Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL list

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by ColtCarbine, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member



    The Medford Mail Tribune, a newspaper which has repeatedly editorialized against self defense for public employees, has won a court case .pdf to get the names, addresses and occupations of all concealed handgun license holders in Jackson County.

    The newspaper demanded this information as part of series of articles attacking Medford teacher Shirley Katz. Katz, you will remember, sued to be allowed to carry her handgun to work in a Medford school (The Oregon Firearms Educational Foundation is paying Ms. Katz's legal bills. Her case is currently being appealed.)

    Judge Philip Arnold, the same judge who ruled that public employees are not protected by Oregon's preemption statute, ruled that Bob Hunter, the Tribune's Editor, has a right to the personal information of CHL holders. The county sheriff, Mike Winters, had refused to turn over the information, citing privacy and safety concerns.

    Hunter stated in an article on October 16,2007 "This is information bought and paid for by the public, and the public has a right to it.”

    This is, of course, nonsense. Licence holders pay high fees in order to have their backgrounds checked, their pictures taken and their fingerprints placed on file like criminals. The public, (and Bob Hunter) doesn't contribute a dime.

    Hunter and his staff have claimed that they don't plan to release any names. We wonder then, why he wants them.

    If the Medford Mail Tribune does publish the personal information of CHL holders, we will assume that they won't mind if we publish the home addresses and other information about their staff.

    You can contact Hunter by e-mail here bhunter@mailtribune.com or by regular mail and phone here:
    Mail Tribune
    P.O. Box 1108
    111 N. Fir St.
    Medford, OR 97501
  2. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    This was posted from a member in the Oregon Hometown Forum over at ARFCOM

    I sent the following email to Mr. Hunter:
    Dear Mr. Hunter,

    Contrary to the many emails and letters you have gotten, or are likely to get, I will be civil.

    I would like to inquire as to why you feel it is necessary and a right of yours to publish this information?

    What public good is served? If you feel you have this right, then why not publish the names and addresses of all employees of the Medford Mail Tribune?

    This is the response I got back
    Dear Mr. ******:

    Contrary to what some may be telling you, we have no intention of publishing the names of people who have concealed weapons permits. For us, this is a strictly a public records issue – we would pursue the same course if the sheriff tried to deny us access to records of department expenses or if a county commissioner tried to deny us access to land-use applications.

    Here’s the background: You may be aware of the story in which a Medford teacher wants to bring a gun to school. In trying to locate the teacher for an interview (in which we granted her anonymity), we asked the sheriff for a copy of the permit of the person we believed to be the teacher. He denied our request.

    The public has been granted that information from previous Jackson County sheriffs and other individuals and media across the state have been given that information in their counties when they asked. Oregon law is very specific about public records – unless it is specifically exempted, records held by a public agency are available for review by the public. There is no exemption listed for concealed weapons permits.

    Again, we are not interested in publishing the names of the permit holders. But we are always concerned when a public official or public agency tries to hold back public information. You may agree with the sheriff on this issue, but what if a politician you don’t agree with decided he or she wouldn’t release information to the public? If we stand back and let that happen, government continues to grow stronger – and more secretive – while the public loses more and more information about how its government operates.

    We fully respect people’s rights to gun ownership and their right to have a concealed weapons permit. That’s never been the issue. But we are not willing to let the sheriff make up his own rules about what is a public record and what isn’t.

    Thanks for writing. I hope this helps you understand our position.

    Bob Hunter


    Mail Tribune

    Medford, OR

    IF... he is telling the truth, cannot say I totally disagree with his ideals only

    However, I have become very skeptical and not sure I believe the information would not be published...
  3. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    More BS from the paper in Medford

    The Mail Tribune is entitled to a copy of the list of all concealed weapon permits issued in Jackson County the newspaper sought from Sheriff Mike Winters, according to an opinion issued today by Jackson County Judge J. Philip Arnold.

    The newspaper asked for the list of license holders eight months ago as part of an investigation into news that a South Medford High School teacher had such a permit and wanted to carry her gun at school. Teacher Shirley Katz sued the Medford School District over a policy prohibiting employees from taking weapons on campus, then appealed when the policy was found valid.

    Winters asserted the documents were exempt from public view because they could compromise security and contained personal information, including names and addresses.

