Fox Blames Media for Death Threats to Reporters

This past week, shortly after an Associated Press reporter requested from the Montana Justice Department a list of every concealed weapon permit holder in Montana, the reporters and their families began receiving death threats posted on right-wing websites and in online comments.

It seems that when Tim Fox, the Attorney General, got the request from reporter to see the list of concealed weapon holders, he responded not to the reporter but instead to every county sheriff in the state, all 56 of them, informing them that he had received the request from the press regarding the weapons holders, and was hereby denying it. Fox also made sure to reveal the identity of the reporter who had submitted the request.

In denying the request, Fox, a Republican, broke with the practice of previous attorney’s general in Montana who had provided the list in past years, obeying very clear, strict public records rules enshrined in the Montana constitution. Nearly every government document is public in the state.

Now, in an interview with MTPR, Fox is defending himself by blaming “the media” for the threats against the reporter. By “the media,” Fox is referring to the rightwing outlets that he tipped off about the AP’s request, including a conservative Montana radio commentator and a Koch-brothers funded Montana blog. These are the actors to whom Fox’s office, contemporaneous with the sending of the letters to the sheriffs, sent the names of the reporter who asked for the concealed weapons information.

“Its been the media that’s run with this, that’s what the media does,” Fox told Montana Public Radio’s Dan Boyce,”Whether or not there is a chilling effect I guess the media, the journalistic profession needs to contemplate when they ask for information whether or not they are creating a chilling effect in their own profession.”

Fox told Boyce he made the reporter’s name public in response to “media requests.”

Fox, perhaps correctly, believed that his actions would bolster his street cred among the wingnut gun/militia/sheriff’s posse crowd. At the same time, he is actually trying to deny that he took actions to get his decision into the press. Boyce asked him whether he put this out to the media.

Fox didn’t seem like he had a straight answer:

“We had talked – not we but people that uh in my circle of influence had talked to some, confidentially with embargo which is a word that you in the media use. When I found out about that I put the stops to it and said we are not going to to that we’re just going to respond to the request.”

As for the death threats, these were made in the comments section of an unnamed website, which I assume to be either the Media Trackers blog (Koch), the Flint Report blog, or one of the state daily papers.

The nice part about that is that the authors of those comments can probably be traced, since commenters often leave information about their identity. We will see if one of the 56 county prosecutors steps up to look into the matter.

Posted: August 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm

This post was written by Cowgirl

57 thoughts on “Fox Blames Media for Death Threats to Reporters

  1. BobT

    Having followed this blog for years, it’s disappointing to see how far it has degenerated. Used to be a source of real news and tips, but not it’s just vitriol and attacks on people with whom the author(s) disagree(s).

    “It seems that when Tim Fox, the Attorney General, got the request from reporter to see the list of concealed weapon holders, he responded not to the reporter but instead to…” What’s your source for that? Please, do tell, because a real news reporter indicated that Fox sent the memo to the associated press at the same time it was released to the county law enforcement community (who need to know about the confidentiality issue, since they’re the ones to whom people apply for CWPs). http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/ap-getting-online-threats-after-seeking-names-of-concealed-weapon/article_225ea3af-843a-5754-a334-5c077dca0d26.html

    Also, your quoting from the NPR interview is quite selective. Why didn’t you include the part where Fox strongly condemned the threats? Oh, I see, because it contradicts your narrative. Gotcha.

    Finally, you’re stretching things to say that Fox is blaming the media for the threats they’re receiving. I listened to the interview (all of it), and it was pretty clear he was saying that anyone who requests information from the govt needs to be aware that such a request is itself public information.

    I hope one day this blog can get back to generating useful news instead of mindless attacks and mischaracterizations. Like a lot of Montanans, I’m not a republican or democrat, but I have a strong bullsh*t detector (from so many years of ranching, I guess). You folks here can do better than this. Grow up!

