Robert Horne of The Cherokee Scout asked the North Carolina county’s sheriff for information on gun owners, which is public by law, in order to assess how many residents had guns.
When the sheriff balked and said it was not public information, Horne went to the city attorney, who said it is public. Then the sheriff posted the information request on Facebook, and the controversy officially began.
“As the Sheriff of Cherokee County I feel that it is my responsibility to provide for the safety of all citizens of Cherokee County,” Sheriff Keith Lovin wrote. “My Office will continue to support the constitution and all amendments including the Second Amendment. I will continue to uphold my Oath of Office and serve the Citizens of Cherokee County.”
The paper dropped its information request on Feb. 22, one day after the publisher, David Brown, wrote a lengthy apology to readers that cited both he and Horne as parents and loyal members of the community, and apologized for Horne’s “tremendous error in judgement.”
Then, on Tuesday, Horne told media reporter Jim Romenesko that he’s decided to quit his post at the paper and move out of the state after numerous death threats. He claimed the publisher did not pressure him to step down, but did it for the good of the paper.