LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Mike Beebe said Thursday he has decided not to veto a bill to deny public access to the personal information of people who hold or apply for permits to carry concealed handguns.
Beebe said he will allow Senate Bill 131 by Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood, to become law without his signature.
The governor’s office said in a statement that Beebe opposed the bill because he saw no problems resulting from a legislative compromise that was reached in 2009 to balance protecting the privacy of permit holders and applicants with the public’s right to access government records.
At that time the Legislature made personal information about permit holders and applicants exempt from the state Freedom of Information law except for names and zip codes. SB 131 will make all information, including names of government-issued permit holders, secret.
The bill passed in the Senate on a 24-9 vote and in the House, 84-3.
“With overwhelming support in both houses and no constitutional concerns about the bill, Beebe has decided to let the bill go into law without his signature, and that will happen next Monday,” the statement from the governor’s said.