After creating a firestorm by requesting the private information of Maine's concealed weapon permit holders, the Bangor Daily News has rescinded their request. "We have informed the agencies who received our request to disregard it. We've informed the agencies who have responded that their records will be destroyed," said BDN staffer Anthony Ronzio in an editors note posted on the paper's website this morning.
The BDN came under fire from Maine Republicans, including Governor Paul LePage, and organizations like the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine who said the request unnecessarily harassed law abiding gun owners.
The BDN request came on the heels of Augusta Republican Corey Wilson's bill that would make that information private. Wilson said he proposed the bill after a New York newspaper published the names and addresses of concealed weapons permit holders in that state. Wilson said police in New York arrested a man carrying the newspaper's list around and burglarizing those houses.
Hundreds of WABI viewers and BDN readers posted comments on website stories threatening to boycott the newspaper if the request wasn't rescinded.
In a statement released by the BDN Thursday, the newspaper tried defending their request saying they never intended to publish the names of Maine's concealed weapons permit holders. "The BDN requested the records of concealed weapons permits as part of long-term reporting projects on domestic violence, sexual assault and drug abuse," Thursday's statement read. "The BDN has never had any intention to release identifying information about permit holders, and said so in our request. We recognize how sensitive this information is, and made sure police agencies knew of this intent."
In the statement released today, the BDN took a shot at those who created the public outcry. "Unfortunately, these conversations have been trumped by rampant misinformation about our request, as well as swift political opportunism. It's clear that as a state, and as a nation, we still have much to do to generate light in this debate, instead of heat," the statement read.
Bangor Daily News Under Siege After Requesting Gun Owners Private Information