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Atlantic Wire: Local Paper Very, Very Sorry for Asking Questions About Guns

From the Atlantic Wire (2/25/13): The Cherokee Scout of Murphy, North Carolina, has printed an absolutely groveling apology to its readers and to the local sheriff for even asking the sheriff for public records of those with concealed carry gun permits. Publisher David Brown writes, "We never meant to offend the wonderful people of this community," in a letter noticed by media blogger Jim Romenesko. Again, this is discussing public records that, according to North Carolina law, the sheriff legally is legally required to make public. The editor who made the public records request was subsequently threatened on Facebook.

Last week Cherokee Scout editor Robert Horne asked sheriff Keith Lovin for a list of locals seeking concealed carry permits. Lovin ignored state law and denied the request. He also posted the letters on the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, a space that appears to be used primarily to post photos of good-looking locals involved in meth busts and robberies. Facebook commenters were furious. "Didn't they do this up north a couple of months ago. It was a fiasco," one commenter asked. (The answer is sort of: The Journal News, in suburban New York, published a map of locals licensed to own handguns.) The outcry was big enough to get covered by other local news outlets. Here's a Facebook comment that was likely exactly what Lovin was looking for: "Thank you Sheriff Lovin for your patriotism and high morale caliber! Will definitely be voting for you again!"

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Colin Donohue,
2/25/2013 5:42 PM