish that very private information, they also created an interactive map of the pistol owners addresses making it easy for any thieves, thugs, and domestic abusers to find their victims.
This irresponsible act of “journalism” was nothing more than an attempt to marginalize and shame gun owners in the Journal News reading area. What’s worse, by publishing this information the Journal News also published the names and addresses of law enforcement officers and prison guards. Rockland County law enforcement condemned the act saying it endangered the lives of their officers. There were reports of convicts taunting prison guards saying they now knew exactly where to find the guard and their families once they were released, and victims of domestic violence, rape, and other violent crimes who had reported their attackers now had easy access to their new homes.
The Journal News and the Des Moines Register are both part of the same Gannett media company, and right now there’s nothing stopping the Register or any other media outlet from pulling the same kind of stunt here in Iowa. We also know this isn’t an isolated case. Media outlets around the country are using FOIA requests to build databases of gun owners personal information. These are all reasons why we are fighting to protect gun owners privacy.
So try to frame this however you like Des Moines Register, but this isn’t about government overreach or your right to know, it’s about hundreds of thousands of Iowa firearms owners and our right to privacy. This is about media overreach and standing up for the everyday John and Jane Doe who simply want to be able to protect themselves and their loved ones from those who seek to do us harm. We’re law-abiding citizens and we have a right to go about our business without being marked for extra scrutiny because we acknowledge that our personal security starts with us.
We’ve made it easy to write your legislators and tell them you want to keep the media from sharing your private information.
Please take action today.
Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, Second Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance Second Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on Second Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.