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UPDATE: Area Concealed Weapons Permit Holders; House Committee Votes to Keep Records Secret

After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, CT, and resulting gun control debate, Polk County saw a spike in concealed weapon permit applications.

Updated at 4:30 p.m., March 6, 2013

Iowa House File 81, which would keep confidential the names of people who apply for permits to purchase firearms or carry concealed weapons, unanimously cleared the Iowa House Judiciary Committee Wednesday on a 20-0 vote.

Backers of the bill said the legislation is necessary to protect the safety of permit holders as well as people who do not own firearms, the Des Moines Register reported.

Opponents say confidentiality is necessary to protect the safety of both permit holders and those who do not own guns.

The bill now goes to the full House for debate.

Earlier, Patch reported:

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office issued 1,184 concealed weapons permits in January, public records released by the department show.

The mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, on Dec. 14 and the debate over gun control that it caused may be responsible for the increase.

In December 2012, the sheriff’s department processed more than 400 gun permit purchase applications and 700 applications for permits to carry concealed weapons, WHO-TV, the NBC affiliate in Des Moines, reported.

With gun violence increasing in public places, do you think public interests are served by knowing who has permits to buy and carry concealed weapons? Tell us below in the comments.

At the time, the sheriff’s office said that was more applications than they have ever received in one month.

A new law took effect in Iowa in January 2011 that required county sheriffs to issue concealed weapons permits in most cases. Before the change, sheriffs had wide discretion, resulting in lack of uniformity among the state’s 99 counties.

The records were released under the provisions of Chapter 21, Iowa’s Open Meetings Law.

Lawmakers, gun lobbyists and a leading law enforcement lobbying group said, to ensure the safety of both permit holders and those without firearms licenses.

House File 81, backed by some lawmakers, gun lobbyists and a leading law enforcement lobbying group, would close those records to protect the safety of permit holders and the public, the Des Moines Register  reported.

The Iowa Newspaper Association is lobbying against the proposed legislation.

With gun violence increasing in public places, do you think public interests are served by knowing who has permits to buy and carry concealed weapons? Tell us below in the comments. Tell us in the comments.

