The Witch Hunt Against Gun Owners

"The Second Amendment," Charlton Heston used
to say, "is America`s first freedom." The Second

secures the rest.

It`s a message narcissistic journalists need to hear
again. A decade ago, Heston chastised the media

in a National Press Club speech
for its collective
ignorance, apathy and open hostility toward gun owners`
rights: "Clearly, too many have used freedom of the
press as a weapon not only to strangle our free speech,
but to

and ultimately destroy the right to keep and
bear arms as well. In doing so you promoted your
profession to that of constitutional judge and jury,
more powerful even than our Supreme Court, more
prejudiced than the

Inquisition`s tribunals
. It is a frightening misuse
of constitutional privilege, and I pray that you will
come to your senses and see that these abuses are

Alas, Heston`s prayers have yet to be answered. While
courts have recently bolstered Second Amendment rights,
endangering gun owners in the name of free speech
continues to be the blood sport of the Fourth Estate.

Two weeks ago, the Roanoke (Va.) Times
published an online database of registered concealed
handgun permit holders in the paper`s community under
the sanctimonious guise of "Sunshine Week." The
database included both the names and street addresses of
some 135,000 Virginians with permits to carry concealed
weapons. Columnist Christian Trejbal patted himself on
the back for making it easy to snoop on the neighbors:
"I can hear the shocked indignation of gun-toters
already: It`s nobody`s business but mine if I want to
pack heat. Au contraire. Because the government handles
the permitting, it is everyone`s business."

Shedding light on concealed handguns
, March 11,

Trejbal denied that compiling the concealed carry
permit holders list was "about being for or against
But he exposed his true agenda when he
compared law-abiding gun owners to . . .

sex offenders
: "A state that eagerly puts sex
offender data online complete with an

interactive map
could easily do the same with gun
permits, but it does not."

The Roanoke Times showed reckless disregard
for the safety of the license holders and reckless
disregard for accuracy. In his column, Trejbal admitted
that he knew some of the information he had obtained was
inaccurate—but published it anyway: "As a Sunshine
Week gift, The Roanoke Times has placed the entire
database, mistakes and all [emphasis added],
online at
. You can search to find
out if neighbors, carpool partners, elected officials or
anyone else has permission to carry a gun."

After an uproar among gun-owners, including domestic
violence victims licensed to carry, the Times
finally decided to yank the database. Trejbal seems

not to feel much remorse:
"Did we make it
easier [to obtain the information]? Yes. But it`s still
a public record."
Let`s review: He published a list
he knew contained inaccuracies. His paper admits the
decision endangered gun owners. He compiled a convenient
shopping list for criminals—and smacked law-abiding gun
owners in the face with his comparison of their choice
to exercise their rights with sex offenders.

Public disclosure of concealed carry licenses varies
from state to state. Eighteen states protect permit
holders` privacy from public view. Virginia is one of 17
states that make licensee records public. If information
is public, does it make it right for a newspaper to
publish it? The media exercise discretion all the time
in withholding the names of minors or rape victims. Why
should the privacy of law-abiding concealed handgun
permit holders be treated with any less concern?

While the Roanoake Times has retreated, the
witch hunt against gun owners continues. In New York

Mayor Michael Bloomberg
launched a "sting"
operation targeting gun shops in five states for
allegedly selling guns illegally. Alan Gottlieb and Dave
Workman of the Second Amendment Foundation report that
Bloomberg sent unauthorized private investigators to
conduct the operation—without notifying the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF):

"The odor ripened when
Bloomberg filed civil lawsuits against these gun shops,
rather than turn over evidence to the proper authorities
for criminal prosecution. Bloomberg`s office refused to
turn over that evidence, and instead the billionaire
mayor launched a high-profile media campaign demonizing
the targeted gun shop operators."[

Bloom is off Bloomberg`s Vigilante Gun Shop Sting,

March 18, 2007]

Bloomberg has, of course, earned the praise of the
anti-Second Amendment media for his security-undermining
stunt. The unholy alliance between Big Nanny politicians
and journalists threatens us all.

Michelle Malkin [email
her] is author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores

for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click

for Michelle Malkin`s website.
Michelle Malkin`s latest book is "
Exposing Liberals Gone Wild.