Last week, Washington legislators introduced an NRA-backed bill to protect the private, personal information of Washington's concealed pistol license holders from public records requests. Senate Bill 6173, sponsored by Senator Dean Takko (D-19), and House Bill 2329, sponsored by Representative Jim Walsh (R-19), would add clarifying language to Washington’s existing Public Records Act to ensure that concealed pistol licenses, along with any supporting documentation, are exempt from public disclosure. This proposal remains consistent with the existing law's protection of records that contain individual, personal information- just as library cards and bus pass user information is also protected.
As previously reported, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is currently conducting a legal review of whether the private, personal information of Washington’s Concealed Pistol License holders is subject to public disclosure. Your NRA submitted comments to the Washington Attorney General’s office in support of protecting CPL holders’ information, and will be advocating for SB 6173/HB 2329 throughout the 2018 legislative session to ensure this private information is protected.
Currently, Washington’s Public Records Act (PRA) and carry licensing law exempts from public disclosure all concealed pistol license applications and the information on applications, except as needed by law enforcement or corrections. The legislative intent of this exemption, along with other constitutional privacy concerns, mandates that CPL licenses should be protected in the same manner as applications since they also contain personally identifying information such as names and addresses.
Washington State already protects a wide variety of personally identifying information regarding other participants in government services and programs – such as public utility customers, patrons of public libraries, transit pass users, ride-sharing program participants, and many others. The privacy interests of CPL holders logically and reasonably align with these other protected classes.
Even states with otherwise restrictive firearm laws such as Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York State protect licensee information from public disclosure, recognizing the public safety concerns of releasing this private information. In addition to releasing the confidential, personally identifying information of law-abiding permit holders who simply wish to protect themselves, this information, if publicly released, would likely include the names and addresses of current and former law enforcement, judges, undercover officers, private investigators, victims of domestic violence and individuals with no-contact order or orders of protection.
Please stay tuned to your email inbox and www.nraila.org for further updates on this issue and other measures impacting your Second Amendment rights in the Evergreen State.