Louisiana Measure Expands Identity Protection for CHP Holders

Newspapers, journalists, bloggers or anyone who intentionally reveals personal concealed-carry handgun permit information to the public would be subject to substantial penalties under a bill passed last week by the Louisiana State Legislature.

HB 8 was approved 91-2 by the Louisiana House on June 5, and it subsequently passed the Senate 34-2 the following day. The bill was sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal on June 6, and his signature is expected, a Jindal spokesperson said.

Though Louisiana is already among the states that regard the identity of concealed handgun permit (CHP) holders as private information, HB 8 goes further, making the intentional disclosure of that information a misdemeanor. Penalties include a $ 10,000 fine and up to 6 months in jail, or both. Law enforcement personnel who share such private information could be fined $ 500 and also spend 6 months in jail.

Supporters, including primary sponsor Jeff R. Thompson (R-Dist. 8), say the bill was a response to online information released by the Journal News in White Plains, NY, earlier this year, which included a click-and-view map of gun-permit holders, their home addresses and locations.

Currently, a total of 43 states and the District of Columbia protect the identity of firearm owners and concealed-carry permit holders to varying degrees. In 2013, lawmakers in New York, Arkansas, Virginia, Maine and Mississippi have passed legislation protecting the privacy of gun owners. The New York measure included a provision exempting the names and addresses of permit holders from the Freedom of Information Act.

The seven states continuing to consider firearms licensing and ownership information as public are Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee and West Virginia.

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