Over the past several days, there has been a firestorm due to actions by the Bangor Daily News. I am here to say that I am supporting the Bangor Daily News because I believe they did nothing wrong. Do I agree with the decision the organization made on requesting the names and addresses of concealed permit holders? That’s not up to me to decide whether it was right or wrong. I personally think it was not the best decision in the world. I understand why they did what they did. I do not think I would have done the same. But I see no reason why the paper should be punished for making the requests.
The Bangor Daily News has recently been scrutinized for publishing an editorial in which the paper states that they would be requesting the names and addresses of the concealed gun permit holders from the police departments across the state. The request has now been rescinded. However, many people have called for a boycott of the paper in light of this. To them, I say, why? Why? Why are you boycotting a right guaranteed by the First Amendment?
The Bangor Daily News has every right to request this information from the police. It’s called the Freedom of Information Act. The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, allows journalists to recover information. In fact, the FOIA website states that ‘The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.’ Further, the First Amendment in the United States Constitution says that Americans are given the freedom of the press. Therefore, the paper has every right, not only to request the information, but to print whatever they see fit. The paper should not only write stories on what the readers deem worthy. That’s not journalism.
If a person fills out the paperwork for a concealed weapons permit, then that information is public record. It’s not the paper’s fault that the information can be obtained with the Freedom of Information Act. If you want to take it up with somebody, take it up with your local representative. But don’t blame the writers of the Bangor Daily News for doing their jobs.
The paper states that they had no plans to release the information found to the public. Why should we believe anything different? I haven’t seen the opposition give any tangible evidence that the paper had any other plans to use the concealed weapons information other than for the story they were writing. Again I say, the paper wanted to use the information regarding a story they were writing. It seems strange that a paper would be boycotted just because they were following the law. The people are demanding the paper be reprimanded for the request are practicing censorship.