Last year the New York-based Journal News in White Plains, created an uproar across the country when it published a map showing the addresses of residents holding pistol permits in its area.
That same information about handgun owners or owners of any types of firearms doesn’t exist in Kentucky though, which doesn’t require a permit, according to Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell.
In an interview Monday afternoon, Harrell noted that there is no database or list of people, who own rifles, shotguns or handguns in Kentucky, unless permits are required by individual cities under local statutes.
In Kentucky, the only requirement to purchase a firearm from a licensed gun dealer is to complete a federal 44-73 form and pass a background check that indicates you are not a convicted felon, Harrell said.
"When you pass that, that’s it," he added.
This doesn’t include guns sold privately by individuals.
The Kentucky State Police does maintain a list of people with a permit to carry a concealed deadly weapon though, Harrell added.
The editor of a website in New York, who is apparently unaware of Kentucky laws, is apparently attempting to obtain information about handgun owners in Whitley County.
On Jan. 30, Harrell received an open records request from Aaron Nobel, editor of the website, Heavy.com, requesting copies of public records that contain the names and addresses of all handgun permit holders in Whitley County.
"I would request a waiver of all fees in that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to the public’s understanding of the prevalence and location of gun ownership within their communities," Nobel wrote in the open records request to Harrell.
"In this request, I represent a news and information website that is seeking this information for newsgathering purposes. This information is not being sought for commercial purposes."
In his written response to the request dated Feb. 5, Harrell noted that public records for people with permits to carry a concealed deadly weapon are maintained by the Kentucky State Police.
Harrell admits that he was surprised to get the request, which was addressed to Lt. Colan Harrell, and said he doesn’t know whether the request was part of a broader effort to obtain information about gun owners in Kentucky.