Paper responds to flap over gun database - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Paper responds to flap over gun database

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Commercial Appeal responded Sunday to gun owners who are outraged over a very public and legal list of gun permits in the Mid-South.

After a firestorm of protests over the gun permit database, maintained on the Commercial Appeal's website, editor Chris Peck responded in an editorial Sunday, saying "our posted list of permit holders for concealed weapons has less information about individuals than the phone book, your voter registration form or the credit card you use to buy dinner at a restaurant."

Click here to read Peck's editorial.

With a few clicks in the database, you can find out who has a permit to carry a handgun, including their year of birth, and city, state, and zip code of residence.

But, according to Chip Holland, Training Director at Range USA, before the protests, users of the database could see even more.
"I pulled up my name, my date of birth and my address," Holland said.

Holland added he's concerned the database shows criminals where they can find guns.

Commercial Appeal Editor Chris Peck says with so many people in Memphis with firearms, criminals don't really need a list. 

In the editorial, he went on to say, "If criminals were checking the permit-to-carry list before picking a target, would they likely choose a house where they know the owner could be carrying a gun, or would they more likely steer away from that house to avoid possible confrontation?"

Peck said the information serves the public interest.

"A mom might now check the list to see if the parents at her kid's sleep-over next door had a concealed weapon permit.  If so, maybe it would be worth talking to them to make sure the gun is locked up," he wrote in the editorial.

But Holland says it's not the people with permits a parent needs to be concerned about.

"They've taken an extra step, sat through an eight hour program, to make sure they're familiar with weapons and safety," he said.

Action News 5 requested an interview with Peck, but an employee at the Commercial Appeal said he had "no comment".

The Commercial Appeal's database is legal, and information in it comes directly from the Tennessee Department of Safety.

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