A belated but heartfelt thank you to the handful of Republican legislators who stood up for the privacy rights of citizens exercising their Constitutionally protected freedom under the Bill of Rights.  The Assembly Republican Press Office takes up their story:


Legislation prohibiting the public release of the identities of firearms purchaser identification card holders and handgun purchaser permit holders was signed into law today by Gov. Christie. Prior to the bill signing, access to such personal information was prohibited by regulation, but could have been obtained under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Law (OPRA).

The bill, A-3788, sponsored by Assembly Republicans Ron Dancer, Anthony M. Bucco, Alison McHose and Jay Webber, prohibits such access as it codifies the regulation established by the state Attorney General.

“The new law has nothing to do with gun control, but with protecting law-abiding citizens and ensuring their safety,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Burlington, Middlesex and Monmouth. “It is quite possible that citizens can be targeted by thieves, as could victims of domestic violence who possess a firearm to defend themselves. This law removes the legal ambiguity in the current regulation and respect that releasing such information must have a legitimate purpose.”

The bill also exempts personal identifying information submitted to obtain a license to hunt with a firearm from the Open Public Records Act.

“The bipartisan and overwhelming legislative support for this bill recognizes the value we place on personal and privileged information,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “Law-abiding citizens, especially victims of domestic violence or abuse, will now be afforded the safeguards they deserve. They should not be exposed to the risk of further danger or harassment by their abusers. Protecting the public should always be our number one goal.”

“Citizens who have legally obtained a permit to own a gun
should have their right to privacy respected,” said McHose, R- Sussex, Warren
and Morris. “Releasing this kind of information without a legitimate purpose
has the real possibility of putting innocent, law-abiding people in harms way
and makes them vulnerable. Making this personal information accessible to
anyone besides those involved in law enforcement is an invitation to those with
a criminal intent.”

“Citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights deserve to be protected from harassment and snooping,” said Webber, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “Just because gun owners take affirmative steps to ensure their own safety and security doesn’t mean they give up their right to privacy. The new law protects that privacy, and I am proud to be one of its sponsors.”

The impetus for the bill occurred in the aftermath of December’s tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, when a Rockland County newspaper published a story that included a map listing the names and addresses of people who have pistol permits. The information was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. A week after the story ran, the Rockland County sheriff held a news conference to discuss how inmates were approaching law enforcement officers telling them they knew where they lived.


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