On outing concealed carriers


There is a certain group of public employees here on the Suncoast whose boss recently authorized them to carry concealed firearms in the workplace if they so choose.

He should be commended for the decision.ccw

It’s purely voluntary – up to each individual employee.

They went about it the right way – providing free training and range time with well-qualified instructors.

Kudos to all involved in the decision.

I hope it catches on, especially in the private sector, especially at businesses located within the 1700 block of Main Street.

I recently got an email from someone who’s definitely not a fan of these public servants, who suggested in pretty harsh words that I should, among other things, “warn the public they’re carrying guns.”

Yeah. Well, don’t hold your breath. That’s never gonna happen.

Outing someone for concealed carry is a dangerous practice. It puts the lives of law abiding citizens at risk.

On one hand you alert potential burglars that they own firearms. On the other hand, if someone intends them harm, the fact they know they’re armed can be incorporated into their evil plans. That can have deadly consequences.

Because I am a reporter, I am still occasionally force-fed a ration of poo for the now infamous  decision by very ill-informed editors at The Journal News, located in Westchester County, N.Y., to out gun owners in their region.

Through a public records request, the newspaper got the names and addresses of everyone living within their coverage area who had a gun permit – a permit to possess.

The newspaper  published the names and addresses in a searchable database – an interactive map that became a boon to burglars.

To be clear, I have never worked at that paper or even been to Westchester County.

I was shocked they published the data, but I was also somewhat taken aback that there were still so many gun owners actually living behind the lines in New York State.

The newspaper’s decision blew up – it went loud. There were calls for new laws to shield gun owners from another invasion of their privacy. The editors were deluged with nasty calls and emails and angry visitors in the lobby. Their home addresses were published on hastily-erected protest websites. They ended up having to hire armed guards. Nice irony that. It became a lesson in what not to do.

I’ve always heard rumors that some baksheesh to an alderman or councilman will expedite a gun permit in New York, so I understand requesting the data if the reporters wanted to search for patterns or trends, to see if any public officials were lining their pockets by selling gun permits out the back door of their office. However, the reporters didn’t do that. They simply got the data and regurgitated it online, along with a bogus statement that their readers were “understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods.” So were the burglars, I’m sure.

Outing gun owners in New York State, or hardworking public servants on the Suncoast, is never the right thing to do. Senior editors at other newspapers watched the melee unfold in Westchester. I doubt it will be repeated anytime soon.

Fingers crossed.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


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  3. What circuitous logic. Burglars will be aided by knowing where gun owners live? That’s a stretch. Usually the argument is that owning a gun will help defend against burglars, etc. I would think burglars, if they used the data at all, would choose properties / owners who were not listed, since presumable they would not be armed. The fact that there were no mentioned incidents of citizens threatening or otherwise misusing the data vs. the outrageous acts of gun supporters who were willing to threaten the lives of the newspaper employees makes evident which side of the fence “law abiding” citizens reside. The rhetoric and actions of many gun advocates is truly worrisome… bombastic, threatening and worse.

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