A national newspaper chain with nearly 100 publications and 1.6 million readers is considering building “state-by-state databases” on concealed weapons permit holders, according to an internal e-mail.
The plan, laid out in an email from a top editor at North Carolina-based Civitas Media, could be similar to a controversial project a New York state newspaper carried out in 2012 which included an online map that identified gun owners in two counties by name and address. Civitas’ database project was detailed the plan in a Jan. 19 e-mail to newsrooms in 11 states, including Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The newest project “examines the explosion of ‘conceal and carry’ gun permits across the U.S.,” wrote Jim Lawitz, Civitas’ director of content, in an e-mail first obtained by the Buckeye Firearms Association. “Through public records act requests, we will attempt to build state-by-state databases that list those who have the right to carry a concealed weapon.”
Lawitz downplayed the email when reached early Friday by FoxNews.com.
“In news organizations, a variety of ideas routinely are discussed, researched and planned, which may or may not result in published work,” Lawitz said. “Typically we do not publicly comment on internal proprietary communication. However, we have no plans to publish any lists or databases of people’s names on conceal and carry.”
Lawitz declined further comment.
Civitas Media, according to its website, employs more than 1,400 people and publishes 35 daily and 63 weekly publications for a combined circulation of more than 1.6 million.
Chad Baus, secretary of the Buckeye Firearms Association, told FoxNews.com he received the email from a confidential source within the company who was “concerned” about the media group’s plans. Whatever the intention behind the proposed databases, Baus said he wants the effort stopped.
“The goal is to raise awareness because each and every time a newspaper organization does this type of thing, the public reacts very strongly to it,” Baus said. “And yes, we do want it stopped. They’re saying they’re not going to publish the list, but once the list is compiled, what are they going to do with it?”
The database, if indeed created according to the internal email obtained by Baus, would be used to further “demonize gun owners,” he said.
“There’s no other purpose for creating these lists but to target and victimize gun owners,” Baus told FoxNews.com.