butthurtbasementdweller March 06, 2013 at 03:44 PM
@Stephen Schmidt My biggets problem comes here: There is no possible public good coming from publishing the list however there are a lot of nightmare disaster scenarios that could happen. >could just go request the information themselves Because criminals are definitely going to go talk to the police. try again. > I could think of a lot of easier ways to steal guns than to comb a list ... and hope I catch them when they're not at home. I couldn't think of many. If someone has no job, is a criminal and wants a firearm. They pick a name on the list, find and address and watch the home for a little while. Most of these gun owners work. So I can't imagine it being too difficult to find a time where the home is vacant for an extended period of time. Even worse, one of these days a kid might see his neighbor on the list, break in, steal a gun and shoot up a school. Sandy Hook happened with stolen guns. This isn't some tin foil hat scenario. Children who have guns are usually in possession of stolen guns (stolen from parents, friends, neighbors) since they can't legally purchase them. Its always ironic how the gun grabbers go to this method (publishing names of gun owners) without considering the possible impact- unless of course they secretly want some sort of attention grabbing headline they can use to further restrict our freedoms. I'm all for your right to publish this information, but don't confuse that with the right to be free from criticism
Twy March 06, 2013 at 03:48 PM
@Stephen, " but I'm not sure if I understand the safety argument you're making. How does this list of names put anyone in danger? You could get more information for a burglary from a phone book, except the phone book doesn't tell you that the homeowners have guns. Would this be a disincentive for a burglar to rob someone? How would they know you're gone during the day" For giggles and grins work with me here, say I am a criminal looking to make money, I picked up the Urbandale Patch while I was getting a haircut and low and behold there is names of a target rich audience ripe for the picking. I take a few of these names, look them up (I know they are in Polk County Iowa so that narrows my search) I have their address, home phone number ext. I then take a drive, this home doesn't have a garage and there is no cars in the drive way, okay still not certain that no one is home. So I have their phone number, okay give it a ring. (In my house my home phone goes straight to VM, I prefer it that way) so its now a little safer to say no one is home. Let’s give it 20 min and see if I can see any activity...well little did I know the homeowners 17 year old daughter is in her upstairs bedroom doing her homework. It looks clear I'm going to go in. I'm sure you’re a logical man you can see where this list has provided a target(s) name, with other resources the criminal now has an address and phone number.
Twy March 06, 2013 at 03:49 PM
@Stephen Cont. Material things like guns worry me only because I don't want them in the hands of criminals. But even if I was not home and I was burglarized, my safety and security is threatened and will never be the same. My biggest worry is my 17 year old A-honor roll daughter that is studying in her room when a criminal breaks in to steal (and he likely has a gun if he is going to be stealing them) the guns. The danger this scenario alone not considering ALL of the other possible ones scares me to death. Do you understand the safety argument now?
Stephen Schmidt March 06, 2013 at 04:00 PM
@Nathan: As Deb said we tend to just post the information as we get it from the counties. I am interested though what level of information is too much? Do you mind if the names and the birthdays or released? Or just the names? Would there be a difference in your mind? I am asking because for future reference I want to be consistent in my own decision making on my site. For example, birthdates and addresses are released on most police blotters that I've seen. I know that is a false equivalency since gun owners haven't committed a crime, but I'd think if you wanted to limit the information on gun permits, wouldn't you want the information limited on criminal complaints as well?
Twy March 06, 2013 at 04:00 PM
@Stephen, I have been following that thread since it began and never saw what you refer to. I have not seen anyone give any indication that anything other than posting up their information and contacting them with their discontent over this article, should happen. I think about the most "threatening" thing was a flaming bag of dog poo... My only problem with your statement of bullying is how is it different to single out 2 people vs. 700 people? If I was on that list I would feel threatened, harrassed, exposed and put in harms way, just for them publishing my name, is that the way they feel?
Stephen Schmidt March 06, 2013 at 04:18 PM
@butthurtbasementdweller I think I can see your point on there not being a lot of public good that comes from posting the names, aside from informing the public who may be armed, which I imagine is the intention. I have posted the PDFs on my site but not publicized them much and they mostly pass without comment. I have yet to receive one complaint in fact. If it really bothers people I may stop posting on my own sites just out of a respect for their wishes. Your nightmare scenarios are possible, but I'm not sure if we should make decisions based on nightmare scenarios: isn't that the sort of thing that drives 2nd Amendment defenders crazy when people do it to them? What I think should happen more often in the dialogue is to not to talk about nightmare scenarios as a basis to prohibit things, whether it be guns or free speech, but instead to talk about what we can do to minimize harm based on what is likely to happen.
Stephen Schmidt March 06, 2013 at 04:26 PM
@TWY So the following things will need to happen. 1. I have to be a criminal who wants to rob someone. 2. I have to be at the same time a reader of Urbandale Patch. 3. I have to come upon a gun permits list out of a list of all these articles and look at it and determine that gun ownership is a good indicator of wealth. 4. I would have to pick your name, at random, out of a list of 700 people in Polk County. 5. I would have to determine to look up your name on the Internet to find your phone number. Call you to find out in you are home. Go to your house. Scope your house out. Notice that there is a teenage girl in the house doing her homework but that's ok because I somehow know the gunowner is gone and the gun is not in the house. 6. I would then have to detemine that this is my moment of opportunity to strike in the middle of the day, all based on the premise that you aren't home with your gun. I think this in theory could happen, but I'm not sure how the list being published makes it more likely to happen, except by somehow narrowing the list down to the 700 people for that month who happened to apply for gun permits, which I personally would think would be a disincentive. But then again I don't want to burglarize anyone's house so I can't be said to understand the criminal mind.
