Mississippi (The Gaslamp Post) – A newspaper and blogger are upset that their open records request was denied and believe that it was intentionally delayed by Governor Phil Bryant’s office. The request for information on state gun permit holders occurred around the same time as the media circus surrounding the New York Journal News’ article, in which thousands of registered handgun permit holders names and addresses were published.
According to the Clarion-Ledger, the governor’s office instructed the state’s Department of Public Safety to delay the release of that information while legislation was making it’s way through state congress, which would make that information private. Until March 4, 2013, state gun permit holder’s information was a matter of public record.
The emails, obtained under a public records request, show Bryant staff counsel Jack Wilson on Jan. 26 wrote that the permits “are subject to the public records act” after they were requested by the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal newspaper of Tupelo. But he and other Bryant staffers suggested DPS should delay its response as long as possible, then deny the request as violating gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.
The department denied the request by the newspaper and another by a Jackson blogger for a list of concealed weapons permit holders.
During a Feb. 27 Senate hearing, comments by Bryant staffers and lawmakers suggested the supporters were trying to rush a public records exemption into law to keep the records from getting out. The exemption was backed by the National Rifle Association and lawmakers upset that a newspaper in New York published the names and addresses of people there who have handgun permits. Bryant, a Republican, signed the new law March 4.
The Daily Journal originally filed under the federal Freedom of Information Act and then was directed to file under state open records law. The second filing was made Feb. 28. It was denied within hours of the law being signed.