Jindal signs bill criminalizing release of permits

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Despite criticism it would violate the First Amendment, Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday signed into law a bill that makes it a crime for journalists or anyone else to publicly identify concealed handgun permit holders or applicants.

Jindal championed the measure by Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City, as protecting “the privacy of law-abiding gun owners,” as he signed several gun rights’ bills in West Monroe as part of a summer statewide tour.

“We’re signing new laws relating to gun ownership and our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Jindal said in a written statement. “But we’re not just signing a few bills — we’re also celebrating the Sportsman’s Paradise and American values.”

Under the new law, it will be a misdemeanor crime to release or publish the names or addresses of permit owners or applicants, carrying a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine up $10,000.

Thompson has said the idea for the legislation came in response to an online map produced by a New York newspaper shortly after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting that included a list of gun owners and their addresses.

He said publishing such information would make the gun owners targets.

However, critics of the measure argued that the law violates First Amendment protections governing freedom of the press and prohibiting prior restraint to publishing factual information.

The law allows for the release of a permit holder’s name under certain conditions, such as with a court order or if the permit holder has been charged with a felony offense involving the use of a handgun, or if that person makes the information public.

Jindal also signed another Thompson bill that allows sheriffs to institute a concealed weapons permit reciprocity agreement with a contiguous parish. Before, local sheriffs could issue concealed weapons permits that allowed gun owners to carry only within the boundaries of the issuing parish.

The names of local concealed weapons permit owners also fall under the state’s confidentiality law and carry the same penalties for violating the publishing ban.

Other bills signed into law Wednesday will:

—Allow off-duty federal and state certified law enforcement officers to carry weapons on school campuses.

—Allow voter registration application forms to be distributed at certain retailers that sell firearms.

—Require court officials to report to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database adults who are prohibited from possessing a firearm because of their mental health or because they have been convicted of a felony involving a violent crime.

Last month, Jindal signed a bill that created lifetime concealed handgun permits in Louisiana.

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