Logue's bill seeks to limit public info on weapons permits
Assemblyman Dan Logue introduced a bill this week to limit how much public information could be released about people with concealed weapons permits.
Assembly Bill 134 would prevent addresses, phone numbers and other contact information on permit holders from being released to the public.
"The bottom line is we have some safety issues here," said Logue, R-Loma Rica.
He said he was motivated to co-author the bill with Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, R-Costa Mesa, after hearing about a newspaper in New York state that published an online map of permit holders in two counties, including their names and addresses.
"It puts a bullseye on different elements of society," he said.
In Colusa County, the information restricted by this bill is available, but a formal request had to be submitted to get it.
"There is certan information that is not available until we received a Public Information Request," said Colusa County sheriff's Lt. Russ Jones, who heads the division that handles concealed weapons permits.
Jones said he has not seen the full text of the bill, but agrees "on its face ... it sounds reasonable."
There are 84 active concealed weapons permits approved by the Sheriff's Department. Additionally, Williams police have issued seven permits, while Colusa police have approved 39.
Williams police Chief Jim Saso was out of the office and unavailable for comment, but a department spokeswoman said it is the policy of the department not to release addresses and similar contact information.
The government code already allows the restriction of that information if the agency believes it makes that person vulnerable to attack. Williams has made that its policy.
Colusa police Chief Ross Stark does not have any problem with the proposed law.
In the past, he said, the department complied with public information requests.
Logue said his bill wasn't intended to prevent media outlets from publishing the information as much as it was to stop a person from getting the address of someone they were stalking who had a permit.
Logue said the bill would not bar law enforcement, courts or public defenders from acquiring such information. Names of permit holders would also still be publicly available.
A proponent for public access and media rights questioned whether such a law is needed.
"It sounds to me like a completely redundant bill," said Peter Scheer, executive director of the 1st Amendment Coalition based in San Rafael.
Scheer said he believes agencies recording concealed weapons permit data, such as county sheriff's offices, already have leeway to restrict how much of that data they provide the public.
A better approach, Scheer said, would be to bar such information from being published online, where it would be more easily accessible to large numbers of people.
Logue said making such information public punishes people who are acting lawfully.
"To do it without their permission is dangerous for them and their neighbors," he said. "The best government is self government."
TCN Managing Edtior Todd R. Hansen contributed to this report.