To date, the paper has not published the letter or returned phone calls that we left for them. As a result, we are posting this letter.
Your decision to publicize the personal information of Right-to-Carry permit holders in Tennessee is unjustifiable, disgraceful, and dangerous. Your “public has the right to know” reason is unconvincing when compared to the compelling life and death reasons to which many law abiding Tennesseeans apply for these permits. By publicizing this information, you have endangered the lives of judges whose life has been threatened by criminals, the businessman who makes daily trips to the bank to deposit his earnings, and the woman with a restraining order against an abusive ex or a stalker.
Right-to-carry permit holders submit to scrutiny by law enforcement before they obtain their permits. Some have been advised by law enforcement to get a permit to ensure their personal safety and that of their loved ones. One vital point in having a concealed carry permit is that the firearm and the identity of the permit holder remain concealed. The late Charlton Heston fittingly observed that the essence of Right-to-Carry is that in a world where wolves cannot distinguish between lions and lambs, the whole flock is safer. Your complete lack of discretion has empowered criminals and made the law-abiding vulnerable. To the reasonable and rational, personal safety trumps voyeuristic curiosity every time. Your actions speak volumes as to who you are.
Chris W. Cox is executive director National Rifle Association - Institute for Legislative Action in Fairfax, VA. He grew up in Jackson, TN and is a graduate of Rhodes College.