Gun owners' privacy now protected by law

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - There's one less item on the list when it comes to what is public record in Mississippi. That's thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant. People who have a gun permit for a concealed weapon, along with information about where they live, is no longer for the public eye.

"The idea that we would produce your name and perhaps other personal information about you is something we're going to remove," Bryant said.

Bryant put his name on the legislation late Monday afternoon, saying allowing the information to be public violates the privacy of gun owners.

"It seems to be an attack on honest gun owners going on across this country," Bryant said.

The bill comes after a newspaper in New York published the names and addresses of people who have concealed weapons permits. It got overwhelming support in both chambers and includes an amendment that the information be turned over only through a court order.

As the bill made its way through the capitol, opponents were concerned it could become a slippery slope in removing transparency from state government. Bryant says that's not the case.

"We don't want criminals knowing where the guns are kept, who has them and where their home is and secondly, I think it puts a chilling effect on anyone that might want to go and get a concealed carry permit, thereby violating their second amendment rights to keep and bear arms," Bryant said.

Currently there are two pending public records requests seeking the information the law now blocks. The Department of Public Safety has yet to honor either one, essentially delaying the decision until the law took hold. Bryant says those types of requests are concerning and should be denied.

"It's a very slippery slope to start releasing detailed, specific information about American citizens," Bryant said.

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