WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Westchester’s County Executive has called on the Journal News to pull its controversial gun permit map from its website.
“The time has come to take the map down,” Rob Astorino wrote to the paper’s publisher and president Janet Hasson.
In the letter, Astorino asked that the Journal News “immediately shut down the interactive map of pistol permit holders.”
“The right of the Journal News to publish is protected by the First Amendment,” Astorino’s letter said. “But simply because the right to do something exists does not necessarily make it right to do.”
The map was posted online shortly after the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn.
The newspaper compiled the gun permit data through Freedom of Information requests, since gun permit information is public record.
But the interactive map of gun permit holders in Rockland and Westchester Counties triggered national attention and backlash from many corners.
Some opponents worried the map would offer criminals the exact location of guns.
The paper argued that the map serves as an important source of information following the Sandy Hook shooting.
“Whatever your purpose in publishing the map, surely three weeks time was enough to make your point. Constitutional rights – even those protected by the First Amendment – are not absolute,” Astorino’s letter went on. “The issue is no longer protecting speech but rather protecting the public, including employees of the Journal News.”
Following a request from the Journal News, Putnam County officials refused to hand over gun permit information for residents there.