  2. Lynn

    “Although Fox was quick to call the online intimidation “darn-right wrong,” he ultimately warned journalists that reporters should keep such threats in mind when they request public information in the first place: “Whether or not there is a chilling effect I guess the media, the journalistic profession needs to contemplate when they ask for information whether or not they are creating a chilling effect in their own profession.””

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/08/montana-ag-reporters-investigating-gun-laws-create-chilling-effect

    1. BobT

      Translation: Anyone making a request for govt info should keep in mind that such a request is public info. The threats are deplorable but the reporters should have known that the gun wingnuts would say stupid things if they found out about the requests.

      1. Norma Duffy

        You mean since Fox came into office, because no other AG never told the right wing Buffoons, or the left wing Buffoons the newspaper and reporters who were asking questions????

        Raking reporters over the coals is something new in Montana?

        Man that ATP cash has gone straight to your heads!

  3. Norma Duffy

    Yea shoot the messenger. I am sure thats what every Republican wouldn’t mind when in Office or running from it.

    How many times Bob has your kind attacked the lame stream media???? Or liberals for having their say? One would think that a conservative like yourself would cherish the Constitution regarding free speech, but according to your aforementioned word salad….you do not?

    Waiting?

    And then again you don’t attack commenters???? Will since there is no way to prove you are a real Bob T, and you have alway written lilly white prose I have got to believe your using a Pseudonym to make the point you never followed in your above written manifesto?

    Yeah answer that one as well!

    Give it a rest Bob, our kind hear Bullpucky like yours everyday, right after you call the president a socialist Kenyan Muslim, or point out the mans a different color and therefore shouldn’t be living in the white house.

    People in glass Parties shouldn’t throw rocks? Yeah thats about right!

    See I am a gun owner who believes we don’t have enough rules in place to protect innocent lives. To find and get help for others who might take their lives with a gun found in the home….. and then there’s gun supporter Fox, just stating he doesn’t mind Open season on Journalists who seek information for the general public…. In a round about way FOX just said the first Amendment doesn’t apply to people who ask Questions for a living if it is about guns

    And you’re more than happy to back FOX, which is incredible because he just spat on the Constitution, and possibly all of our rights to free speech. Not to mention the majority of Montanans, and the nation who want stricter gun safety laws.

    Yep, the only reason your complaining is because your losing an already lost argument, that will make a difference with the voters choice, next election. The less Fox doesn’t enforce the Law for his gun toting buddies and corporations, the quicker we will find someone to replace him with someone who will.

      1. Norma Duffy

        I don’t do meds Bob! My regular regime every day is to bash stupid characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless, and complete and utter wrongness….or bash Lying.!

        You filled all categories quite nicely!

    1. Publius II

      There’s a REASON why Free Speech and Freedom of the Press is in the FIRST Amendment, for without those freedoms, the 2nd, 4th and all the rest are hollow gestures.

  4. Dave Skinner

    I agree with Bob on this.
    This is nothing more than rote flogging on Tim Fox.
    The AP tried to pounce on those records before they would be made private by a widely-supported hunk of new legislation. Why? So they could pull off another Google Maps stunt like that paper in White Plains New York — which was the motivation for the Montana bill, which Governor Bullock did in fact sign?
    And I find it ironic that progressives would not fully support the more-progressive parts of our state constitution and its strong privacy protections — Norma, maybe you need to read the MT constitution before you make a decision on who spat on what.
    As Watchdogwire’s Michael Mattson pointed out, AP’s muckety was just fine in cherry picking what he wanted the readers to know:
    “No person shall be deprived of the right to examine documents or to observe the deliberations of all public bodies or agencies of state government and its subdivisions,”
    But this Clarke guy didn’t see fit to include the inconvenient part in the second clause: “except in cases in which the demand of individual privacy clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.”
    I mean, that’s typical, like with the Second Amendment — we always, always hear about that well regulated militia while the shall not be infringed part gets lost somewhere.
    As for the website with the “threats,” John Adams provided a direct link to that site and, as usual, it was the kind of hot comments that are, in the end, just blather.
    The thing is, anyone that pontificates like that is rather unlikely to act. The person who would seriously entertain doing harm to a journalist, or anyone, is not going to telegraph their intent to the world.
    All I can say is, I hope Mr. Gouras, Mr. Adams, and others of the journalistic bent have developed a new respect for the privacy of private citizens now that theirs has been tweaked in the same manner as they apparently wanted to try with carry permit holders.

