The vote was 84-3 in the House today to close the records of concealed carry permit holders from the state Freedom of Information Act. You want bravery? The kind you can’t buy at a gunshop? The three who voted against the NRA and the unhinged blowback theirs can muster — Sabin, Whitaker and Williams. The vote completes legislative action. Gov. Mike Beebe has said he didn’t see the need for the bill, but against these numbers he’s not likely to veto.
Accountability, already scant (one employee, with occasional clerical temp help oversees this vast database of 130,000 permit holders) will become non-existent on enactment. People have gotten permits despite criminal records. Permit holders have committed criminal acts and not been flagged for loss of license. Sometimes, such cases have been caught because of public access to the list. No more.
A small consolation is the fact that the current list of 130,000 has been widely distributed to the public. If you want to see it, you can. But it grows by 5,000 and more a month when the NRA gets anti-Obama paranoia whipped up sufficiently.
There’s still time to get your own list. Just ask the State Police for it under the FOI. It’s contained in database form that may be e-mailed.