News station WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina has caused quite a bit of outrage among gun rights activists. Their website gives users the option of “Finding concealed carry permit holders in your area. CCW activists claim it is akin to making them appear as “sex offenders.”
The searchable box, located about halfway down the page, allows one to enter their street, city, county and zip code and find out who in their area has obtained a CCW permit.
David Knight, a concerned resident in North Carolina emailed Infowars.com:
“Although street numbers are not shown (yet), as they point out most of the carry permits are in rural areas. On my road for example, there are only 4 home sites. On many rural roads there are only 1 or 2 houses. This information has previously only been available by written request from the State Bureau of Investigation.”
Indeed, when activist group Grass Roots Norths Carolina (GRNC) complained to WRAL, the news station responded by erroneously claiming the data was publicly available, when in fact it can only be obtained via an application to the SBI.
Knight says the news station’s act of helping the public identify gun owners is an attempt to name and shame while suggesting that second amendment advocates “pose a potential threat akin to sex offenders.”
GRNC demanded that the search be removed from the site and an apology issued. If it was not, then the group also threatened to use its database of 60,000 gun owners to target WRAL’s advertisers for a boycott.
Their letter to WRAL read,
As our members have noted, WRAL-TV has engaged in the most irresponsible sort of journalism, potentially exposing concealed handgun permit-holders to criminal predation. Whether the information is available as public record (where it is only available if requested from the State Bureau of Investigation) is irrelevant. Even absent specific names, you have created a database searchable by location, including small streets on which it should be relatively easy to determine which homes contain firearms. We have now received dozens of complaints from gun-owning North Carolinians.
As you may be aware, Grass Roots North Carolina was the principal architect of our state’s concealed handgun law and improvements made since its inception in 1995. We have a longstanding policy of addressing this type of journalistic irresponsibility by using economic action. Accordingly, I strong advise WRAL to: (1) Remove the search link from its site immediately; and (2) Issue a public apology to North Carolina concealed handgun permit-holders.
If the information is not removed by the open of business on Friday (July 13, 2012), Grass Roots North Carolina will use its email alert network of nearly 60,000 gun owners to target selected WRAL advertisers with a message that gun owners will not buy from them until they terminate their advertising relationship with your station. We will then rotate from one advertiser to the next until the information is removed. I would suggest you contact your superiors and address the problem immediately.
F. Paul Valone
President, Grass Roots North Carolina
The station refuses to meet the demands of the group. Those in the Triangle area may want to consider linking up with GRNC.
The public has no business knowing who is carrying concealed and who is not. That sort of defeats the purpose in many ways, especially if a criminal should gain access to that information in order to commit a crime against a person who carries their weapon concealed. It is completely irresonsible of WRAL. If you agree, feel free to contact that station and voice your outrage.