Monday February 18, 2013 | 09:38 AM

Give a listen to the podcast of Monday's interview on WGAN where Mike Violette, Ken Altshuler and I discuss the concealed weapons flap as it migrates to the State House. 

Not surprisingly, the discussion is dominated by guns and lawmakers' rush to shield information that has been public since at least 1985. The topic was the lead item in Monday's State House Notebook, which can be read here.

We also discussed the decision by the Bangor Daily News to withdraw its Freedom of Access Act request, during which Dennis Bailey's blog post gets a free plug.  

Toward the end of the conversation we talk about the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, the group that is fighting to keep the CWP data private and played a key role in mobilizing activists against the BDN. 

In 2010 SAM filed a FOAA request seeking over 100,000 email addresses of those who had bought hunting and fishing licenses through the state's online purchasing service. The data is public information and SAM wanted it to solicit new members.

A little more back story on SAM, which is discussed on the show: According to Judy Meyer, vice president of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition, SAM has routinely used the state's right-to-know law to access the state's hunting license database. Meyer said that about a decade ago, Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, which holds the database, decided to charge SAM $15,000 for the database rather than the $1,500 it had previously charged.

SAM fought the fee increase and later joined the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition to make it an issue. The move worked and, according to Meyer, SAM has since paid $1,500 for the database. 

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Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.

Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
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