Memphis Commercial Appeal Publishes Tennessee CHL Permit List; Gun Owners React
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Chris Peck, editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, defended his (and his paper's) decision to post a a Web-only database that allows people to search by name or ZIP code for those who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Tennessee.
In his editorial, Peck wrote, "Misunderstandings with people who carry guns can turn ugly.
"This past week it has been ugly at the newspaper, after passionate gun owners latched onto three very wrong ideas about why The Commercial Appeal's website now lists all those in Tennessee who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
"The Tennessee Firearms Association and others have fanned the frenzy against our website posting of the permit-to-carry list. Pro-gun groups orchestrated a protest campaign that has spread nationwide. By late last week, Commercial Appeal executives were receiving as many as 600 e-mails a day, along with dozens of phone calls at home, at work and on their cell phones. Maps to their houses, with ominous warnings, had been posted online.
Our crime? Putting up a web-only database that allows people to search by name or ZIP code for those who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Tennessee. The list came from the Tennessee Department of Safety and is available to anyone who wants it, simply by contacting the agency's office. The state of Tennessee, to this point, has decided that the right to carry a concealed weapon comes with the responsibility of agreeing to have a public record of who is packing."
Several paragraphs later he concluded, "The newspaper isn't anti-gun. We are pro-news and information. That's our job, and we want to do it right."
Do you believe that's true? At GunReports.com, we have our doubts. Journalists are often surprised when their stories violating the rights of private citizens draw angry responses. It's a kind of cluelessness common among media people, who overwhelmingly don't support the 2nd Amendment with the same vigor as they do the 1st Amendment.
Read the full text of the editorial here.