Gun Permit Request Backlash
Updated: Friday, February 22 2013, 06:53 PM EST
A mountain newspaper withdraws its request for a list of those seeking concealed-carry gun permits. Responses online and on the streets lit up when the Cherokee Scout requested that list from Cherokee County Sheriff Keith Lovin.
The paper wrote two letters this week asking for the list of people who have or are requesting the gun permits. It says it has the right to do so under North Carolina’s public records law, and wanted the information to analyze which neighborhoods have the most guns. The publisher and editor say they never intended to publish names.
County commissioners are supporting laws before the legislature that would exempt concealed-carry permits from open records law. In the meantime, the sheriff says it's his job to protect residents' privacy. He says, “I don't have a problem with people more clearly defining the law. But I’m elected sheriff of this county and I have to do what I think is in the best interest of the citizens of Cherokee County.”
Sheriff Lovin wrote the paper back saying just because he has the list isn't enough legally to have to turn it over. The Cherokee Scout published a letter acknowledging "The readers have spoken" and retracted its request." The sheriff says he and the paper have spoken and he looks forward to a positive dialogue going forward.
The Cherokee Scout put out another letter Friday apologizing to its readers and to Sheriff Lovin saying it, “…made a serious error in judgment this week, and thanks to our readers, we learned a tough lesson.”
By Rex Hodge