Thursday, July 26, 2012

Column for July 26, 2012

Private businesses can do things that either endear themselves to you or drive you away from them.  I personally have a boycott on several local businesses because of their customer service, their political decisions, or the way they have treated me as a customer.  Recently, I found one business that just may get my business the next time I am in the market for a new automobile.

One large media outlet (that has a television broadcast channel position somewhere in between 4 and 6) thought that it would be a good idea to publish on their web site, a list of every concealed weapons permit holder in their viewing area.  Specifically, the permit holders are from “Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Nash, Northampton, Person, Sampson, Vance, Warren, Wayne, Wilson and Wake counties.”  For instance, I can tell you that there are four concealed carry weapon permit (CCW) holders on the street on which I live and 435 of them in my home town of Selma.

Keep in mind that the recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado just happened within the last week, so this data publication was worked and planned for a long time.  It was not just thrown together in response to the shooting as a call for gun control.  It was a well thought out project.  Grass Roots North Carolina, a state wide gun rights group took notice of this and alerted the thousands of North Carolina residents on their email list of the data release.  I saw this information from several sources, so I went and checked out the information.  In many cases, the data lists only the number of permit owners on a particular street.  In other instances, street addresses are actually given.

What does this mean to the public?  Although this is public information, this television station’s web site aggregates this data into one place for the entire area.  There are two ways of looking at it.  Either this list gives criminals a list of addresses at which they can potentially steal weapons, or it gives them a list of places to avoid since there is the potential of getting shot while breaking into a home.  Either way, it is, in my opinion, a breach of public trust and privacy for the purpose of attempting to push an anti-gun agenda.

One business has officially taken a stand on this television station’s action.  A large automotive dealership chain in the Triangle area has decided to exercise a boycott of its own.  Chris Leith has placed an official statement on the dealership’s public web site.  This is only a partial quote.  As you may be aware WRAL published an article that upset many of our customers and members of our community.  The people affected were those like me; strong believers in our US Constitution and our 2nd amendment rights…As for me and my company, I’m a concerned citizen and strong believer in our constitutional rights.  I have made contact with WRAL and I have instructed them to remove anything that bears the Chris Leith name.  At this point they have chosen not to pull the article and therefore I have severed ties with them.  I really hate that this situation has occurred and I hope my actions will speak louder than words. [sic]” 

Now that takes guts.  Normally I find some liberal weenie severing ties with and pulling advertising from a conservative media outlet or some talk show host over an off-handed comment.  However, this is a business decision to sever ties with a media outlet that has chosen to “out” gun owners, and specifically those who (like me) possess a concealed carry weapons permit.  Chris Leith has taken a stand that an attempt to expose gun ownership and specifically CCW permit holders is an unacceptable assault on both privacy and gun rights.  He has taken what is in my opinion, a courageous stand.  I appreciate that and will most likely reward him by shopping there first when I am looking for a new automobile.

For the record, it is my official opinion that nobody should not need to have a CCW permit to carry a handgun.  What part of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is so difficult to comprehend?  As famous author Robert Heinlein said, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”

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