    1. Norma Duffy

      Your wrong Dave…. as Usual, the AP has requested such information from the state regularly over the years. and never given out the information about private citizens, before.

      So the law changed this year in Montana, and they could no longer obtain that info… thats all Fox’s office had to say.

      So simple!

      But by FOX and friends, passing on that request information to right wing Muckraker and Breitbart wannabe Aaron Flint and Koch Brothers well paid right wing Media Trackers….. Fox decided that there should no longer be freedom of the press, without threat of life and limb. What kind of standard-bearer of the law does that make him?. So where now is the right of privacy to those reporters, you so gleefully clutch for yourself, but tell others to get screwed by??

      Basically, Fox pretty much told the AP, that reporters asking for any other supposedly transparent information could/might also get reporters in trouble? The AG just morphed from Lawman and top cop to a threatening thug. … depriving the reporters of their privacy, and freedom of speech.

      Reporters just doing their jobs, now being harassed, and threatened by lunitics just like you, to the point were they needed to file with the Helena police department? So much for the first amendment of these United states, and Montana’s constitution which clearly says:

      Section 4. INDIVIDUAL DIGNITY. The dignity of the human being is inviolable.No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws. Neither the state nor any person, firm, corporation, or institution shall discriminate against any person in the exercise of his civil or
      political rights on account of race, color, sex, culture, social origin or condition, or political or religious ideas.

      FREEDOM OF SPEECH, EXPRESSION, AND PRESS. No law
      shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech or expression. Every person shall be free to speak or publish whatever he will on any subject, being responsible for all abuse of that liberty. In all suits and prosecutions for libel or slander the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and the jury, under the direction of the court, shall determine the law and the facts.”

      THis is how you Idiots behave, whenever someone searches for the truth? Incredible. You break the law!
      If anything happens to those reporters, because of Fox, Arron Flint, Media Trackers…. plus jerks like you. I hope the full weight of the law, and all the Karma associated with your stupidity bites you. The AP will take your kind to court for bashing those freedoms…. and they have neary lost a fight.

      And all of us reasonable Montanans will again have to pay with our Taxes for your republican Mistakes.

      We don’t have an Official Secrets Act in the United States let alone Montana, as other countries run by despots do.

      Under the First Amendment, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association are more important than protecting secrets.

      To me this is just more proof of your love affair with fascism Dave. Nothing was ever taken from you over all the years AP asked before. why the crying now?

    2. Jan Thomas

      They posted photos of the reporters home addresses with the threats –you think that’s okay? Think of how the families of these reporters must have felt with people like the OathKeepers running around posting virtual wanted posters.

      1. Lynn

        ” Lee Newspapers Reporter Chuck Johnson detailed some of the threats in his story. Some of the comments were pretty extreme, such as:

        “When the top AP Nazis end up floating face down in the river, they will think twice about f***ing with real Americans.”

        Another says,

        “We need to track down and publish the names and addresses of AP executives, photographs of their children and the routes they take to school.””

        http://mtpr.org/post/ap-reporters-threatened-after-requesting-concealed-carry-permit-information

        1. Norma Duffy

          Yeah, this is the brightest the GOP has folks….thugs, Pseudonyms that talk about killing families of people just doing their jobs.

          Those comments and the people that say them aren’t Americans, Or Patriots their common criminals. Fox, Arron Flint, Media Trackers the biggest of them all.

          1. Norma Duffy

            and after listening to Fox’s interview, I would say he has put people lives at stake. I will never believe this man stands for following the law. and I hope there is an investigation of this.

            Aaron Flint should be fired, Northwest Broadcasting should be held accountable in allowing Aaron Flint to post this story.

