What if some “news” organization or politician were to propose making lists of one or more of the following sets of people with home and work address, and making them publically available:

  • Homosexuals
  • Blacks/Hispanics/Asians
  • Christians/Muslims/Jews/atheists
  • People infected with HIV
  • People in interracial marriages
  • Women who had abortions
  • Abortion doctors
  • People with I.Q.’s below 85

Suppose the people creating the list of Jews were neo-Nazi’s or Muslims.

Suppose the people creating the list of abortion doctors were abortion protestors.

Suppose the people creating the list of homosexuals were from Westboro Baptist Church.

Suppose the people creating the list of people in interracial marriages were members of the KKK.

Would you consider this covered under free speech? I probably would. I’d also consider them at least partially liable if the people on those lists were harmed by people utilizing the information on those lists. I think I could convince a majority of people that the intent of the list(s) was to intimidate and/or harm the people on the list(s).

Now imagine it was the government making such a list. Would you regard this a permissible use of the force of government?

So when a U.S. newspaper conglomerate considered making a public database of people with concealed carry licenses and says this about them:

We are launching two enterprise projects across our newsrooms this month. The first will deal with the creeping influence of heroin in our communities. The deadly drug has quietly taken over, reaching across all age groups and eclipsing meth as the recreational drug of choice,” Lawitz began.

“The second project examines the explosion of ‘conceal and carry’ gun permits across the U.S. Through public records act requests, we will attempt to build state-by-state databases that list those who have the right to carry a concealed weapon,”

What do you think their intent was?

What do you think the intent of a government is when it makes such lists?

I don’t know about you but my mind immediately goes to the story of the Belgium Corporal.


16 thoughts on “Lists

  1. “Conceal and carry”? Ha.
    Fortunately, NH law specifically prohibits disclosure of concealed carry records.
    This is also the best imaginable argument in favor of Constitutional Carry (formerly known as Vermont Carry). If there are no concealed carry permits, there can’t be any records for these fascists to gather.

  2. I forget the details, but a couple of newspapers did publish the addresses (and possibly names- details, details) of CCW holders in their area. The senior staff somehow found THEIR names, addresses, etc also being published. Many of them hired armed private security for a period after that. Oh, the irony.

  3. So you’re opposed to public safety then, you’re opposed to information that might benefit society, opposed to public records being public, opposed to a free press, and you go straight from public information sharing to mass murder as though they’re the same thing. Wow, Really? Is there anything you DON’T oppose? Next you’ll want to burn down the libraries I suppose.

    The more logical conclusion is that you have good reason to keep aspects of your gun ownership secret. So what are you hiding? What are you really afraid of, and why? It’s obvious you’re afraid of something, being as you admit to wanting the truth hidden.

    • How, exactly, does publishing lists of law-abiding, licensed gun owners have any positive effect on public safety or benefit society in any meaningful way?

      It’d be one thing if researchers were interested in aggregate, anonymized data (e.g. number of license holders in particular ZIP codes or counties, for example)…but what benefit is there for a newspaper to get lists of names and addresses of ordinary, law-abiding people?

      • “…what benefit is there for a newspaper to get lists of names and addresses of ordinary, law-abiding people?”

        So that those people know the whole world is watching them. So they know that they’re not welcome. You see this as a bug, but it is in fact a feature. You just have to get your mind right, AR. Maybe a little medication would help.

        And don’t forget, as you have been reminded before, that all criminals start out as law-abiding citizens, just as practically all crime guns start out as legal guns, and so the criminal populations of both people and guns have the law-abiding populations as feeder stock. The law-abiding population is therefore the source of all the problems and so you’re damned right we should keep a close eye on it. Hmm? I bet you don’t have an answer for that, do you?

    • I’m not opposed to public safety. I’m in favor of limited government power and maximizing personal freedom. An argument could be made for making nearly all of the lists above in the name of “public safety”. But the risk of abuse is too great compared to the potential benefits. And no such list can be accurate without the force of government compelling the people who “should” be on the list to comply.

      Government is granted limited powers and the legitimate powers granted do not include those to regulate activities that do not harm consenting adults. My choice of god(s) (or none), my choice of mate, and my choice of arms is outside the limits of government concern and must be respected. Only when my choices infringe upon the rights of others does government have legitimacy in interfering with my actions.

      • Agreed.

        I only just realized you were playing the devil’s advocate. You got me there, well done. 🙂

      • Ah, but Joe, you conveniently ignore the public’s right to to be free from a heavily armed society, and you ignore the possible abuses that can and do arise from having such a heavily armed society. At least the government is accountable to the people at large, whereas a whole society of armed individuals has no such checks or balances to keep it under control.

        You may well argue that those who wish to live in a society that isn’t bristling with deadly arms may leave, but being forced to abandon one’s property and livelihood and start from scratch in some other country is a pretty high price to pay for such a freedom when democratic processes, which are the cornerstone and promise of this country, might alone provide it.

        • And yet this argument takes away the freedom of choice from those who do wish to own firearms. One’s right for a gun-free society does not trump one’s right for self-protection, and depriving the law-abiding (who are presumed innocent until proven guilty…sure, every criminal started out as a law-abiding citizen, but for the most part, they opted out of that branch of society at a fairly young age) of their right to carry does absolutely nothing to protect the society as a whole. Detroit, Chicago, and New York have some of the strictest gun laws on the books. The only way one can own a gun there is to have connections. And look at their crime rates. Highest in the country. If you want a gun-free society, start by removing all guns from all criminals (those with records, not those you assume will eventually get records, but haven’t yet). Guarantee you can round them all up and prevent any more items that may be used to inflict bodily harm upon me or mine, and I’ll give up my guns. Until you (and not some nebulous .gov agency) can do that, I’m staying armed.

          And kudos on the Devil’s Advocate part….I thought your account got hacked for a minute there!

        • And you know what Sol Alinsky said about that in his dedication for “Rules for Radicals”. He identified the end game right there in only a few words. One of the few honest things ever said by a leftist operator. The rest is all about how to get to that end.

      • He had me going for a second too. But take his words to heart: this is how the other side thinks.

  4. So the question is, who’s working on that list of publishers and editors and reporters, and their names, addresses, vehicle descriptions, and other interesting public data? I can just imagine having such a list being mailed to one of them might let them see the light BEFORE they publish the list of gun owners.

  5. They said they were going to create a list of folks who had “the right to carry a concealed pistol.” So they’re making a list of law abiding adults I n the shall issue states? That’s gonna be a big list.

    It goes to show just how little they know about rights when they phrase it like that.

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