Judge: Concealed weapon list is public information

The Mail Tribune is entitled to a copy of the list of all concealed weapon permits issued in Jackson County the newspaper sought from Sheriff Mike Winters, according to an opinion issued today by Jackson County Judge J. Philip Arnold.

The newspaper asked for the list of license holders eight months ago as part of an investigation into news that a South Medford High School teacher had such a permit and wanted to carry her gun at school. Teacher Shirley Katz sued the Medford School District over a policy prohibiting employees from taking weapons on campus, then appealed when the policy was found valid.

Winters asserted the documents were exempt from public view because they could compromise security and contained personal information, including names and addresses.

None of the permit holders, however, had challenged the newspaper's right to obtain the public records based on privacy issues, and state law favors disclosure of public records, Arnold stated.

He also pointed out that the permit application required applicants to attest to and sign that they understood state law considers the form public information.

The newspaper does not intend to publish names on the list but requested it on principle, Editor Bob Hunter has said.

On the Web: www.ojd.state.or.us/jac/Opinions/opinions.htm

— Paris Achen

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