            1. Dave Skinner

              Let me get this straight, Norma….
              First, AP wants to seek records in order to pry into the affairs of private citizens with carry permits.
              Second, the AG denies the request.
              Third, someone leaks the AG denial of AP’s request to another journalist.
              Fourth, THAT journalist, Aaron Flint, reports the denial of the records request.
              For revealing the act of a public official, you want a journalist fired?
              You’d rather Northern go ahead and censor Flint’s news output?
              And you just blathered above:
              “Under the First Amendment, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association are more important than protecting secrets.”
              Geeze, I could forge a new rifle barrel with such quality irony.
              Way to go, Norma.

              1. Norma Duffy

                First the AP has asked for data like this for years. Only a democracy and a free society is transparent when it lends such data in an Open Government. Dictatorships don’t give up information to a free press. We even have a federal law regarding it which trumps our silly Montana laws if the AP presses Tim Fox, and the state for information they are unwilling to give:

                Its called the “Freedom of Information Act”

                The AG therefore broke Federal law, because, his office could have redacted names and Addresses, if he considered it a privacy issue now, and just given the AP the Number of new Concealed Carried by number alone in the state, and by county. I am sure would have satisfied the AP since they themselves said, all they were doing is Data mining for trends.

                Lets take this in another direction for a second, something you wouldn’t think of because you are already to controled by your party As members of a free society, we also need privacy as a shield against the power of the state. A government that knows everything about us is a government that will be readily able to control us … even when they say that is “for our own good.”

                There is only a million people who live in the state, my guess is there are only 2500 or less people on that CC list. I do not worry about the AP, they are one of the more prestigious papers protecting the rights of free speech, the rights to privacy, in the world today. Not to mention the biggest source of transparency about governments in the world.

                Third AG Tim Fox leaked the Memo, the minute he sent it to all the other county AG and Sheriffs in the state. Like it or not Fox and his office are the leak… And just as Obvious is the fact that he did it to shut County attorney’s and Sheriff’s up, making them complicit in refusing information in direct violation with state Sunshine Laws.

                Aaron Flint is no Journalist, He is too stupid to acknowledge that “rights” involve laws even for journalists — the concept of rights is essentially a legal issue.

                The public’s so-called right to know is far more limited than you might think, hence the need for reporters. They continually apply and test our right to access info about what the government is doing. Examples of such legal rights include open records and open meetings laws, court transcripts (usually), and (most) police records, and more when a concern for the sovereign rights of citizens might be denied.

                It does not give Tim Fox or Aaron Flint any right to release the names of everyone who has a question about the government. The right to privacy has been identified only in the past 100 years … and keeps changing as our culture changes. But the courts have said such a right does exist and can be violated in four ways:

                1. Intruding into seclusion or solitude.
                2.Publicly disclosing private, embarrassing and irrelevant facts.
                3. Placing someone in a “false light.”
                4. Misappropriating someone’s name or image for personal advantage.

                Aaron , easily Breaks all 4 Laws daily, and he placed those reporters and their families in danger! Ethics,which Aaron Flint does not use,…. ever, involve responsibilities rather than rights, and are a better bet in privacy decisions, than his Partisan Bullshit. This is why he is not a Journalist…. Only a loud mouth with a microphone.

                And Lastly you understanding of freedom of the Press is woefully lacking. you and others of your Ilk have absolutely no Idea that reporters have died in this country and all over the world to make sure peons like you can spout your love of a freedom, which you don’t understand, and do not responsibly care for.

                The AG of our state just set a chilling tone over asking our government to hand over information we as a people have a right to look through, and a duty to make sure the government stays in the hands of the people…. And being the asshole that you are just decided to stand with the deniers of freedom. You are all for attacking the very standard bearers who have been some of the only people, rich enough in court cases to keep your tongue wagging freely on the breeze.

