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RIBLE-DANCER INTRODUCE BILL BANNING RELEASE
OF GUN OWNER INFO
Assembly Republicans Dave Rible and Ron Dancer have introduced legislation that would prohibit the public release of the names and addresses of residents with gun permits. Under current law, access to such personal information is prohibited by regulation, but could be accessible under New Jersey’s open public records law. If enacted into law, Rible and Dancer’s bill would prohibit such access.
“Disseminating personal information about those who have gun permits puts law enforcement officers and law-abiding citizens in harm’s way,” aid Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean, who is a retired police officer. “Currently, access to permit-holder information is restricted by regulation which can be changed without legislative approval. By codifying that access to this information is prohibited, we are taking a forceful step that obtaining a public roadmap that puts citizens at risk cannot be so easily obtained. The right to privacy is just as important as freedom of the press.”
In the aftermath of December’s tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, a Rockland County newspaper published a story that included a map listing the names and addresses of people who have pistol permits. The information was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Rible and Dancer pointed out that the map and personal information included in the newspaper’s article put law enforcement officers and other permit-holders potentially at risk. A week after the story ran, the Rockland County sheriff held a news conference to discuss how inmates were approaching law enforcement officers telling them they knew where they lived.
“This issue has nothing to do with gun control, but protecting law-abiding citizens’ right to privacy and ensuring their safety,”said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth. “The potential exists that citizens can be targeted by thieves, as could victims of domestic violence who possess a firearm to protect themselves. These innocent groups become potential prey for criminals, who can use the information for GPS directions right to the doorsteps of law abiding citizens. This bill will legally remove the ambiguity in the current regulation and prohibit access of such public information that currently is allowed under a provision in the current common law allowing access to such public records.”
The legislators also noted that the information obtained under the current regulation could be used by criminals seeking weapons to use in their criminal activities.
The bill, A-3788, awaits a committee assignment.
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