Guns

Illinois Strips Gun Owners of Privacy

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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan ruled on Monday that state police were required by law to release the names of everyone holding a Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card. Madigan, who we have to thank for the loose leashes on drug dogs, was responding to an Associated Press request for release of the names under Illinois' Freedom of Information Act,. The letter of that statute appears to be on her side. Arguments for such a step, though, are unconvincing. Providing one clue why the paper went bust, an unsigned editorial from the Chicago Sun-Times makes a particularly platitudinal case:

Carry a big gun and wear a big nametag

Licensed gun dealers and gun shows are not supposed to sell a gun to anyone who lacks a valid FOID, but who can say the system is working if all records are kept private?

We can't see how releasing just the names of the state's 1.3 million FOID holders poses much of a privacy risk, except perhaps for folks with truly unusual names. In a state as big as Illinois, a lot of people share the same name.

It's also true, we acknowledge, that this information is so scanty as to be of limited use in evaluating the effectiveness of the FOID program. But a bill, sponsored by Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), that would make all FOID information private moves in the wrong direction.

We're not looking to inconvenience legal gun owners, even mildly. But our first concern is to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.

A Wednesday AP story lists examples of similar lists being made public in other states, leading to flaws in the permit regime being publicized. No mention was made of any negative consequences from publishing lists of gun owners, although it does note that Florida and Tennessee have since passed laws explicitly banning the practice. Illinois Republicans are pushing legislation and organizing a petition drive.

Lee Williams of the Illinois Policy Institute notes that, even if only uniquely named gun owners are targeted, criminals do make a premium off reselling firearms and they will strike when people aren't home to defend themselves. Protecting the privacy of over a million citizens who signed up for a FOID to comply with law should trump the media desire to uncover a few abuses that might or might not have led to crime.

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  1. This is an example of how “reasonable regulation” of a right abuses the exerciser of that right.

    The paper just doesn’t care because it’s guns.

    If it was abortion, they would care.

    The courts have ruled that a right to obtain an abortion exists, but that right is subject to “reasonable regulation” like practitioner licensing, age limits, parental notification, etc.

    So does that mean we can treat the records maintained in the course of satisfying those “reasonable regulations” as public records, too?

    Could we require the registration of everyone who obtains an abortion, and then say, “Oopsie, that’s a public record now! Anyone who files a FOIA request gets the whole list!”

    1. The courts have ruled that a right to obtain an abortion exists, but that right is subject to “reasonable regulation” like practitioner licensing, age limits, parental notification, etc.

      So does that mean we can treat the records maintained in the course of satisfying those “reasonable regulations” as public records, too?

      No, because purchasing a handgun/firearm does not, in the eyes of the law, establish a doctor/patient relationship, thus one is not entitled to any expectation privacy. Just because you help pay for abortions at the state and federal level does not entitle you to know who is getting what procedure. The gun buyer/gun seller relationship is not regarded as sacrosanct like the doctor/patient relationship. Or even believer/clergy for that matter.

      Il. is simply saying, “Oh, yes, you can own a firearm, but we’re going to make it so damn diffcult to the point of absurdity that you won’t want to bother. But you still have that right!”

      1. Or, Shorter DNS: HIPAA doesn’t apply to guns (even though inquiring about how many firearms reside in a house and how they are stored is part of establishing a pediatric H&P).

      2. But if the state can require you to register your gun with the state, and have it not be considered a violation of your right, why couldn’t they require women who obtain abortions to register with the state, omitting their provider?

        Even if the registration was something as simple as age verification.

        It seems pretty plain to me that if we’re going to have laws making all state records public, then seemingly trivial “registration” requirements that to this point have not been seen as rights violations [by many people, that is; I’ve always seen them that way] can no longer be seen that way.

        A lot of “common sense regulation” out there relies on the gut sense people have that merely being required to fill out a registration form is not that big an imposition on the exercise of any given right – so registration requirements are not seen as a violation of that right.

        1. For that matter, why couldn’t they require everyone to register their religious beliefs with the state?

    2. It is necessary after all so that the Chicago Tribune can make sure that everyone is following the abortion laws.

  2. Protecting the privacy of over a million citizens who signed up for a FOID to comply with law should trump the media desire to uncover a few abuses that might or might not have led to crime.

    It’s not about uncovering abuses. It’s about harassing gun owners, because guns are icky, and stuff.

  3. Good thing privacy is not a right…otherwise we’d have to march on Springfield.

    1. Hey Homer,

      Join us in Springfield for IGOLD on 3-11-11.

