The discussion over whether or not to release the names of concealed weapons permit holders has proved fertile ground for debate over the issues of privacy, public safety and gun owners' rights. However, much of that debate has been strongly colored by hyperbole, particularly from the pro-gun lobby that would like to paint gun owners as victims.
It's understandable that gun owners don't want their names published in the newspaper. However, no one is threatening to do that. The reality is quite the opposite. Thanks to the proactive sheriffs around the state, just a fraction of the concealed-gun records remain available as more and more gun owners take advantage of a "personal safety" exemption. But gun owners want more, total secrecy, in fact, under a bill that is likely to be introduced in Salem next month. But don't expect a debate on the facts and statistics of concealed handguns and safety. Oregon Firearms Federation's
Kevin Starrett got the handgun hyperbole machine cranked up for The Bulletin
, telling the paper this week that without a new law license holders have a "big bull's eye on their back." Say what? Seriously Kevin, take off the shooting glasses for a minute and look at which one of us is holding a pen and which one is fingering a trigger.