What are the risks of making any sort of “ownership database” publicly accessible?
Setting aside the emotional pros and cons of gun control, consider how the issuing of a concealed carry permit affects private citizens, or the potential risks involved in a publicly accessible gun ownership database.
California: No permit. No gun.
Carrying a loaded firearm in California public areas of incorporated and certain unincorporated areas without a concealed carry permit is illegal.
A concealed weapon permit applicant must:
- Live in the city or county
- Be of “good moral character”
- Have “good cause” for the license
Five San Diego residents sued the county sheriff after their applications were rejected due to lack of a “good cause” for a concealed carry permit. A three-judge panel found the permitting process unconstitutional, but the process was ultimately upheld as constitutional when reheard by the full 9th Circuit panel.
Complaining of a near-total refusal of some counties to issue carry permits due to lack of “good cause,” the plaintiffs noted that permits are only granted for very rare and specific circumstances. For example, only 138 women within San Diego County’s 3.1 million population have a Concealed Carry Weapon.
This brings to question, what is “good cause?” Who decides? What is the objective criteria? Is there an appeal? Can the result of a subjective process effectively create a ban?
Hawaii: Gun owners, who has access to your data?
Owners of Hawaii firearms required to register with their county police departments will now be enrolled in the FBI “Rap Back” system, a criminal record monitoring service. New legislation allows county police departments in Hawaii to evaluate whether or not the firearm owner may continue to legally possess and own firearms after notification of the owner’s arrest for a criminal offense anywhere in the country. The law also authorizes the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center to access firearm registration data.
What should be the objective criteria for maintaining any database containing a list of private citizens? What are the practical implications of making such a list available to the public?
Tilting the Scales in Your Favor.
The regulatory legislation placed on gun owners is interesting to consider, when applied to less emotionally charged topics:
Would there be push back if American Airlines was required to report to law enforcement those who flew to Las Vegas more than every 30 days?
What about having to permit your cell phone with GPS service that could not be disabled?
If there is any conduct requiring a permit or license—health, barber, medical, law, pilot or otherwise—what is the risk to private citizens if the permitting authority has the subjective authority to assess “good cause” or “good moral character”? Are there other permits or regulatory authorizations that can be denied for failure of the applicant to satisfy a governmental official that there is “good cause” for the permit?