                So yes Dave you’re as dumb as dirt in my Opinion, and I can have that Opinion because of reporters apply and testing my freedoms daily. For conspiracists, who supposedly hate the government, I would think you GOP would be all for making sure the Government of Montana isn’t keeping that list a secret…. but in reality we have seen your party wants a government that keeps dirty secrets.

                The laws your party has tried to pass in the last couple of years supports my Claim, from having all the dark money in elections, to making sure peoples right to votes are restricted, to violating a woman’s right to choose. Your party demands only one religion be first, and that everyone speak english so no one can talk behind your Partys back. which actually means the right to speak freely in this country

                Lastly, if you veiled code worded “rifle barrel” comment was in any way a threat to me…. you need to do a better job at scaring me. Because as a real American any threats don’t scare me much.

                  1. Norma Duffy

                    Sorry, Mark Blog is not in my destination on any level… though I feel for Larry… he was never my soulmate.

                    He has a lot of good things to say about America, but the conspricy shit… and the I am gonna go ninja stuff……Ah No!

                    Like Larry I have served my government, see that the wheels of justice turn slowly, but they do turn.

                    Thirdly, I am a daughter of Martin Luther Kings revolution. Theres no doubt I would defend myself at home, and while I am traveling but I believe in peaceful protest, bringing suit when necessary, and making sure people know there is better way thats more in keeping with Kings Idea of Peace
                    Theres no denying this world carries pain, I just won’t add to it, when there are more productive ways to explain that pain exists and help cauterize the wounds through diplomacy, in this world, and heal where I can.

                    So he can yell, I am all for that, thats his right of free speech, but there are better ways of dismantling menace in the country, than bombs and guns. and alluding to violence,

                    And if the time comes that they do come for my family, my neighbors, my friends after every other legal avenue has been exhausted, just like the forefathers of this country did before us I’ll fight…. but, I haven’t seen the end of those remedies yet!

                  2. Norma Duffy

                    And by the way Craig I dont caterwaul. If you hearing a shrill sound at me giving the facts. thats just the responsibility alarm going off on your head… Because you just hate the responsability of caring for everyone in your state. WHy Hell, that’s something you promised yourself you and your Party would never do now…. Conserve and protect!

                    1. Norma Duffy

                      Hey Dave I get an A in reality. Self esteem comes from who you are, and where you have been in life

                      “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” .

                      Browbeating you guys with facts though…Heck, that’s just priceless.

                    2. Drunks for Aguare

                      Since when do pipelines carrying tar sand oil “trash the environment”? That is just plain silly.

                1. Dave Dubé

                  First of all, it isn’t ‘against the law’, or it least will not be ‘confidential’ until October 1st. Second, there are at least 5 TIMES the number of CCW holders in this state. And by the way, the request for the list was specifically digital, and included addresses. I suppose Matt was going to hide behind the ‘right to know’ if the list were taken advantage of and some woman was offed by an ex-spouse.

                  1. Norma Duffy

                    WHat Matt as a reporter is protect your right to know. with people like him you wouldn’t know a Child molester was living in the house next door. Apparently you have no concept of freedom of speech and the freedom of the press either??? Just saying!

                    Without reporters you wouldn’t know about Snowden, you wouldn’t know about drones, You wouldn’t know the government is spying on you, or about hazards in your state or community. You wouldn’t have a clue what washington was even doing 100’s of miles away.

    3. Dave Dubé

      I’m sticking my COMMENT in here because this needs to be said. Were any of you witnesses to the deliberation of the Confidentiality bill when it was heard this past session? If you weren’t, shut up. I was. I won’t. There have been requests for that ‘list’ before, and the previous AG (remind me again, who was that) turned them down FOR THE SAME REASON that AG FOX did. In other news, Caryn McBride, the editor of the Journal News ‘paper’ that published the names of CCW holders in NY, WAS FIRED. By the way, did AP ever say WHY they wanted the list? Your ASS warm yet, Matt Gouras? Carrying the water bucket for Shrinking Violets got you down yet?

