Montana AG: Public records requests create “chilling effect”

From Mother Jones:  In March, Associated Press reporters sent the Montana Department of Justice a public records request for a copy of the state's database of concealed firearm permit holders. That's not especially unusual; the AP has requested such information from the state regularly over the years. But there was a hitch: In 2013, Montana's legislature passed a new law officially classifying concealed carry data as confidential. Tim Fox, the Republican attorney general, rejected the AP's request in mid-July—and then proceeded to notify every sheriff and county attorney in the state of what he had done.


The reporters who had requested the data found their personal information (including photos of their homes) posted on the Internet, along with thinly-veiled threats, prompting the wire service to file a complaint with the Helena Police Department. The fact that the AP never has and never planned to indiscriminately publish personal information about concealed carry holders in the first place was lost in the angry backlash.

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