Final Vote 129 to 11 in the positive. I voted to support the final bill with the Senate amendment. More analysis on my vote to come.
For Immediate Release
February 19, 2013
Contact: Ann Kim [McCabe, Hobbins], 287-1430, cell 233-1838
HOUSE PASSES BIPARTISAN MEASURE TO TEMPORARILY SHIELD CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT RECORDS
AUGUSTA – The Maine House on Tuesday voted 129-11 in support of an emergency measure to temporarily keep confidential the names of Mainers with concealed carry firearm permits.
The emergency measure, introduced by Governor Paul LePage, sunsets on April 30, and allows lawmakers to consider this matter and others pertaining to privacy and firearms.
“Today’s vote gives lawmakers breathing room to have a deliberate and thorough conversation about privacy and firearms without the pressure of a media and political storm,” said Assistant House Leader Rep. McCabe, D-Skowhegan, who cosponsored the measure with Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash.
Jackson and McCabe worked with the governor and legislative Republicans on the temporary exemption in response to two requests for the records. Late last year, a newspaper in New York published the names of concealed carry permit holders, causing a public uproar and backlash aimed at those on the list and the publishers.
McCabe said there’s a need to strike the right balance between the public’s right to know and sensitive, identifying information. He noted that permit holders are law-abiding citizens and include victims of domestic violence and former or current law enforcement officials.
"I'm glad that Democrats and Republicans were able to come together to provide some breathing room around this highly sensitive issue. The temporary shield will allow us to thoroughly and carefully evaluate all facets of this complex matter. We'll now have the ability to give the measure the time it deserves,” McCabe said.
While the Maine media outlet maintained it did not plan to publish wholesale identifying information about permit holders and later rescinded its Freedom of Access Act requests, an unknown entity whose plans were not disclosed, filed its own request for the records, underscoring the need for dialogue about whether the information should be shielded.
House Republicans held a press conference Thursday calling for the fast-tracking without a public hearing of the measure, LD 345, An Act to Ensure the Confidentiality of Concealed Weapons Permit Holder Information. LD 345 would permanently make the records confidential.
Rep. Barry Hobbins, a former chairman of the Right to Know Advisory Committee, said the moratorium allows lawmakers to give that measure a full and thorough review consistent with the spirit of Maine's Right to Know law.
“This temporary moratorium serves as a safety valve to diffuse a highly charged environment that could have led to the bill's enactment without a full public hearing and opportunity for the many stakeholders to weigh in," said Hobbins, D-Saco.
LD 345, the proposed permanent exemption for the records, will be heard before the Judiciary Committee, which oversees right to know issues.