      1. Norma Duffy

        After looking at all the conspiracies you unfold on your facebook Page… I gotta say Liberals would be happy you’re a spokesman for the NRA and Republicans.

        Keep up the good work Dave?????

  5. Dave Skinner

    Love affair with fascism?
    Norma dear, when I was little and visiting my nice Jewish grandparents in Washington Heights, I would go downstairs to the park and play chess with the nice old Jewish geezers with their funny tattoos — which they got at camp, not in the Navy. They told the nice boy from out West lots of things about camp…trust me, I never told my grandmother what we kibitzed about — but my grandfather found out. He let me keep playing chess and would come down himself from time to time with cigars and whiskey.
    That you would tar me as fascistic brands you as the idiot you are. GFY.

    1. Norma Duffy

      Amazing you learned nothing from that experience, and those funny tattoos, that were carved by knife in some camps onto their skin…. you see, I am jewish and proud of that heritage.

      Too bad you haven’t learn that from that terrible history because your party seems determined to repeat the same mistakes with the Minority Americans in this country and the dreamkids… just saying.

      By the way hanging out with old jewish men doesn’t make you more Pious either, I got a lot of christian friends, LDS friends, Sikh and Muslim friends also, but none of that makes a damn bit of difference unless I go out of my way to treat them with the respect every American like them should Garner.

      Because Americanism comes from the heart and mind, not our religion and not our skin color…. Not a particular party and especially not from hanging a flag on your lapel!

  6. Norma Duffy

    Looks like the hard right stooges, who never read the whole Montana or USA Constitution’s have left the Building?

    If you come back boys, don’t change the questions I asked by deferring to some other fable you got cooked up, to muddy the waters and spread fear. Answer the Questions I and other liberals posted above or stay home.

    In a time of deceit for your party, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Lets see if your American enough to explain it as such. because thats is what Montana street cred is really all about.

  7. Turner

    OT. Does any one know if Daines will be doing townhall meetings? I’d love for him to come to Dillon.

    1. Norma Duffy

      Comeon Turner, Rehberg never came down here but once in his twelve years to do a townhall, otherwise he just sent lackeys…. Daines giving a crap more for beaverhead county, then Rehberg??? NAh!

  8. Moorcat

    First, Rehberg actually did come to Dillon more than once. I saw him a few times here. He really didn’t say anything of import (Rehberg never did) but he did come to Dillon.

    Second – I am somewhat in agreement with the Bob T. While I can’t stomach Fox in any way shape or form, he was right to deny the request (given that it is now against the law in Montana) and turning the information over to the Country Law Enforcement was the proper thing to do. Whether he specifically targeted the reporter or whether that was the work of individuals yet to be identified is a matter of interpretation. Personally, I think this article is targeted at the wrong person.

    As far as the AP making this request before to previous AG’s, that is a moot point. It is now against the law to release that information and the AP should have known that. It doesn’t matter whether that information was released before or not. The law has changed.

    Given what happened in New York, it is foolish to assume that the AP would have handled that information in any kind of responsible way. While you may want to believe that they would have respected the rights of the concealed carry holders, it is an assumption on your part. I prefer to stick to the law when it comes to release of personal information.

    Further, the Freedom of Information act doesn’t apply as has already been pointed out. The privacy of the individual applying for and receiving a CCW is now protected by law and the MCIA recognizes that a valid reason for denying a Freedom of Information act request.

    You can try to make this about right wing fanaticism all you want but by doing so, you are employing the tactics of the very people you are disparaging. As you well know, I do not believe that President Obama is a Kenyon nor do fit any of the other supposed “Nutcase Right Wing agendas”. I, too, support Universal Background Checks. I simply cannot buy into this posturing – regardless of how much I dislike Fox.

  9. Norma Duffy

    Finally a decent rebuttal, thought I have to disagree with some of your points Moorcat.

