March 20, 2013

Letters to the editor
Debate continues over gun-data shield

I am interested in the editorial in the March 14 Press Herald headlined "Our View: Concealed carry permits are public documents."

click image to enlarge

Spectators watch from the hallway last week in Augusta at a public hearing on a bill that would make permanent a ban on releasing the names of Mainers with concealed-weapons permits.

2013 Kennebec Journal File Photo /Joe Phelan

The logic behind that opinion raises several questions. Many government documents are not public. Who decides which are public and which are not?

A few years ago, my car was parked in the parking lot at a marina. When I came out, two other cars had blocked me in.

I called the local police to find the owners of those cars. The police would not call the state Motor Vehicles Bureau to identify the owners. Apparently that information is not public.

I am the property manager at a church in Portland. We often find cars parked in our lot that interfere with snowplowing and other activities.

The Portland police will not identify for us the owners of these cars. Apparently that information is not public.

So I question why public documents pertaining to motor vehicles are not available to the public, while the Portland Press Herald considers that public documents pertaining to concealed-carry are.

Allen J. Bingham



While it is true that public disclosures of concealed-weapons licenses are essential to accountable government, that is not, for this reader, the most compelling reason for them.

Citizens may be entitled to fill their own properties with all the guns and ammunition they can legally acquire, so that they can defend their homes against marauding bureaucrats and liberals gone wild. And they may be entitled to fire their weapons on their own properties or those of their like-minded friends and neighbors.

But no citizen should fear for his or own safety when in public spaces or on the public ways.

Jurisdictions far and wide erect caution signs, yellow blinking lights, railroad crossing warnings, etc., to prevent harm to the unsuspecting from the missteps (however innocent) of others in command of equipment capable of doing inordinate and unexpected harm. A gun is such a piece of equipment.

An unconcealed gun carried on a public way by a stranger not in uniform is frightening. Even more frightening is the prospect that the man or woman approaching you from down the street might have such a weapon concealed – and you have no way of knowing it.

If we must have concealed weapons in public – which is questionable – who has them should be regularly published public information.

Sylvia Kraemer



The gun owners of Maine are beginning to awaken to the terrible shadow of doubt and blame being put on them by the anti-gun people and the media.

Most, if not all, gun owners were more shocked by and sorrowful at the heinous act committed at Newtown, Conn., than ordinary citizens. They knew what was going to happen next as the president, media and the antis pointed at them.

Well, with the recent anti-gun rhetoric and articles in the Maine media, I have decided, "Enough."

Those who spout this ignorant garbage cannot do it without a cost. I've been a loyal customer of Downeast Energy for 30 years, but the recent bias shown by their former president, John Peters, was the last straw.

I refer to the front-page article in the March 1 Portland Press Herald ("Business safety concerns vs. gun permit holders"). It was written to cast concealed-weapons permit holders as less trustworthy than John Q. Public, and that is not so. Therefore, I am changing energy companies!

It is time that gun owners spoke up and made those who point the finger know the cost of such wrong and hurtful words. Actions speak louder than words!

It is time that gun owners tell advertisers they will not trade with them if they continue to do business with newspapers that are not fair and unbiased.

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