New York county refuses to release gun info

The Watchdog Blog – by JEFF HORSEMAN

Earlier we covered the outrage that erupted when a New York newspaper published an online map showing the names and addresses of people with handgun permits in two counties. Critics said the map endangered the public and violated gun owners’ right to privacy.

The Journal News’ publisher defended the map, which was created using information obtained from public records requests. It accompanied a story about the debate over how much the public should know about gun ownership.

Now another New York county is refusing to provide gun ownership information to the newspaper. Officials in Putnam County are refusing The Journal News’ public records request even though a state official said the county is breaking the law.

“I’m proud to stand with Putnam County and proud that Putnam won’t be releasing its pistol permit records,” said state Sen. Greg Ball in a Journal News article. “The asinine editors at the Journal News have gone out of their way to place a virtual scarlet letter on law abiding firearm owners throughout the region and I thank God that Putnam County has a clerk with the guts to stand up and draw the line here in Putnam County.”

Not surprisingly, Journal News President and Publisher Janet Hasson had a different view.

“We believe the law is clear that this is public information and the residents of Putnam County are entitled to see it,” she was quoted as saying. “We’re troubled that county officials have apparently switched their position since we first requested the information.”

Meanwhile, The Journal News continues to deal with a strong backlash over its map. On Wednesday, Jan. 2, policeinvestigated the contents of a suspicious envelope sent to the newspaper. The white powder in the envelope was found to be non-toxic.

Fellow journalists are also questioning the map. Washington Post blogger Eric Wemple wrote about how he thinks the Journal News erred.

7 thoughts on “New York county refuses to release gun info

  1. Good for Putnam county, but since these brave souls have men with guns protecting them now don’t expect them to stop any time soon.

    It’s like they are hoping that someone will take matters into their own hands just so they can scream about gun control and try to justify their own actions further.


  2. If it’s public right to know, then it seems to me that those who want to know should exercise their “right”, and go find out themselves. I seriously doubt that there were very many people even interested until this bitch made a big deal out of it. If someone wants to know then let them find out. A newspaper is in the business of reporting the news, not villifying honest citizens.

    1. Exactly, what I was thinking too. Releasing information that she acquired from the county and posting it for business purposes, automatically abuses and oversteps her authority. The information is for a one on one public information. Not to take and use and abuse for business purposes. If people want to know, they can get the information themselves, as it is not in the best interest for EVERYONE to know. Hence, that is the reason why they have these records on file in government offices and not in open advertising domain for the media and newspapers to abuse for their own selfish propaganda. The Putnam County Clerk is smart enough to know this and any other County Clerk, for that matter, should be smart enough to know this as well and to use discretion when releasing public information such as this.

  3. Nice of Journal News to inform criminals who DOESN’T have a gun. Now if any of them get attacked they know whom to sue for criminal negligence causing death or injury.

  4. No one questions that “FOIA” the newspaper used to create that map of gun owners? WHY! I have done a couple FOIA requests, they NEVER get done in a day. That is pure BS that they were done so quickly for that paper. I say that data was already compiled and probably in the hands of the paper on the day of the shooting. They were prepared/waiting ……………

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