    None of the permit holders, however, had challenged the newspaper's right to obtain the public records based on privacy issues, and state law favors disclosure of public records, Arnold stated.

    He also pointed out that the permit application required applicants to attest to and sign that they understood state law considers the form public information.

    The newspaper does not intend to publish names on the list but requested it on principle, Editor Bob Hunter has said.
  4. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    Original story from the paper in Medford, Oregon concerning lawsuit to obtain personal info on CHL permit holders

    By Paris Achen
    Mail Tribune
    October 16, 2007

    MEDFORD — The Mail Tribune filed suit Friday against Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters, seeking a list of concealed handgun licenses as part of an effort to count how many license holders are teachers.

    The question of teachers’ rights as license holders to bring guns to schools and how that affects school security are at the center of Mail Tribune reports on a lawsuit between the Medford School District and Shirley Katz, an English teacher at South Medford High School.

    Winters, who as sheriff is in charge of the county’s concealed hand gun licenses under state law, denied the newspaper’s written request for the list, saying the information should be kept private.

    The newspaper argued Winters’ refusal to hand over the documents is unlawful, as the licenses are public records under state law and have been released by other sheriff’s offices.

    “A sheriff should enforce all laws without personal preference, and we feel Sheriff Winters is allowing his personal feelings to interfere with his duty to enforce the law,” said Mail Tribune Editor Bob Hunter. “This is information bought and paid for by the public, and the public has a right to it.”

    The newspaper does not plan to publish the names of license holders, Hunter said. It wants the information for research about how far-reaching a ruling on the Katz lawsuit could be.

    Obtaining a license to carry a concealed handgun in Oregon involves a criminal background check, completing a gun safety course and signing an application that specifically states that the license is public record.

    There are about 6,500 license holders in Jackson County, according to the sheriff’s office.

    Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office recently released the names, dates of birth and license numbers of license holders to the Oregonian and the Willamette Week newspapers but withheld addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers.

    “We were reluctant to hand over the names because we don’t want to make it easier for anybody who would use the information for harm in terms of credit card fraud or identity theft,” said Multnomah County sheriff’s Deputy Travis Gullberg, public information officer, “but you can’t get away from the fact that it’s a public record. The application form spells it out.”

    The Mail Tribune first requested the licenses from the Jackson County sheriff more than a month ago.

    Before filing suit, it sought an opinion from Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston. Huddleston declined to consider the matter, citing a state law that bars the state attorney general or county district attorney from interfering once an elected official such as a sheriff claims the right to withhold disclosure of a public record.

    “It’s important for news media to take a stand on something like this because if public information is withheld in this way it will diminish the amount of public information the public is allowed to see,” Hunter said.

    Winters said the sheriff’s office would oppose the Mail Tribune’s request in court.

    For both privacy and safety reasons, “I don’t believe it’s anyone’s business who possesses a concealed handgun license,” Winters said.

    The director of the gun rights group financing Katz’s lawsuit challenging the Medford School District’s policy banning employees from bringing guns on campus said as a matter of law, handgun licenses are a public record.

    “Obviously, I’d like to see those people’s privacy protected, but I doubt (Sheriff Winters) has any legal justification for withholding what is a public record,” said Kevin Starrett, director of the Oregon Firearms Education Foundation.

    Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Philip Arnold heard oral arguments Thursday on Katz’s challenge of the Medford School District’s policy banning employees from taking guns on campus.
    It’s unclear when he’ll issue a decision on the case, which will likely have repercussions for other school districts around the state.

    Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.
  5. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    Since when is it public information to obtain people's personal information such as address, home phone number and social security number. This doesn't seem much different to me than trying obtain people's driver's license information.

    WTF, are these people smoking crack or what?
  6. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    By the same logic, any one with a social security number should have their name and information on the original application released to the public

    Or anyone with any type of security clearance....

    Or any member of the police force that works undercover......

    Or any medical records that exist in a public supported health institution like a county hospital or health dept...

    and so on and so on.
  7. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    That information is protected under the Privacy Act and as such should be exempt. Statistics, such as the number or teachers and such, if they chose to disclose it, would not be an issue, but names, addresses, social security #'s, and other personally identifiable information should be protected from public disclosure under the Patriot Act. Someone correct me if I"m off base here, but that is my understanding of that particular law.
  8. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    Ummmm...I THINK you are thinking of the HEPA law NOT the Patriot act, Patriot Act basicly just tries to get rid of Constitutional rights.

