Associated Press Request for Montana Conceal Carry Permit Holder Information Denied
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox’s office recently denied a series of requests for information about Montana gun owners.
“Over the last couple of months we received requests for names, addresses, and other personal information for all concealed weapons holders in Montana,” said Attorney General’s Office Spokesman John Barnes. “One request came form the Associated Press here in the state and another came from an organization located in Boston, Massachusetts.”
The request out of Boston came from Muckrock News an organization that files Freedom of Information Act requests as a proxy for journalists.
According to the attorney general’s memo (linked here via the Flint Report) the decision not to distribute the concealed carry information was partially based on Attorney General Fox’s interpretation of the Montana constitution.
“By its very nature, this permit is designed to conceal something that decimation of the information would overturn,” Barnes said. “There’s a belief here at the Attorney General’s office that broad decimation of concealed permit information would unnecessarily invade the privacy of individuals and that would be in violation of the Montana constitution.”
A law passed by the 2013 Montana Legislature prevents broad disclosures of conceal carry permit information, but in this case, the issue was left up to the attorney general because the law does not take effect until October.