It is common practice for the Republican Party of Virginia. Each year the Party requests the information of thousands of concealed weapon permit holders across the state. It is a laborious process that requires submitting FOIA requests to each individual Virginia municipality.
The party uses the information to send mail pieces and targeting campaign materials to voters who care about protecting their gun rights. Voters, who tend to be on the same side as the GOP.
But the cross section of the right to bear arms and the right to privacy has put the Virginia Republican Party in tricky territory. After media outlets submitted similar FOIA requests in other parts of the country and then published the information, several states, including Virginia took great strides to seal those records from public scrutiny.
Before it becomes the law of the land, Republican Party of Virginia Executive Director Anthony Reedy did what he does every year. He FOIAed the name, mailing address, birth date, country of citizenship, telephone number and date of registration of every permit holder in Virginia. The only piece of information they asked to have redacted was the permit holder's Social Security Number.
This request was dated June 6, 2013 less than a month before the release of this information in this fashion will be illegal in Virginia.
The party explained in a statement that their goal is not to publish this information but to use it to inform voters about their efforts to defend the 2nd Amendment.
"Virginia Republicans have a proud history of defending the Second Amendment, and we are working actively to ensure that voters who are concerned about Second Amendment issues stay informed about Democratic efforts to limit our right to keep and bear arms," said RPV spokesman Garren Shipley.
Sen. Mark Obenshain who championed the bill that will make the release of this information illegal, stopped short of calling on the RPV to hold off on this request.
"RPV was acting within their rights under existing law but Senator Obenshain believes that the private information of citizens shouldn't be disclosed simply because they choose to exercise a constitutional right. That's why he introduced SB 1335, which passed with broad bi-partisan support in both chambers and will go into effect July 1."
-Paul Logan, Spokesman
As you might imagine this has some permit holders upset. Tonight at 11 on NBC12, Jessica Jaglois will talk to the permit holder who brought this to our attention. He is asking a Judge to deny the FOIA request.