RENO NEWSPAPERS v. HALEY
234 P.3d 922 (2010)
Supreme Court of Nevada.
July 1, 2010.
3. Statistical abstracts of data compiled by a sheriff regarding permits applied for or issued pursuant to NRS 202.3653 to 202.369, inclusive, including, but not limited to, the number of applications received and permits issued, may be released to any person.
The only affirmative grant of confidentiality appears in subsection 1 of NRS 202.3662. This subsection, by its terms, extends the protection of confidentiality only to applications, information within the applications, and information related to the investigation of the applicant.
The statute is notably silent, however, as to whether the name of a permittee, or records generated as part of an investigation, suspension, or revocation of the permit, are confidential. Additionally, Nevada's concealed firearms statutes repeatedly recognize a difference between an applicant and a permittee. NRS 202.3662(2) ("Any records, regarding an applicant or permittee may be released. . . ."); NRS 202.3657(3) ("The sheriff shall deny an application or revoke a permit if he determines that the applicant or permittee: . . . ."); NRS 202.3657(4) ("The sheriff may deny an application or revoke a permit if he receives a sworn affidavit . . . that the applicant or permittee has or may have committed an offense . . . ."); compare NRS 202.3665(1) ("If a sheriff who is processing an application for a permit receives notification . . . that the applicant has been:. . . ."), with NRS 202.3665(2) ("If a sheriff who has issued a permit to a permittee receives notification . . . that the permittee has been: . . . .").
Haley makes two arguments to extend to permittees the limited grant of confidentiality
for applicants in NRS 202.3662(1). First, he suggests that the Legislature must have intended subsection 1 to apply to both applications and permits because, in providing for the release of statistical abstracts of data "to any person," subsection 3 of NRS 202.3662 expressly refers to "permits applied for or issued" and "the number of applications received and permits issued." Second, he argues that because permits grow out of applications and applications are confidential, permits must be confidential too. We disagree.
Whatever merit Haley's arguments might have if we were to read NRS 202.3662 in isolation from the Act, they fail in light of the explicit rules of construction stated in NRS 239.001, which says that open records are the rule, and that exceptions to the rule are narrowly construed:
1. The purpose of this chapter is to foster democratic principles by providing members of the public with access to inspect and copy public books and records to the extent permitted by law;
2. The provisions of this chapter must be construed liberally to carry out this important purpose; and