  4. Not to mention the fact that, at the risk of sounding paranoid…

    you know who ELSE made lists of all the gun-owners?!?

    1. More to the point, he made lampshades of many who didn’t own guns.

    2. Pretty much every tyrant in modern history?

    3. Both correct.

  5. Illinois also looks to double-down on banning photos. In this case they would ban photos and “use of a wireless device” at accident scenes. The article’s author is suitably sympathetic to the state’s case….

    1. I can see this being used against people who take pictures for evidence in civil court. Even though that is not the intent, like child porn laws used to incriminate kids taking pictures of themselves, this will be used in ways they “did not intend.”

      1. I can’t think of any reason for the law to exist in the first place. Except maybe so that police can control what evidence gets out when they cause accidents.

      2. Ya think? It seems the debate is over whether this law is designed to give the state another tool to prevent recording public officials or if it is designed to prevent plaintiff’s lawyers from having additional evidence, or if it is the insurance companies who want to avoid accident-time photographic evidence in court.

        All three constituencies have considerable power in the legislature. I’m going with d.) all of the above.

    2. Ah yes, can you imagine if we had evidence of what happened at accident scenes? It’d be Somalia!

    3. So they are making the goal of bystanders to be as discreet as possible while taking pictures and to quickly forward them to friendly media outlets ASAP and then delete them. Got it.

  6. “criminals do make a premium off reselling firearms and they will strike when people aren’t home to defend themselves.”
    _
    not true if the guns are properly stored…which is another oft-neglected ownership responsibility.

    1. Unless you are going to require gun owners to build a bank vault in their houses, there is no amount of “properly securing” that will defeat a determined thief.

      1. another canard. that would be like 1% of thieves (since most arent pros) for whom a proper storage unit is no problem.

        1. Wouldn’t the “pros” be the ones likely to go to the trouble of going through the list of gun owners? I don’t think that your average junky or whatever is likely to give a burglary that much forethought and planning.

    2. Re: ZAPA,

      not true if the guns are properly stored

      What does “properly stored” mean to you?

      1. Probably means in a completely unusable state, which also makes guns useless for self defense.

    3. A “properly stored” gun is one that cannot be used in self-defense.

  7. ^this was moi^

    1. Not the exact comic I was looking for, but it gets the point off the same.
      http://inb4.im/4ch/vp/src/1287467659601.png

      1. That is teh awsum! I’m saving this…

    2. Fucking scroll-over-orange-name-to-see-email-address, how does it work?

  8. I don’t buy the theory that this puts someone in danger because criminals will know if you DON’T own a gun. I don’t buy the argument that it helps FOID in any way. The AP is just simply populated by a bunch of dickless pieces of shit. They hate other people that have dicks. They want to know who they are so they can hate them by name.

    1. They’re pussies, Chuck. Inch and a half away from assholes.

  9. >>”We can’t see how releasing just the names of the state’s 1.3 million FOID holders poses much of a privacy risk, except perhaps for folks with truly unusual names.”

    …who apparently then, for some arbitrary reason, are less entitled to privacy than John Jones.

    1. I totally should have spelled it like that, for anonymity’s sake. Damnit!

  10. All government documents are public. These documents, however, are unconstitutional. Just ignore unconstitutional requirements by the government and you don’t have to worry about your privacy.

    1. All government documents are public.

      This is very much an untrue statement.

      FOIA and state equivalent laws are defined more by the exemptions to the disclosure rule than by the disclosure rule itself.

      1. If you’ve ever tried to get documents from a government agency, you’d have a different view of how “public” those documents are.

        1. Like the ones that are kept in a locked file cabinet in a disused toilet in the basement of city hall that has a sign on the door reading “beware of the tiger”?

          At this point, documents should not be considered to be publicly available if they are not available to freely download.

          1. Prosser: But Mr. Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.
            Dent: Oh yes, well, as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything.
            Prosser: But the plans were on display…
            Dent: On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.
            Prosser: That’s the display department.
            Dent: With a flashlight.
            Prosser: Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.
            Dent: So had the stairs.
            Prosser: But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?
            Dent: Yes…yes I did. It was on display on the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.

            1. Well, I did pretty well pulling it out of memory.

      2. I don’t really give a shit about FOIA. The government’s business is our business. They just shouldn’t be conducting so much business.

