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Georgia gun owners may become target of these local newspapers

Newspaper chain talks of creating a 'conceal and carry' gun database.
Newspaper chain talks of creating a 'conceal and carry' gun database.

Georgians who own a gun could face their name and address being revealed in local newspapers like the Thomaston Times and the LaGrange Daily News based upon a Jan. 24 Fox News report.

According to Fox, Civitas Media, which owns nearly 100 publications, including the two in Georgia mentioned earlier, could now follow in the footsteps of the New York state newspaper Journal News, who did the same thing in 2012.

An internal company email by a top editor within the newspaper chain revealed the desire within the organization to start gathering gun owner data state-by-state, for a complete national database of owners. But Civitas Media Pres. and CEO Michael Bush issued this statement Friday afternoon about the proposed gun owner database:

...A poorly crafted internal memo meant to highlight editorial discussions and planning incorrectly indicated that such a database was being planned; it has been considered and rejected," Michael Bush said.

Earlier the company's content editor, Jim Lawitz, who would normally oversee such an editorial project, downplayed the email, too, stating that, "In news organizations, a variety of ideas routinely are discussed." But the Buckeye Firearms Association, who was the first group to get a copy of the internal Civitas Media email, are skeptic and believe that if gun owners do not make it clear they will not tolerate an invasion of their privacy by newspapers like Civitas Media and Journal News, then these media outlets may actually create and publish such a list.

Public record act requests would have to be made by the news media outlets for every jurisdiction in the nation for a state-by-state database to be compiled. And it is unlikely that someone within local government would not question why a news agency was requesting to know the names and addresses of gun owners in their state after the Journal News drew such ire from disclosing that data following the Newtown shooting.

For now Civitas Media CEO Michael Bush insists that the media company "never had any plans or intentions of publishing in print or online lists of holders of "conceal and carry" permits. And further, he promises no such database will be developed. But more importantly, why was it the topic of conversation to begin with?

Atlanta Top News Examiner Radell Smith has a degree in criminal justice and behavioral forensics.

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