Stephen Schmidt March 06, 2013 at 04:29 PM
@TWY I actually still see the comment from user Revenge in the comments queue, so I assure you it's still there. Their e-mail has something to do with the first amendment so apparently they have a sense of humor. I can see your point about feeling exposed, but there is still the safety of being a member of a list of gun owners versus being singled out to an angry community as the two people who were responsible. Also, if you argue that putting a PDF up of 700 puts your family at risk, how can you possibly defend doing the same thing in retribution to two journalists, unless you somehow feel that an Eye for an Eye approach is justified.
Stephen Schmidt March 06, 2013 at 04:31 PM
@TWY I can definitely understand and respect your fears as a parent, which is likely part of what led you to purchase a self defense weapon in the first place. So yes in a sense I definitely do understand the emotional basis of your argument, I just am still trying to understand the logical basis of it.
Twy March 06, 2013 at 04:32 PM
@Stephen, "Your nightmare scenarios are possible, but I'm not sure if we should make decisions based on nightmare scenarios: isn't that the sort of thing that drives 2nd Amendment defenders crazy when people do it to them?" what drives a 2nd amendment defender crazy is when the nightmare scenario doesn't hold water, the argument to make guns harder (or illegal) for law abiding citizens to obtain will "fix" crimes is not historically accurate. If guns are not avaliable other means will be used to perpetrate the crime, or only the criminals will have the guns. Just like prohibition or making drugs illegal, or even better other countries that have banned guns crimes perpetrated by other means skyrocketed. The nightmare scenario I describe below of someone targeting the home of someone named on this list, it is a real scenario not a nightmare or something dreamed up...you cannot deny that.
Twy March 06, 2013 at 04:51 PM
@Stephen, Funny how in your last paragrahy you state "I am interested in hearing arguments for not posting them, and if I am convinced I won't post them on my site." making it sound like you have not posted them, yet you posted a mirror of this article for Linn County the day prior to this one, in a searchable non-PDF format and you have received Zero comments. Why do you think this is? Do you think you have less readers or it just hasn't been posted on another public forum for others to know about it? Lets give that a try for you, I will help with the shameless plug for your article... http://marion.patch.com/articles/gun-permits-issued-in-linn-county-increase-again-in-february
Twy March 06, 2013 at 05:12 PM
I feel that you cannont stand behind the argument that its unfair to do it to me but I can do it to you. Its a good for the goose/gander argument, I say suck it up, if you don't want a community to be outraged and post the same information about you, don't do it to them...that was a easy solution...and a quite logical one in fact. Pretty sure I've had that conversation with elementarty students before...
Twy March 06, 2013 at 05:15 PM
More likely to happen...is it easier to do a google search for "polk county concealed carry permits" and find an article that has published this information or is it easier to call up the sherrif's office and request this information? You tell me...I can have the results from google in sub-seconds...how long does it take to get the info from Polk or Linn county sherrif's office? See the logic in that?
Twy March 06, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Actually my purchase of any hunting, target or self defense weapon(s) is always based in logic... The logic for carrying a self defense weapon is simple, I cannot rely on others to protect me and my family that is my responsibility, Emotional logic: I would much rather have the burden of carrying a weapon and never needing it than have the heartache of needing it and not having it. See despite what some may belive emotions can and do have logic sometimes very good logic. Emotion, passion, belifs morals although may not be understood by all does not negate their logical value...
butthurtbasementdweller March 06, 2013 at 05:24 PM
1. Criminals exist 2. Or have access to google. 3. A gun permit is a measure of gun ownership. Why are you interjecting wealth into this discussion? Thats not a relevant. 4. You confuse my concern for others with my concern for myself (I'm not on this list Ive had my permit for years). Its not about me, its about everyone 5. Why would you call? Who has a landline? Just drive by, knock on the door. If they answer, play it off like you are Jehova Witnesses, else kick in door. If you call, there is a record of you calling. Just go to the house when everyone is gone. Like during the day, when people work and children are in school. Homes are often empty, thats usually when people break into them. 6.Yup.Watching them leave it would be pretty easy to determine that. I think you are intentionally missing the point. Felons cant buy guns, so they want steal them! Many criminals want to steal guns. Thats a high value, easy to sell item. Its much easier to steal than a TV. The problem with lists like these is primarily the fact that you are essentially advertising the existence of a high value, often unsecured item that is in high demand by criminals. Its the same as saying "THESE PEOPLE JUST BOUGHT HDTVs or GOLD BARS." And If you want an HDTV or a GOLD BAR, then well, you'd probably rob someone who you have a reasonable to belief to actually possess such an item. Thus, If your goal is to steal a gun, then you are going to someone's house who actually has guns.
Nathan March 06, 2013 at 08:07 PM
The people on this list are law abiding citizens. I believe you are putting them at risk by posting their names on your website. Obviously you don't agree with me on this point but what do you have to gain by doing it?
Andrew Mytzecki March 06, 2013 at 09:04 PM
