Lawmaker asks to exempt gun records from right-to-know law
At a public hearing Thursday, HB 1379's prime sponsor, Rep. Jeff Goley, D-Manchester, said he wants to prevent a situation that occurred in December 2012. Citing the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, the Westchester N.Y. Journal News published the names and addresses of people in the area who held concealed weapons permits. The newspaper obtained the information through a right-to-know request, Goley told the committee.
Goley said his bill would simply add firearm records to right-to-know law exemptions.
Other states also restrict access to firearm records, including Massachusetts. But not all exempt the records under right-to-know laws.
"There should not be categorical exemptions under the right-to-know law absent a compelling privacy interest that outweighs the compelling interest in ensuring that the public is able to openly view the government's actions," ACLU's attorney, Gilles Bissonnette, said.
"Because the right-to-know law already exempts certain personal information from being disclosed, there seems to be little evidence that firearm owners in New Hampshire have been subjected to persecution and there seems to be little evidence that the lack of an exemption for firearms records has created a chilling effect with respect to people seeking certain firearms licenses," Bissonnette said.
Their abuser is able to know they have a gun and can take precautions, Hannon said.
He noted motor vehicle license information is confidential, as is information about prescriptions.
"When a newspaper publishes an interactive website where someone can go there and see where people have guns," Hannon said. "That is dangerous."