CHARLESTON — When the smoke cleared away on the final night of the legislative session, the West Virginia Press Association held the winning hand in a duel over guns and the public’s right to know who is toting concealed firearms.

For two years, the battle has raged between the press association and the National Rifle Association in a bill initially offered to allow West Virginia to enter into and honor reciprocal pacts so that states recognized each other’s concealed weapon permits.

But the NRA amended the measure so that no citizen could access permits under the Freedom of Information Act, a move the press association viewed as poor policy in regard to the public’s right to know and scrutinize government records.

“The logic behind it was contrived,” Phil Reale, a Charleston attorney and lobbyist for the press association, said of the NRA’s opposition to public access on grounds it might expose someone in a domestic rift to danger if his or her concealed weapon permit were publicized.

The NRA did score on getting the reciprocal agreements approved.

“They got something out of it, which we didn’t object to,” Reale said. Read more

Source: The Register-Herald