To those who posted personal information on the writers of this post: You make a decent, articulate argument here for why the permit information can seem offensive/accusatory. You really should have stopped there. But your zeal to prove your point by posting personal information of the authors makes you outright hypocrites. You completely lose any moral high-ground you claim and make yourself out to be overly-sensitive bullies. This is why the gun debate in this country is going nowhere. You have so much zeal that you have no idea how to relate to the average person. You alienate everyone with your tactics and grow angrier that no one listens to you. Good luck.
Andrew March 06, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Hope the authors of this are ready to deal with the consequences of posting it to intentionally bring more attention to the names and it potentially resulting in jeopardizing the safety of someones family who's name is on there. Not wise.
Twy March 06, 2013 at 09:37 PM
HF81 passes committee with a 20-0!!! :-)
USAF Vet March 06, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Apparently common sense isn't dead afterall!!!
butthurtbasementdweller March 06, 2013 at 10:25 PM
Generally speaking, the person who is saying, “I would agree with you/support you/support your cause if you were nicer about it” has no intention of ever agreeing or supporting in any way. Admittedly, getting into motive is tricky, and I hate to say, “you know it when you see it,” but this is obviously going to be subject to interpretation. However, this argument often comes down not to, “I agree with you, but I think you could have phrased it better,” but, “I would agree with you if you phrased it better.” The fallacy is not objecting to wording but putting a price on agreement or support.
Twy March 06, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Hmmm safety (for both gun owners and non owners) cited as the reason to keep it confidential...so Stephen and the original reporter of this story. Does that logically explain to you why it should not be published?
Andrew Mytzecki March 06, 2013 at 11:48 PM
@butthurtbasementdweller That attitude is precisely the problem. My opinion is not formed by how you express your ideas; I'm smart enough to see through your hypocritical methods and understand your underlying argument. I'm talking about others. If you want to win the hearts and minds of other people, you can't act like a bully. Rhetoric like yours is easily dismissed by others as eccentric and confrontational. You may feel empowered by how you enflamed the passions of like minded people on this comment stream, but it shelters you from the reality that anyone who hasn't completely made up their mind will be turned off and dismiss you like you are an advertisement for male enhancement pills.
hammerheadfl March 07, 2013 at 12:06 PM
If you have any questions regarding the CWP class or training contact www.e2c.us or 1-866-371-6111 and the Instructors at Equip 2 Conceal will be happy to help you.
USAF Vet March 07, 2013 at 03:33 PM
E2C has nothing to do with our rights here in Iowa and are ONLY interested in your money! There are many Iowa based instructors that are in the trenches fighting for our rights and are intimately familiar with Iowa firearms laws! Take a look at Steve with Hawkeye Firearms Instruction or Michael with Controlled Chaos Arms
USAF Vet March 07, 2013 at 03:37 PM
A perfect example of e2c's lack of knowledge on tge subject is that they are offering you info on a "CWP" (concealed weapon permit) and there is no such thing in Iowa.
Debbie Korver March 07, 2013 at 05:48 PM
2 observations here: 1) I don't see the journalistic value in including the list of names. To me, it appears sensationalistic and the article can stand on it's own without the list. I don't have a strong opinion regarding guns either way, so it's a complete outsider's view. 2) "Bully two WOMEN journalists". (Shudder). Why do you feel the need to call out their gender? Don't these women have journalistic integrity as individuals? Why feel the need to protect them just because they are women? Nobody would say that someone is bullying two MALE journalists. We women are strong and I'm sure they knew by writing this piece it would be highly controversial. Please don't under estimate our gender. We can take the heat. That is all.
Twy March 08, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Interesting that I have never and still do not see this comment of "revenge". Even more telling when I ask a point blank question of the reporters involved it goes ignored. More to that they use an inflammatory term or "secret" as thought we are trying to hide something that should be public info; when the legislators obviously"get it" (amazing I know) reporters still want to put their readers in harms way.
Stephen Schmidt March 09, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Twy, It existed but was in our moderation queue and was deleted before it was made live, I can track it down possibly and take a screen shot for you if you'd really like but that may not be possible in our CMS. Frankly, though, I'd rather move past that as I think I overreacted to that in the first place. Better to continue the civil discussion on both sides. Speaking of civil discussion, I wanted to let you know that after talking with you and seeing reactions from other debaters on my site, I may decide to stop posting the gun permits altogether. More for privacy reasons than for safety reasons, but I'd rather make the visitors to my site feel like they are welcome no matter what their views are, so if this is a serious sticking point I'll take it into consideration. Of course, HF81 might make all that a moot point, but we'll see about that. I wanted to get back to you and Mr. Butthurt, if he's still lurking around, to show that we do listen to what you're saying even if we don't always agree. Now I'll go back to my own site and stop trespassing on my Central Iowa neighbors' lawn.
Stephen Schmidt March 09, 2013 at 01:11 AM
@Debby I regret the "women journalist" reference as it never was my intention to make it seem like they needed me to come to their defense. I reacted without them asking me to do it as I felt things were getting a little out of hand and I wanted to change the discussion back to civil grounds rather than having my coworkers be targets. You could argue, probably rightly so, that I could have done a better job of that, but that was my intent. Incidentally, both women are much more dangerous than I am. One owns a Taser and has fired many a weapon, and the other has a mean swing with something called a grain shovel. I own none of these things, although I would like to try target shooting some day, as I covered a skeet shooting club once and it seemed interesting. But anyway, if there's anyone at Iowa Patch who'd be easy to pick on, it'd be me. As the cliche goes, I'm a lover, not a fighter.

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