Should handgun carry permit records be open to the public?

Should handgun carry permit records be open to the public?

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A bill filed by State Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, would make the list of people with handgun carry permits off limits to the media and the general public. A bill filed by State Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, would make the list of people with handgun carry permits off limits to the media and the general public.
"I don't care if someone knows I have one. It makes me feel safer that they know I have something," said Robert Hickey. "I don't care if someone knows I have one. It makes me feel safer that they know I have something," said Robert Hickey.
"It's not something that needs to be public record. People have carried guns for years," said Tim Jones. "It's not something that needs to be public record. People have carried guns for years," said Tim Jones.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – There is a debate among Tennessee gun owners. Should information about your handgun carry permit be available to the public?

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says carry permit records should be open to anyone. He is one of the top gun rights advocates in the Tennessee General Assembly, but he is going against the National Rifle Association on this issue.

A bill filed by State Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, would make the list of people with handgun carry permits off limits to the media and the general public.

The NRA says making the records public is a bad idea.

More than 390,000 people have handgun carry permits in Tennessee. That's up more than 120,000 from just three years ago.

6 News interviewed several Knoxville-based carry permit holders. They have strong opinions.

"I don't care if someone knows I have one. It makes me feel safer that they know I have something," said Robert Hickey, who is for open carry permit records.

"It's not something that needs to be public record. People have carried guns for years," said Tim Jones, with the opposite opinion.

"Having the handgun carry records open actually helps the cause of the Second Amendment. People can go look at those and realize that they truly are law-abiding citizens," Ramsey said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Those opposed to his idea say it's a total violation of privacy.

"I don't mind law enforcement having it. But I think this is a privacy issue. I would like to keep this between myself and law enforcement," Jones said.

"'I don't think it's anybody's business," said Kim Hamburg, who is also opposed to open carry permit records.

Gun owners who side with Ramsey tell us the information being public makes them feel safer.

"I believe it's great. You're carrying a gun. People know you're carrying a gun. I have no problem with that," Hickey said.

Ramsey said he is in favor of not publishing or mass producing this list. However, he does feel the records need to be open for community safety.

Gov. Bill Haslam says he has not decided yet if he in favor of the bill to take gun carry permit records out of public view.

"I've always felt like that was something that's better to keep private, like a lot of other personal information," Gov. Haslam said. "But it's not something we've actually come to a full position on."

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