More privacy in store for gun owners

Legislation would exempt concealed pistol permits from being disclosed by the Freedom of Information Act.

Michigan's State Senate passed a bundle of bills onto the House Thursday that would exempt concealed pistol permits from being disclosed by the Freedom of Information Act.

â??This is a good move because it protects both sides,â?? said Andy Marek, a gun rights advocate. â??I don't think it's anyone's business what someone does or doesn't have a permit or license to do, because that's what it is, a license to carry a firearm just like it's a license to drive a car.â??

The issue stems from a New York newspaper that published an interactive map revealing names and addresses of gun pistol permit holders. That post landed the paper in hot water.

â??They have an interactive map, like Google Earth, that you click on the house and there's no permit, I'd be more concerned as a non-gun owner,â?? Marek explained.

Gun owners say they could be targeted by thieves looking to steal guns. They counter that those thieves could also target the non-gun owners, as those houses may not be protected.

â??A house where a person has the registration for it, probably has a firearm in their house. So if I want to go break in somewhere and get a gun to use for bad use, I can go there,â?? said Marek.

â??I wouldn't be happy either way,â?? said Scott Sieffert, owner of The Discerning Shootist. â??It's basically a violation of my personal liberty and privacy. Anonymity is your best friend. You don't want to be drawing attention to yourself, and be shouting and screaming, "Hey, I got a gun! Stay away from me." That's kind of counter intuitive to a concealed pistol license.â??

One of the arguments from those who want to keep the information public is that parents should be able to see who owns guns around them in an effort to keep their kids safe. Sieffert said that's not necessarily fair.

â??There's not a list where you can go and say, "Hey, who's cooking meth in my neighborhood?" It's up to a parent's responsibility to meet the parents and talk to them and check them out,â?? said Sieffert.

â??I think there's a bigger issue than whether or not someone has a gun, it's whether or not you can be nice to your neighbor,â?? said Marek.

The permit information would not be hidden from police.

â??They already have the access now; they will continue to have the access. It's on the law enforcement information network and will continue to be,â?? explained Sieffert.

A violation of the law, should it go into effect, would result in a civil infraction and possibly a $500 civil fine.

The Michigan Senate passed the bills over to the House for further consideration. A similar bill worked its way through the House in March.