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The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported yesterday that the Louisiana state Senate passed a bill, by a vote of 33-2, which would penalize journalists, bloggers or anyone else who publishes concealed-carry handgun permit information.
The bill could silence whistleblowers within the government who spot problems with the issuance of permits.
Under the legislation, penalties for publication would include a $10,000 fine, six months in jail, or both. Law enforcement officers who share such information knowing it would be published could be fined $500 and also spend six months in jail. (Times-Picayune)
As a national controversy erupts over freedom of the press, the state of Louisiana is proceeding with legislation that would penalize journalists and punish whistleblowers who publicize information about concealed-carry handgun permit holders. Readers may recall that a local newspaper in New York published a map last December, shortly after the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, indicating the location of gun owners in the area.
The bill has received significant push-back from journalists, including The Advocate Executive Editor Carl Redman and Louisiana Press Association Executive Director Pamela Mitchell. "I find it very ironic that the very people who screamed the loudest about attempts to limit their Second Amendment rights are here eager to limit my First Amendment rights," Redman said during a May 7 Senate committee hearing. (Times-Picayune)
The bill still needs approval in the state House, and Gov Bobby Jindal’s signature to become law.