Privacy rights of illegal alien felons trump law-abiding gun owners

In Oregon last year, the Mail Tribune asked the Jackson County sheriff to provide a list of those with a concealed carry permit. The sheriff said no, and the case went to court, but did you know that a 2005 request to provide a list of all illegal aliens convicted of a crime – including felonies – was turned down by a judge referencing privacy rights?

You would think a list of convicted felons that were supposed to be deported may have news value. The federal government was supposed to immediately deport them after the sentence was served, but reporters found numerous examples where the criminals just mixed right back in with the U.S. population after release. But nooooo – you can’t get that list, it may lead to racial profiling.

I’ve got serious problems with media requests for pistol permit lists. There is no news value involved, just entertainment and possible shock value. There is no need for a list in the first place, since people with pistol permits are law-abiding citizens that have gone through a background check – and in many states – direct interviews with law enforcement prior to being issued a permit.

That said, media requests have been granted and the release of information put law-abiding citizens in harms way. If I was an abused spouse – hiding from someone wishing harm – who trained and carried a pistol, I would not want my name and address posted on page A4 of the New York Times. (I know, NY Times circulation numbers may make my point invalid, but I needed something…)

It’s also none of your dang business.

In Oregon, the sheriff is sending out letters to every concealed carry permit holder asking them if their permit was requested for security reasons. Are you kidding me? Why else would someone want to have a concealed carry permit? Isn’t security implied when you apply for a carry permit?

On Friday, license holders will be mailed letters asking them to say whether they obtained the license for security reasons, and whether they want their information kept confidential.

“Instead of going through the process of saying that it’s implied, we’re going though the process of getting the documentation that says that it is,” said Sgt. Vance Stimler, public information officer at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Bumbling stumbling bureaucrats all.

Malkin reminds us of a Sept. 2005 article posted on Newsbusters where Federal District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled a list of illegal aliens that were convicted of felonies and other crimes could not be released to the media. He referenced privacy rights. Is he kidding too?

The ruling is in the case of CEI Washington Bureau Inc. v United States of America Department of Justice, Civ. No. 03-2651 (RJL). CEI is Cox Newspapers Washington Bureau, which earlier this year asked Leon to overturn a Justice Department denial of a Freedom of Information Act request for data, including the names, dates of birth and their FBI case numbers of several hundred thousand illegal aliens.

The aliens had been convicted in domestic courts of various crimes, including many of the most serious felonies such as rape and murder, and had served time in local or state jails. Federal law requires that federal officials meet such aliens on their release from jail and escort them out of the country.

Cox Newspapers reporters Eliot Jaspin and Julia Malone had found numerous examples from Georgia state records for 2002 of convicted aliens being released and then disappearing into the U.S. because Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials weren’t present to escort them out of the country.

Since the federal government reimburses state and local jurisdications for some of their costs of incarcerating illegal aliens, Jaspin and Malone asked for the federal data on those reimburesements, including the names of the criminals involved. Justice refused, citing the FOIA’s privacy and law enforcement exemptions.

I know, I know. Two different cases, different jurisdictions, different judges. But my guess is that liberals would be fine with lists of pistol permit holders and gun owners being posted, but would balk at requests for lists of illegal alien criminals.

Gun owners – especially those who carry for protection – are liberal left targets. Guns are bad, except of course if you are a high profile person who really needs it.

As a reminder, read the current Gun Facts 5.0 – Your guide to debunking gun control myths.

Update: There occasionally seems to be some issues with the server at gunfacts.info. I’ve uploaded the PDF directly to my server (link above) and have also uploaded the previous version (4.0) of the document for reference.

2 replies
  1. Barb
    Barb says:

    Hi, Steve —

    I tried to access your Gun Facts – Guide to Debunking Gun Control Myths, but it said page no longer available.  Can you pull that and post it so we can see it?  Thanks.

  2. Steve M
    Steve M says:

    @Barb, I've noticed the gunfacts.info site occasionally has server errors. I have grabbed the two most recent versions of the PDF, uploaded to my server and updated the links within the article above.

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