  11. But our first concern is to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.

    Right. So you are going to provide them a list of addresses where they can pick one up for free. Just wait until the owners are not home.

    1. Yeah, it’s definitely bullshit. It’d be easier to just post the list of names of people who aren’t supposed to have guns. I mean, if they are convicted felons on parole they already have reduced privacy.

  12. Why do they need permission from the state to exercise their constitutional rights?
    I don’t need permission to speak freely or peacefully assemble, ergo I don’t need permission to bear arms.

    1. Except that’s a bogus argument because you can’t define a particular constitutional right by defining a different one.

      As many here are fond of often repeating, it hurts noone for a paranoid schizophrenic to have a deskjet printer at home or a stack of pamphlets in a crowd.

      I don’t see it as so terribly outragesous to have *some* kind of sensible regulation in place to make sure the Jared Loughners of the world aren’t strolling around with handguns – or at least doing what we reasonably can to make it as difficult as possible for people who shouldn’t have them to get them.

      To be clear, I’m a huge proponent of gun rights for law-abiding citizens – I’m an Endowment member of NRA (one level above Life), member of VCDL for years now, and member of GOA for years now also. I’m confident in my gun-owner cred. By the same token, I don’t see it as terribly outrageous that we do at least some kind of minimal check to make sure the guy who wants to buy the Glock Fawty hasn’t been adjudicated to be nutty as a fruitcake for threatening to kill every third person he sees wearing a yellow t-shirt.

      1. I don’t see it as terribly outrageous that we do at least some kind of minimal check to make sure the guy who wants to buy the Glock Fawty hasn’t been adjudicated to be nutty as a fruitcake for threatening to kill every third person he sees wearing a yellow t-shirt.

        You are assuming that the person buying the “Glock Fawty” is a law abiding citizen in the first place, purchasing the the weapon from a legitimate, accountable business. Even people with a screw loose are still capable of by-passing an impediment by exploiting the black market.

        1. You’re assuming they can find the black market, when most people are able to simply go through the white market.

      2. Except that’s a bogus argument because you can’t define a particular constitutional right by defining a different one.

        That’s ridiculous. Of course you can.

        The only reason anyone would argue that you can’t is because they don’t want their demands for additional state power to be tripped up by anything as simple as an analogy to another right.

        As I said above: if it doesn’t violate anyone’s right to require registration prior to exercise of that right – and if the records of such registration are public property and subject to FOIA – then we should require registration to get an abortion, to buy contraception, to join a political party, to get any prescription, etc. And then Bombs away! on FOIA.

      3. To be clear, I’m a huge proponent of gun rights for law-abiding citizens…

        No, you’re not. You can rattle off all the cred you want. Law-abiding citizens do not need permits. And criminals too dangerous to have guns are also too dangerous to have letter openers, steak knives, sling shots, rocks, and freedom. Put them in jail or leave them alone.

        1. +1. He is not.

      4. We already have such a check. It’s called the “are you in prison and/or a mental institution” check. Unfortunately we’ve undermined it by locking up a lot of non-violent, non-dangerous people, and failing to lock up a lot of violent dangerous people.

      5. “I don’t see it as terribly outrageous that we do at least some kind of minimal check . . .”

        A couple days ago, I dutifully filled out the 4473 required to buy my new H&K USP (in God’s own caliber, .45 ACP!). Obviously, if I’d ever been adjudicated mentally ill, addicted, a wife-beater, etc., I’d be denied the gun and likely brought up on charges as well. The guys who DO have all this stuff in their backgrounds, of course, aren’t going to go to the gun store to purchse their weapons.

        Much the same way crackheads don’t go to Walgreen’s to buy more crack.

      6. “To be clear, I’m a huge proponent of gun rights…”
        Nope.

  13. A couple years ago, the newspaper in Roanoke, VA (as I recall, it’s the Roanoke Times), which evidently if pretty left-leaning (shocker) published a list of all the concealed handgun permit holders in VA. It sparked a real shit-storm. The paper vowed to continue publishing the list.

    Finally somebody pointed out that they were genuinely fucking with some people’s lives and safety, because the list included people such as abused women who had escaped their abuser, only to find their name and address published in this newspaper. There were stories of women totally freaking out, packing up the kids and leaving out of fear the former abuser would find them.

    The list also included judges and prosecuting attorneys, etc. who had received death threats. Same concern.

    The paper finally said, in effect, “oh… jeez, we didn’t realize that. We pretty much were just trying to fuck with those NRA gun nuts. It never occurred to us that some people have a CHP for these kinds of reasons.”

