Republicans in Virginia are asking circuit courts to release personal information on individuals with concealed weapons permits. The GOP said it wants information so it can send those individuals campaign materials, but one conservative Virginian tells WWBT their request is “reprehensible.”
Joseph Waymack lives in Prince George and has a concealed weapons permit through the Prince George Circuit Court. As soon as he learned about the GOP’s request for his personal information, he sent a competing letter to his circuit court.
"To data-mine hundreds of thousands of Virginians' personal information is just reprehensible," Waymack told WWBT.
Waymack also sent a letter to the Republican Party of Virginia asking them to retract their request, which was made less than a month before the state passes a law that would ban the sharing of that information.
Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Va., introduced a bill to protect the personal information on a concealed carry permit. In March it passed with overwhelming support in the General Assembly and was signed into law by the governor. The law, however, does not go into effect until July 1.
If the party does not rescind their request, Waymack said he plans to file a lawsuit.
Bob Roberts, a James Madison University political science professor, said he can see why the GOP would want to reach out to like-minded voters, but that it comes at a cost.
"From a practical point of view it is worth for Republicans to do it, from a PR sense it's going to be an embarrassment to the party because it's going to be hard to explain why you don't want other people to get it, but you can use it," Roberts said.
News that the GOP made the requests was leaked by the president of the pro-gun organization, Virginia Citizens Defense.