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Gun permit holders: Want your name withheld?
By Hasso Hering
Albany Democrat-Herald Holders of concealed-carry gun permits in Linn County will soon get a letter asking them if they want their names withheld in case someone makes a public-records request.
Sheriff Tim Mueller made that announcement today after a staff meeting.
As of today, 4,365 Linn County residents had such permits. The letter will ask them to fill out and return a form if they obtained the permits for reasons of personal safety, and if they return it, their names will not be subject to disclosure.
Mueller said Linn had the third-highest percentage of permit holders behind Jackson and Douglas counties.
Volunteers will handle the mailing, Mueller said, to keep the cost at about $2,000. The letters are to go out this week.
The issue should information on carry permits be public under Oregons public-records law? came up in a court case in Jackson County.
Mueller said he has had no request for the information, but the Oregon Sheriffs Association discussed the issue during its October meeting. The sheriffs maintain that if a gun permit is taken out for reasons of personal safety, it is exempt from disclosure.
In Benton County, about 2,000 residents have the permits.
Last spring, Benton County received a request from a Portland law firm asking for copies of the permits. Sheriff Diana Simpson says the county told them it would cost them 25 cents a page plus the pay of the clerk handling the request, and the firm sent a check for $1,055.
So far, though, Simpson said none of the information has been provided. First, personal information such as birth dates and Social Security numbers on each form has to be redacted or blacked out. The requesters eventually would get only names and addresses, she said.
In the meantime, though, she has announced that no personal information on a permit would be released without a court order if the person got the permit for personal protection.
Today she explained that people may download the permit application form from the countys website, check a box saying they got the permit for reasons of personal safety, and then mail it or drop it by the sheriffs office in Corvallis. As in Linn, theres no fee.
Simpson said theres no deadline but permit holders should do this as soon as possible. She guessed it will take at least another month before the office gets through all the permits in response to the records request.