Sheriff issues reassurance on gun carriers' privacy
Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held said rarely a day has passed in the last month when he or one of the deputies has not been asked whether concealed firearm carry permit information is a public record.
The questions have become so numerous that on Wednesday Held issued a news release reiterating Pennsylvania state law, which requires such information to be kept confidential.
“Whether it's people stopping me outside the office, the numerous telephone calls we've received here or deputies being stopped and asked, I thought I'd get the information out there to assure people,” Held said.
The inquiries began after The Westchester Journal News on Dec. 22 published a map with the names and addresses of firearms owners from Westchester and Rockland counties in the wake of a mass shooting at a school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead.
“I would like to make perfectly clear that neither myself nor anyone in my office will release this information,” Held said.
Held said his staff and he have received “dozens” of inquiries.
Held noted that Pennsylvania state law regarding firearm ownership mandates that such permit application information remain confidential.
Any local governmental agency or department that violates the law is liable for at least $1,000 per occurrence, or three times the actual damages that may have been incurred as a result of the violation, according to state code.
Held said he feels that releasing the information would violate the privacy of the citizens who are “simply obeying the law by applying to obtain a permit to carry concealed firearms.”
Releasing such information could assist “any criminals that might be looking to steal firearms,” Held said.
In 2012, the sheriff's office issued more than 12,500 permits, about 4,300 more than the year before.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 1 dead, 1 injured in Westmoreland crash
- Stewartsville principal’s comments taken out of context, district claims
- Southmoreland High School junior’s broken jaw ‘could have been avoided’
- Former Pagans leader works out plea agreement
- Woman charged with assault spree in Jeannette
- Jeannette purse-snatching suspects to stand trial in 5 incidents
- 2 suspects charged with second robbery in Hempfield
- Jeannette pleads for more state help
- Treatment ponds for mine drainage planned for Unity
- Donegal Township families fight driller to get clean water
- North Huntingdon man struck by car, killed near Yough High School