Newspapers across the state have been requesting that local sheriffs release information about the identity of individuals who have been issued Concealed Handgun Licenses within their respecive counties.
Earlier this year, after the Jackson County Sheriff refused a request for similar information from the Medford Mail Tribune, a circuit court in Jackson County ruled that individuals who apply for or have been issued CHLs must document that the license is for personal security reasons in order to be exempt from state public records disclosure laws. The Portland Oregonian reported last week that in response to this ruling and subsequent requests for information, the Washington County Sherifff's Office has decided to mail letters to the tens of thousands of individuals who have been issued CHLs by the county, asking them if they obtained their license for personal security reasons and whether they want their information released as part of a public records request. CHLs in Washington County also have the option of answering these questions by visiting the sheriff's office website at http://washtech.co.washington.or.us/handgunholder/.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office should be commended for recognizing the importance of keeping a personal security decision to obtain a CHL private -- and for developing a mechanism that complies with the court's ruling, but still gives CHLs a choice in the matter. We've also received information that the Coos County Sheriff has done the same for his CHL holders, so bravo to him as well.
Members are urged to contact their county sheriff and ask him or her to devise a way to accommodate CHL holders and their privacy concerns as the Washington and Coos County Sheriffs' Offices has done. You can find contact information for your county sheriff's office by visiting http://www.oregonsheriffs.org/.