Concealed handgun licenses are public records, court rules

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters must release the names of concealed handgun licensees from 2006 and 2007 to the Mail Tribune, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled today.

The appeals court has upheld a Jackson County Circuit Court ruling which determined that concealed handgun licenses are public records and are not exempt from disclosure unless the sheriff can prove each individual licensee is exempt from disclosure.

The Mail Tribune requested the list as a part of its reporting on a lawsuit by Shirley Katz, a South Medford High School teacher who sued the Medford School District in order to bring her handgun on campus. The newspaper wanted to find out how many other teachers in the county had concealed handgun licenses.

The sheriff argued that concealed handgun licenses are security measures that are exempt from mandatory disclosure and that releasing names would unreasonably invade the personal privacy of concealed handgun licensees.

The appeals court concluded that the sheriff failed to show each individual licensee was exempt from disclosure for security reasons, as required by law. The law requires that exemptions must be proven on an individual basis and with sufficient justification.

— Paris Achen

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