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Committee holds hearing on concealed weapon privacy bill

Published On: Jan 30 2013 01:37:41 PM MST   Updated On: Jan 09 2013 03:12:22 PM MST
HELENA, Mont. -

Hearings for bills for the 2013 Legislative Session started Wednesday. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing about the privacy of applications for concealed weapon permits.

Proponents of Senate Bill (SB) 37 want information listed on concealed weapon permit applications to be confidential. The bill proposes that all information other than the applicant's name and address, be confidential criminal justice information; meaning it would be visible to law enforcement only.

The bill was drafted prior to an east coast newspaper publishing an online, interactive map showing names and addresses of all handgun permit-holders in New York's Westchester and Rockland counties. But the discussion and hearing of the bill comes after, giving the committee an example to work with.

A Montana National Rifle Association lobbyist spoke in favor of the confidentiality of the bill, but says he would be anxious to see the addresses exempt from disclosure as well.

"A battered or stalked woman should not be identified as having taken the necessary steps to defend herself," said NRA liaison Brian Judy. "Why should criminals, especially gun thieves be given a cheat sheet on where to go shopping for weapons."

No one spoke in opposition of the bill Wednesday. The proposal is an amendment to current law, which does not define what information can be disclosed.

The committee expects a bill similar to SB 37 to be presented in front of them too. They're waiting to take further action on until they see what, if anything, else comes across.

You can read the full text of SB 37 here.