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Proud, Safe Gun Owners Not Proud or Safe When Names Released

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Owning firearms is supposed to make you safe. Except when it doesn't.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's ruling last week that the names of the 1.3 million people with   Firearm Owners Identification cards (FOID) in the state be published has gun owners up in arms, pun intended.

The same groups that declare no one would put a sign in front of their home saying NO GUN now fear the opposite. They're no longer worried about their right to bear arms, they're worried about their right to bear arms anonymously. Their right to privacy .

Another Downtrodden Gun Owner by Martha Rosenberg

If the Illinois State Police release the names of FOID holders per Madigan's ruling which it has so far refused to do and which would not include FOID holders' addresses, phone numbers of photos, gun activists' fears include:

Fear that criminals will break in their houses and steal their weapons.

Fear that their jobs will be at risk thanks to anti-gun employers.

Fear that gun control groups will use the information to harass them.

And fear that they will be singled out and shamed in their communities.

"It's bad enough that private citizens are not allowed to defend themselves when they walk our dangerous streets," says Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson in preparation for a huge pro-gun rally in Springfield on Friday. "But now Attorney General Madigan willfully sets citizens up as targets for crime by releasing their personal information to anyone who asks for it."

Pro-gun Illinois politicians say the public has no right to the information, which the Illinois State Police have kept sealed for 40 years, and have introduced counter legislation to Madigan's.

But pro-disclosure activists say knowing whether a neighbor, daycare worker or the college kid sitting next your son or daughter is armed is very much their business!

Two years ago a similar flap occurred when the Memphis Commercial Appeal decided to publish a searchable base of state firearm permit holders, despite gun owner identity protection laws in states like Florida, Ohio and South Dakota that sealed names. The Appeal had found that 70 of 154 state permit holders had criminal records including Bernard Avery (arrested 25 times with a murder charge dismissed on mental competency) and Reginald Miller (a felon with 11 arrests). Who wouldn't want to know that? Even before Tucson?

But Chris Cox, then executive director of Illinois' NRA, wrote the newspaper and called the decision "dangerous" -- as if gun safety advocates and employers were armed instead of gun-owners . Hello?

In fact gun owners are so worried that Madigan's ruling will cause criminals to break in their homes and steal their weapons, you have to wonder if the weapons make them safe or unsafe . Maybe they need to buy more weapons to defend their weapons.

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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Here's something the criminals, rapists and other ... by zonie on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 12:55:15 PM
My family, friends, neighbors and co-workers know ... by Mike Kimball on Friday, Mar 11, 2011 at 7:50:02 PM
I don't own a gun, but if I did I would be up in a... by Ms Nan on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 2:19:17 PM
I can't help feeling that the entirety of this a... by John Sanchez Jr. on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 2:31:01 PM
The main right here being oppressed is PRIVACY. M... by Stuart Chisholm on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 5:02:41 PM
I really don't know where to start! The lunacy of ... by sbaker on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 6:58:30 PM
-- if those who want me identified will agree to p... by Deacon Solomon on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 9:22:19 PM
I would oppose the release of any information abou... by Doc McCoy on Tuesday, Mar 8, 2011 at 9:57:44 PM
This article is very misleading whic Mr. Sanchez a... by Maureen Gill on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 12:31:21 AM
there should be a list of criminals. Ultimately, ... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 12:40:49 AM
Maureen meant currently practicing criminals, not ... by Maxwell on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 3:16:43 PM
Well actually I'm very tolerant about people who h... by Maureen Gill on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 4:02:54 PM
Here's another thing: Also absurd is the idea a pa... by Maureen Gill on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 12:36:33 AM
Looks like the author touched a nerve. I'm amazed... by Perry Logan on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 5:42:49 AM
I would agree in part with your position. However... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 5:59:18 AM
I think perhaps Logan is a little "thin skinned" a... by sbaker on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 7:58:16 AM
I'm a far left liberal and very offended that anyo... by Maureen Gill on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 8:44:32 AM
Confiscate all computers, typewriters, terminals, ... by Mike Kimball on Friday, Mar 11, 2011 at 7:37:09 PM
Wow this idea is the common criminal's best friend... by Sonny Jagermann on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 11:18:02 AM
This article is demonstrative of the hypocritical ... by Nunya Bizness on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 12:41:16 PM
Just saw this and thought it was appropriate. Ho... by Nunya Bizness on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 12:53:33 PM
To attack your argument, if a list of concealed ca... by Daniel Baggerson on Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011 at 1:21:01 PM