Legislative Document 576, temporary emergency Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) confidentiality legislation, was enacted in Augusta today. LD 576, sponsored by state Senator Troy Jackson (D-35), passed overwhelmingly by a 33-0 vote in the state Senate and by a 129-11 vote in the state House of Representatives. Shortly thereafter, Governor Paul LePage (R) signed LD 576 into law, effectively granting immediate privacy protection for all CHP holders. This measure is effective until April 30, 2013.
This emergency legislation, requested by Governor LePage, is a vital step towards ensuring the protection and safety of law-abiding gun owners given recent Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requests by the Bangor Daily News and other unspecified outlets to obtain personal information—including the names, addresses and birthdates—of all CHP holders in Maine. This law affords Mainers the same protections that residents in 31 states already enjoy due to Right-to-Carry confidentiality laws in place.
LD 576 will provide temporary privacy protection for CHP holders while the state legislature works on a permanent solution to this problem—Legislative Document 345. LD 345, introduced by state Representative Corey Wilson (R-56), would permanently protect the confidentiality of all CHP holders in Maine. This legislation has garnered wide bi-partisan support and currently has 61 cosponsors.
Today’s legislative victory is especially important given several recent instances nationally of anti-gun media outlets publishing the names and addresses of CHP holders. Such publications place law-abiding gun owners at risk and jeopardize the safety of all Mainers by creating a map for criminals who may target the residences of CHP holders to steal firearms. The passage of LD 576 today and the future passage of LD 345 will ensure that this egregious violation of privacy and threat to society never happens in Maine.