    What IS the law in Oregon? I understand that in some states LTCs/CCW permits ARE considered public record and you know the information (at LEAST your name and enouph to know which Tom Jones it is though likely not a SS#) is available to anyone that wants it. Here in MO at least, its in the law that it is NOT public record. I THINK it MAY be able to be recorded/published as far as statistical for just how many permits have been issued but even that is kind of hard info to get.

    IF Oregon has it that its public record then (while they realy should put a fire under their legislators butts to get that changed, not to mention better reciprocation) and especialy if you have to sign off that you know its public record when you get it then seems that the records need to be turned over. Now IF the paper publishes personal identifiable info and it causes anyone problems (harassment, loss of jobs, identity theft, etc) then figure the folks it happens to should get to own the paper. IF OTOH it is NOT public record there and instead is like it is here in MO then the judge needs to be booted off the bench and the paper told to pound sand.
  9. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    I'm sorry, I MEANT to say the Privacy Act!
  10. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    As far as I know there isn't any specific laws pertaining to CHL personal information but it is specific that personal information concerning driver's licenses is prohibited. I believe most are interpretting the law in relation to driver's licenses. You can obtain personal information through the Freedom of Information Act on businesses or persons doing business with state, county and local government agencies.

    The newspaper tried to obtain the information by stating the information was bought and paid for by the public, which it was not. The permit holders paid the fees not the public. However, I could say the same about my plumbing license but my personal information (name, phone number and address) is available upon request. How do I know it happens because I receive letters from plumbing contractors looking for plumbers all the time. However, in the article the judge didn't state any laws requiring the Sheriff to release the information rather he stated that it was his opinion. Gray area, me thinks.

    Yeah, hopefully this will be addressed and a specific law pertaining to this will be written in favor of CHL permit holders.

    Here's the law pertaining to Social Security numbers:

    ORS 107.840 Confidentiality of Social Security numbers. (1) The State Court Administrator shall establish a procedure applicable to every court in this state that ensures that the Social Security numbers of parties to a proceeding under ORS 107.085 or 107.485 are kept confidential and exempt from public inspection.

    (2) The procedure established under this section must:

    (a) Require that Social Security numbers be listed on a separate paper attached to an affidavit of the person providing the Social Security number certifying that the Social Security number is correct;

    (b) Ensure that the Social Security numbers are provided to or made accessible to the entities primarily responsible for providing support enforcement services under ORS 25.080; and

    (c) Comply with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 666 relating to provision of Social Security numbers. [2003 c.380 §1]
  11. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    Well I just googled it up so not positive but if anything like the missouricarry.com forums then the folks here http://oregonconcealedcarry.com/ would most likely be well aware of the letter of the law on CHL there. I know in most things related to law its an 'opinion' simply because it gets a bit convoluted and comes to 'what "is" is' and the definition used for every word of a page long law. Some states make names available, some more info others no info and from my understanding its usualy in the statute that pertains to concealed carry. Again IF the folks at that site are like the one here in MO then they also are probably pretty regularly in contact with legislators and could be a major force in getting the law corrected if its poorly writen.
  12. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

  13. toemag

    toemag Monkey++

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    As a Brit living in Germany, trying to escape this transparency thing that we all seem to be falling fowl of. I can only commend the Sheriffs actions, as he is truly there to protect and serve. In the UK you can loose all confidentiality due to somebody leaving your details on public transport.

    As to the freedom of the press, I suggest that they get a taste of their own sort of harassment before making a case for themselves.

    If their sales were to drop off like 90% just how long can they survive before going under? They also make money out of adverts, if you have an advert running in their paper cancel it, if you have it on order cancel that too. Tell others about this outrage, and convince them today its the CHL people, next week it's your tax documentation and Bank balance they'll be asking for.

    I'll be watching this with some interest.

  14. WestPointMAG

    WestPointMAG Monkey++

    Re: Jackson County Sheriff disobeys judge's ruling on CHL li

    For what it is worth.
    My F.O.P.A. lodge tried to get the same information and hit a snag. We were wondering if the crime rate was higher or lower in the parts of our city that had a high number of persons licensed to carry a handgun. The snag was that we could get the name and address of the license holders but we could not get the information on the crimes.
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