Sen. Will Longwitz Column

Are you thinking of applying for a conceal-carry permit? If so, your name and application information is public information that any newspaper can print. Rep. Mark Baker and I have introduced bills to change that, and to keep your personal information private.

I wrote my bill after recent events in New York State, and after constituents contacted me with their concerns. A New York newspaper used the state’s public records laws to print the home addresses of permit holders on a map. Thieves then used that map to invade at least two of the permit-holders’ homes in search of their guns. Fortunately, the owners weren’t home, and no lives were lost.

Mississippians now face a similar risk. When you apply for conceal-carry permits here, your name and information are public for 45 days. In the information age, that’s forever. Criminals can use that information to target you, and anti-gun groups have already promised to reveal all public gun information, state-by-state. There is no reason we should face this risk.

A simple change can protect gun owners from becoming victims. Exempting conceal-carry permit information from public records law will keep private information private. It’s a simple fact: people should not become targets simply for trying to defend themselves.

Jackson Jambalaya
1/22/13