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(left to right) Sen. Gary Plummer of the Criminal Justice Committee, Senate Republican Leader Mike Thibodeau, House Republican Leader Ken Fredette, Kennebec County Sheriff Randy Liberty, and Rep. Corey Wilson at a press conference in Rep. Fredette's office to address the BDN FOAA requests.
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For Immediate Release

Date: 02/15/13

House GOP Relieved by BDN's Decision, Threat Still Remains

Protection of Maine gun owners' privacy, safety now in hands of Democrats

AUGUSTA - House Republicans today were encouraged to see that in the face of outrage from the public and law enforcement officials, the Bangor Daily News (BDN) has decided to withdraw its Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requests, which would have required Maine law enforcement agencies to release the names, addresses, birthdates, and other information belonging to all concealed weapons permit holders in Maine.

However, an anonymous group called "Celebration Connect" has submitted similar, unsigned FOAA requests to an unknown number of police departments.

"I'm glad the BDN made the right decision and withdrew their request," said House Republican Leader Rep. Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "Unfortunately, this new, nameless organization has picked up where the BDN left off, reinforcing the need to enact privacy protections for concealed weapons permit holders in Maine as soon as possible."

Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta) submitted LD 345, which prompted the BDN's FOAA requests, to make information about concealed weapons permit holders confidential. Wilson was concerned that criminals could use the information to target gun owners' homes in order to steal firearms. He was also motivated by fundamental concerns of privacy and gun ownership protections.

Each of Wilson's 57 House Republican colleagues co-sponsored the bill, in addition to four Democratic state representatives and three Republican senators.

"We have made our opinion clear, the public and law enforcement have made their opinion clear, and now it's time to enact legislation to protect the privacy of law-abiding Mainers," said Rep. Fredette. "The ball is in the Democrats' court, and I urge them to give this bill their full support and not stall or delay it."

LD 345 is currently tabled in the Senate after being referred to the Judiciary Committee by the House on Tuesday. Assistant House Republican Leader Rep. Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton) agreed that the time to protect gun owners' privacy is now.

"We have seen dozens of bills infringing gun owners' rights so far this session, and it's about time we have one that supports our constitutional right to bear arms," said Willette. "Now more than ever, Maine needs LD 345."

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Contact:
David Sorensen, Communications Director
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793