    The VA General Assembly has been working on various bits of legislation to control the mass publishing of this info since then. Come to think of it, I don’t really know the status of the law on this issue.

    1. I believe an old fashion “tar and feathering” is in order for the editors of the Roanoke Times.

      1. I have never figured out why the Roanoke Times is so leftie. Not that they carry a lot of weight. The quality of the journalism is laughable. But, I think most of the people that get it are well to the right of its editorial position.

        Frankly, I was not aware that they had released my name. And I really don’t give a shit. I own many guns. I often, though not always, carry concealed. Come and get ’em boys!

        1. Why bother concealed? VA allows open carry.

          1. Open carry, while legal in many states, is still usually more of a hassle than it is worth unless you are trying to make a point. It’s stupid, but that’s how it is. In any but the most gun tolerant places, you are going to get hassled.

    2. I bet that went over well in Southwestern Virginia. I’m surprised a left wing paper could stay in business in that area.

    3. The paper finally said, in effect, “oh… jeez, we didn’t realize that. We pretty much were just trying to fuck with those NRA gun nuts. It never occurred to us that some people have a CHP for these kinds of reasons.”

      Eggs…omelettes.

    4. I carry because I realize that my personal safety and security is my responsibility, not the Government’s. The inconvenience of carrying a concealed firearm is summed up in Clint Smith’s statement: “Carrying a concealed handgun is supposed to be comforting, not comfortable.” That’s the truth in a nutshell.

      All the reasons for keeping lists of licensees on a need to know basis are quite correct. Security of the weapon (safes can be opened with cutting torches) and privacy of licensees (someone may truly be in danger if their name and address was published) are all good reasons for keeping license records under control.

      It’s also the best arguument to invoke the “…; the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” part of the Second Ammendment.

      1. If only SCOTUS new what infringed meant.

  14. Coverage I’ve been reading of this tends to say: Some people think this is a bad idea because it would let criminals know exactly where they could steal guns. Other opponents say it’s a bad idea because it will let criminals know which homes don’t have guns and thus are easier to break into. These silly gun folks can’t even get their story straight!

    Because it’s not like there could be multiple bad outcomes of shit or anything.

    1. It’s like not knowing, but assuming, Israel has nuclear weapons. You don’t know, so you have to assume they do.

      They so totally do have them, but that’s not the point.

    2. Yeah, that’s pretty silly. They really can’t see how both things could be true?

  15. How many personal details are released in this list? Is it just the first and last name?

    1. Details… name, address, DOB, SSN, eye color, weight, height, where you graduated from high school, where you went to college, your favorite food, your first love, how often you go to the bathroom, and if you floss.

      But it does not include your phone number.. that would be too intrusive.

      1. What they are talking about making public only includes first and last names, according to most coverage. They have lots more info than that of course from your application.

        Also, note that an FOID holder does not equal a gun owner. An FOID is pretty much a permit to buy a gun. Doesn’t mean at all that you actually bought one.

        1. Right, because you’d go through that intrusive an unconstitutional practice just to not buy a gun. I agree, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have guns, but seriously….

          1. Well, the lengthy process involved, e.g., in buying a handgun in Chicago, makes it a real if temporary situation.

            1. That is a fair point.

        2. I had a FOID card for years before I used it. It’s only $5 for 5 years. BTW, I agree it’s a ridiculous requirement, but the Illinois State Police do a very good job administering the program.

  16. So to summarize the Sun-Times editorial:

    Publicly identifying gun registrants will somehow keep guns out of the hands of bad guys, but don’t worry because names aren’t very good identifiers.

    Clearly critical thinking is not a required job skill.

  17. Nobody has a right to know whether an individual owns guns. And the “pragmatic” argument that knowing this will somehow prevent crazies from getting guns is a crock of shit.

  18. The list of FOIDs would also include the names of minors.

    I got my first FOID card in Illinois when I was age 10(If you go hunting, you need a FOID)

    This ruling was a kind of preemptive strike against gun owners in advance of the IRSA’s Gun Owner Lobby Day on March 10th. The last 4 or 5 years ISRA has been getting 5,000-10,000 people down to Springfield every spring. It really really annoys the leftists infesting the Capitol.

  19. We’re not looking to inconvenience legal gun owners, even mildly.

    BUT! Since we have determined there is no legitimate reason for any civilian to own a gun, we have defined “legal gun owner” out of existence.

