Bangor Daily News seeks concealed weapons information

UPDATE: The newspaper rescinded its request on Friday morning.

We are disappointed with the reaction to our request, which we felt was with the best intentions to help study issues affecting Maine through an analysis of publicly available data. We will continue our reporting, but will use other sources of information to do so.

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Republican legislators in Maine called an “emergency press conference” Thursday to blast the Bangor Daily News for seeking information about concealed weapons permit owners. The paper says its request is part of a two-year long reporting project on domestic violence and drug abuse, and that it “has no intention to release this information publicly.”
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We intend to use this information, along with other information we are gathering, to analyze possible correlations and trends relevant to our reporting projects. It had always been the BDN’s intent to request this information to support our reporting projects. However, the introduction of legislation to remove these permits from public records accelerated our timeline in doing so.

The paper emphasizes that it’s not going to do what the Journal News did — anger locals by publishing the names and addresses of gun permit holders.”We recognize how sensitive this information is,” says BDN news and new media director Anthony Ronzio. “We believe the wholesale publication of permit holder information, as was done recently by a newspaper in New York, is irresponsible.”

State Republicans want the Daily News to withdraw its open records request.

“Maine people expect much more than this out of one of their major daily newspapers,” said Senate Minority Leader Michael Thibodeau. “This is beneath the Bangor Daily News to engage in this activity in my opinion, and we would encourage them to abandon this process and let us go about our work,” trying to keep concealed weapons permit information secret.

A “Boycott Bangor Daily News Don’t Tread on Us” page on Facebook has over 1,250 Likes so far.

* Bangor paper’s request for gun data causes uproar (pressherald.com)
* Editor’s note: Why we’re requesting the records of concealed weapons permits (bangordailynews.com)
* GOP legislators admonish BDN for requesting gun permit data (bangordailynews.com)
* Read the paper’s request to one police department (facebook.com)

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