A Maine newspaper has dropped its request to get the names of every concealed weapons permit holder in the state after backlash from Republican lawmakers and the public.
Milo Police Chief Damien Pickel trumpeted the newspaper’s decision to back down, calling it “a great day.” Pickel had taken to the police department’s Facebook page on Thursday to warn residents that he had been asked to turn over the names of permit holders. While he was opposed to releasing the information, he said he was bound by law to do so and urged residents to contact their local representatives.
Pickel, who was a New York police officer and detective for 20 years before becoming Milo’s police chief in 2011, said he was particularly concerned that publicizing permit information could identify domestic violence survivors who carry concealed weapons for their own protection.
“You’re putting them right back out there on the forefront, you’re putting a target on those people,” he said. “Part of my job as the chief or just as a police officer is to protect the public, and I believe that this information serves no news value whatsoever. It’s not newsworthy. If anything it’s creating news, it’s really endangering lives.”
Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage also praised the newspaper’s decision to stand down on Friday. He had previously tweeted a photo of himself holding his own concealed-carry permit with the caption: “If newspapers want to know who has concealed weapons permits, they should know I do.”