    Let the inconveniencing commence!

  20. I don’t actually know what the motivation is for whoever filed the FOIA request (I’m going with “guns are icky,” of course), but this doesn’t even make any sense:
    Licensed gun dealers and gun shows are not supposed to sell a gun to anyone who lacks a valid FOID, but who can say the system is working if all records are kept private?

    Without records of sales, what does the FOID list even get you? All it is is a list of people who are legally permitted to purchase a gun. So it doesn’t even fulfill their BS reason. Pathetic.

    When I first heard about this the other day, my immediate thought was, “Imagine how up in arms people would be if they had to put their name on a publicly available list in order to exercise their right to free speech?” Then I realized that with campaign finance laws, most people are actually pretty chill with that.

    1. Dang, nicole, beat me too it.

  21. I’m one of those law abiding Chicago gun owners who actually jumped through these ridiculous hoops to get a practical home defense tool. I also, have a very unique name, and I really, REALLY don’t appreciate it being published. I also pay shitloads of taxes to fund this cocksuckery. Fuck this state, and the bullshit asshats that run it! I’m fucking moving.

  22. Now that I’ll be getting a FOID, I’m going to start donating heavily to the GOA and JPFO.

    I mean, I was going to already, but now I’ll make special extra donations in Lisa Madigan’s name.

    1. JPFO!!! Heck yeah!

    2. If you live in IL, it’s now easier to get a fake FOID card with a legit name on it.

      1. I didn’t of that. Heh heh heh.

    3. JPFO is an educational organization. Due to the nature of their tax status, they are prohibited from undertaking any form of lobbying.

      You’re better off donating to the NRA.

      If you’re one of the shitheads who refuses to acknowledge all of the good things the NRA has done, then donate to the 2nd Amendment Foundation. They aren’t a political organization, but they do all of their work within the court system, suing municipalities and governments that infringe on people’s rights.

      They were one of the big movers and shakers behind the Heller suit.

  23. Can I get a list of all driver’s licenses in the state, too?

    1. Can we get Barack Hussein Obama’s birth certificate, for God’s sake?

  24. Personally I think we should release the state tax records of the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board. How can we be sure that the voluntary tax compliance system is working unless their returns are made public? I’m not looking to inconvenience taxpayers, not in the slightest, but my first concern is to make sure that the system is working.

  25. Presumably that editorial was unsigned because the author has a truly unusual name and could be targeted.

  26. Here we are faced with an endless litany of the government abusing its authority over its citizens – whether it’s cops arresting people with cell phone cameras or tazering people to death or shooting grandmothers in mistaken drug raids or the CIA spying on Americans or Congress passing unconstitutional laws or local governments ignoring the bill of rights and on and on. Does anybody seriously think there is anyway out of this or anyway it is not only going to get worse. Nobody seriously thinks that do they?

    1. Whatever happens, just try to look surprised.

    2. I don’t.

  27. I’m pretty sure that Texas blocks the release of information from its CCW files.

    1. I NH it is all at the town level. Not sure what the policy is on releasing information, but anyone looking for that info would need to go to each town, one at a time, to get it.

    2. Didn’t used to. There was a procedure where anyone could apply to Texas DPS and find if an individual had a CHL.

      The legislature revoked the procedure. It’s just a concidence that they did it right after a newspaper published the names of all the legislators that had licenses.

  28. The Militia Act requires every one of milita age to have a flintlock or musket. If you are of that age, live in IL, and do not have your FOID, you are violating either federal or state law. Get with the progam folks.

  29. Criminals may “make a premium off reselling firearms” but targeting homes of known firearms owners is a good way to get shot.

    Here in Texas the castle doctrine has been extended to cars. While it was legal to drive around with a (loaded) (assault) rifle, anyway, it clarified the ambiguities about whether or not it was legal to have, say, a Sig P229 .40 cal automatic nestled in the crevice between the seat and the console.

    1. Sure, if the gun owner is home. They could simply wait until no one is home and then break in then.

  30. Not sure why I’m mentioning this, but Lisa Madigan is the daughter of the Chairman of the Illinois Democratic party, Michael Madigan, who also has been Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives since Reagan’s first term.

    IOW, she was being groomed to run for office since she was a zygote.

  31. If there’s a list being published for all rapists, burglars and murderers to know which homes are unprotected please make sure my name is on there as owning a gun, in fact several guns… THANK YOU!!!

  32. They just telling the criminals which house to break in to without getting hurt.

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