Raleigh-Durham CBS-affiliate WRAL is under fire after it included a searchable database of concealed weapons permits in a report on gun laws in the region.
The report, an examination of concealed weapons permit rates in rural areas, was published on July 12. Grass Roots North Carolina, a gun-rights organization, has mounted a campaign against WRAL and reporter Mark Binker.
Steve Hammel, WRAL’s VP-GM, told the News & Observer that the station didn’t publish any information that was not already available to the public.
“We’ve released public records that anyone out there can easily obtain,” he said.
In addition to putting pressure on the station’s advertisers, Grass Roots North Carolina has been sending out alert messages to its more than 50,000 subscribers.
“In an apparent attempt to shame gun owners, some media outlets have a history of publishing the names of gun purchasers,” one alert reads. “But that was many years ago, before the advent of the Internet. Things are now far more reciprocal. So let’s talk a bit about reporter Mark Binker, the apparent engineer of the piece to reveal concealed handgun permit-holders.”
The alert goes on to say that Binker should not be threatened or harassed, and that he should only be called or emailed once.[News & Observer, WRAL, Grass Roots North Carolina]