Gun owners outraged about Commercial Appeal list

Published: Feb. 12, 2009 at 10:26 PM CST
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By Ben Watson - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Some Mid-South gun owners our outraged over a website that lists handgun carry permits, claiming the site gives away too much personal information.

Tom Givens, who runs the Range Master pistol range, said the database, published by the Commercial Appeal, has many of his clients upset.

"First, its an invasion of privacy," Givens said.

Using the database, a visitor to the website can look up the name of anyone who has a permit to carry a hand gun in the state of Tennessee.  Information listed includes the owner's year of birth, along with his or her city, state, and zip code of residence.

Givens said his phone has been ringing off the hook from clients upset about their personal information being so accessible.

"By publishing this database your employers, your co-workers, church members, even relatives that may not know you have a permit, now know that you've got one," he said.

The Commercial Appeal purchased the permit information from the Tennessee's Department of Safety.  Thursday, a department spokesman said his office has been flooded with angry calls and e-mails from permit owners.
In response to that criticism, the Department of Safety issued a statement that said the information is a matter of "public record" and Commercial Appeal is not breaking any laws by releasing the information.

However, the department spokesman added, he feels it's questionable for the Commercial Appeal to make the gun permit information available in the way the newspaper has.

A spokesperson for the Commercial Appeal has not yet commented for this story.