    The AP cant get its source material from the US Government through a FOIA. Montana only deals with people who submit to a Federal Background check in this state

    It will not allow people from Alabama, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, or New Hampshire to carry concealed weapons in this state because they don’t have to submit to a federal Background check in their state. Or the states of Illinois, or Vermont because they do not issue concealed Carry permits. So the AP can use FOIA to review inter agency information which originated with non-federal entities but which is now in the possession of federal government. IE: background checks!

    So you can argue this all you want, but since the state does business with the federal government regarding concealed carry permits, it is still in the purview of a FOIA request.

    So no matter what red meat Tim FOX puts out to the party base, he has in fact denied them of the truth once again as he leaves out the small print of the laws of Montana’s Concealed Carry.

    I guess that means Bob is still wrong as well.

    1. Moorcat

      Norma, you are aware that the last legislature in Montana passed a law making CCW information confidential and therefore not accessible with a FOIA request, right? The Federal law that does the same thing was tacked onto the Background check law that failed to pass the Senate. Montana is just one of many states that have recently passed similar laws following the debacle in New York.

      For this reason alone, Fox was in the right by denying the request. His message to state law enforcement individuals was, in point of fact, to remind them that disclosing CCW info was against the law. Until the law is legally challenged (unlikely in today’s current political environment), release of information on CCW holders in Montana is illegal.

      1. Moorcat

        Bullock vetoed a number of really batshit crazy gun laws (like the attempt to “nullify” federal gun law in Montana) but he allowed this one to pass because it has the support of the majority of Montanans. It could questionably be challenged on the strength of Montana’s very strict Public Information disclosure laws, but a fairly strong case could be made that the information is personal in nature – the one reason a public information request can be readily denied in Montana. Until such time as someone files that challenge, though, it remains the law.

        1. Moorcat

          It should also be pointed out that the AP made similar requests in at least 35 states that I have been able to personally verify with a success rate of about 50%. Many were denied for the same reason the request was denied in Montana – it is against the law to disclose CCW information. What I found interesting was that I can’t find a consistent reason for the AP to be collecting that data. I suspect that they are doing this in anticipation of the Universal Background Check law coming up again after the midterm elections. Since there is a provision in that law that makes CCW information confidential on a federal scale and because the Universal Background Check law (as it is currently written) also prohibits at a Federal Registration Database, that the AP is attempting to collect the information as a proactive step toward data collection before it becomes illegal. Since the AP uses statistics like this when reporting on gun crime, it behooves them to do so. I will also concede that the AP is usually pretty good about how they use the data – without releasing personal information to the public. That said, there are also plenty of examples of that information being used in questionable manners (such as the New York release of personal information – and yes, I know that it wasn’t the AP that did that particular stunt). I will always err on the side of personal privacy.

          I am not condoning the release of the reporter’s information or the supposed death threats that have been alleged to have been made. I also do not see any real evidence that it was Fox’s doing, either. I think there is a LOT more to this story that hasn’t been told, and a lot of assumptions are being made.

        2. Norma Duffy

          Yes I already mentioned that above Moorcat, But I am sorry I still do not see your point. In order to receive a Concealed Carry in Montana. The person submitting an application to receive a CC still must also submit to a federal Background check.

          According to the Justice department, the only information the FOIA cannot contain is addresses.

          The law is 28 CFR Part 16

          So no matter what the Laws of Montana are now, including the new law, which does not supersede federal law and cannot be in conflict with federal law, a person’s name and the fact that he submitted himself to a background check still apply.

          Lastly that law has been around since 1998, so it is established Law. Not to mention the other laws the Federal government says covers these Particular background check laws are Administrative Practices and Procedures, Courts, Freedom of Information Act, Government in the Sunshine Act, and the Privacy Act.

          So anyone who submits to a Federal Background check to receive a CC in this state is in the records.
          It is nothing like the instant Background check which is a far weaker law to buy a gun from FLL dealers.

          Again the laws FFL laws to buy a weapon are totally different!

          If Tim Fox was the right man for the AG office…(which he was not, the job should have been for the right women Pam Bucy), he had a duty to explain these differences to his constituents. He Failed and in a rather spectacular way.

