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Civitas Media owns over 100 publications, including 88 newspapers, in 21 U.S. states. On January 19, the company’s employees were emailed about a “project” to build a massive database of gun owners.

According to an internal email sent by the media conglomerate, the database of individuals with the right to carry concealed firearms will be built using public record requests.

Ohio’s Buckeye Firearms Association obtained the internal message, which was sent by Jim Lawitz, the Content Director of Civitas Media. The email said, “We are launching two enterprise projects across our newsrooms this month. The first will deal with the creeping influence of heroin in our communities. The deadly drug has quietly taken over, reaching across all age groups and eclipsing meth as the recreational drug of choice.”

It continued, “The second project examines the explosion of ‘conceal and carry’ gun permits across the U.S. Through public records act requests, we will attempt to build state-by-state databases that list those who have the right to carry a concealed weapon.”

When the Buckeye Firearms Association reached out to Civitas, Lawitz said that despite his email, the company does not plan to build a database.

Lawitz said, “We do not typically publicly comment on internal propriety communication. However, we have no plans to publish any names on any lists. Further, we are open to discuss any published reports.”

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