Hartford Courant - The names and addresses of about 170,000 handgun permit holders in Connecticut, now kept confidential by law, could be made public under a proposed bill that pits gun owners against would-be reformers in the aftermath of the Dec. 14 Newtown school massacre.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Stephen D. Dargan, D-West Haven, co-chairman of the legislature's public safety committee, would make public the names and addresses of permit holders under Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act -- and would reverse lawmakers' decision to protect that personal information from disclosure nearly two decades ago.
Dargan's bill already has stirred debate, well before next Wednesday's opening of a five-month General Assembly session that is expected to be dominated by gun-control issues after 20 first-graders and six adult staff members were killed Dec. 14 by gunman Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza, 20, shot himself as police arrived; he had killed his mother at their Newtown home earlier.
Dargan's bill also could draw Connecticut into a controversy now raging to the west in New York -- where a local newspaper recently used New York's freedom of information law to publish a "gun map" showing the names and home locations of gun owners in some parts of New York.
In both states, the central question is whether the public interest in knowing how many guns are spread through communities is outweighed by the privacy rights of people exercising their constitutional right to own guns.
"Most things are FOI-able now," Dargan said in an interview Thursday. "Go to the local city clerk's office and you can find out where Steve Dargan owns property," as well as what cars a person owns and perhaps some of his debts. "I don't know why a responsible gun owner is worried about whether a permit for a revolver is FOI-able or not."
Dargan said that in the "computer age," and in an open society, it is reasonable for people to want access to gun ownership information. "Maybe their kids are going over to Johnny Smith's, and maybe they want to see whether they have guns in the house."
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