          This is also something the NRA wont talk about either, because they were working behind the scene like ninjas, paying off legislators to change those laws written in the nineties.

          Since Newtown, the NRA and gun Manufacturers who pay NRA have been effectively shut down from their covert operations

          1. Norma Duffy

            So Foias still apply to this state records submitted to the federal government for review, and I am sure the AP will pursue that Avenue…. and the state would have the final say in those requests. The federal government is the final say on FOIA requests.

            This is the kinda of stuff the GOP has been trying to erase for years. the checks and balance of doing business with the federal Government. The Money, time, and effort, of the federal Government as it does business is still under FOIA Review, because of what happened before. The money use to be given to the states in lump sums years ago and the states wouldn’t spend it on the right things….. our countries tax monies was going to shady deals and buildings that never produced a finish product for the people, That’s why a lot of federal money is earmarked now for education and infrastructure, and cannot be used elsewhere, and the states most account for the money.

            Regular people have no Idea how much state and federal work together now. Tim Fox is part of a concerted party effort to keep people dumb about this also.

              1. Moorcat

                The Federal Government, as it stands now is not allowed to release that information. I thought you knew that. In fact, as it stands now, there are very strict rules about what the Federal Government CAN do with information. It was one of the many silent battles the NRA won. One of the bills defeated before the Senate was to authorize the use of that information to study gun crime and gun statistics. Had that bill passed, it would have allowed some of that information to be used to study gun related crime and gun related injuries/deaths.

                I just don’t see the “secret” behind the scenes manipulation that you are alluding to, Norma. I am well aware of how much the state and federal government work together (and how well they don’t but that is a topic for another discussion). The AP will not be able to get the information from the Federal Government which is why they are applying to the individual states. I just assumed you already knew that. I was wrong to assume that.

                1. Norma Duffy

                  No sorry Moorecat not true, Federal law supersedes State law. They did not win that battle and that law is still on the Books I was just at the Justice departments website this morning,,, its not cancelled or on vacation, their is no executive order , or legislation nullifying that FOIA requests, on CC law. I am alluding to nothing I gave you the law, as it stands now……

                    1. Norma Duffy

                      And Federal Foia requests Trump Montana, Infact that is what most outside orgs and citizens have to do with any Montana data period, because it is considered by Graded state responsiveness horrible to FOI.

                      Requests, conducted by BGA and the NFOIC, gave Montana 9 points out of a possible 100, a letter grade of “F”, and a ranking of 47 out of the 50 states.

                      As a state Its been stubborn about giving up any info in the past. Apparently not very good at following our own sunshine acts and public record laws.

  10. draftmama

    To think we could have elected a true public servant, Pam Bucy, who is way more qualified to be AG than this oaf whose out of state wingnuts purchased his seat. Pretty sad state of affairs.

    1. Moorcat

      I wish Busy had won (though I would have preferred Lazlovich myself). Either candidate would have been a far cry better then Fox. Sadly, it didn’t happen and I am sure that we – as Montanans – will pay the price of that failure.

  11. Craig Moore

    If the rate of new posts is to come to no more than 1 in a week, this place is going to resemble a bare plucked chicken or is that a pillaged chicken? Not sure the distinction matters though.

      1. Norma Duffy

        Exactly or like I have all summer…practicing camera shots of stars in the dead of night, or all the numerous goings on in the state all this summer.

        Nothing wrong with taking on Montana in the warmth of a summer sun. Enjoy the state.

        My vehicles are internet and satellite connected , that is the only reason I can still check in frequently.

    1. Rob Kailey

      Don’t fret, people. I’ve already called Quality Control concerning the wingnut troll-bots. You know their program standards are sub-par when even their insults are *that* lame.

  12. Gabby Johnson

    Curious how these fat sheriffs (safe in their office as they plan their re-election) get to pander to the NRA while at the same time they have policies in place — to protect their deputies on the street — where concealed weapon permit holders are immediately identified whenever a plate is run on a traffic stop.

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