Mar 08 2014

Judge Orders Release of Gun Owners’ Records to Newspaper


You might remember Journal News as the New York-based newspaper that published the names and addresses of concealed carry permit holders in two counties. The story came with an interactive map so readers could see exactly where their neighborhood gun owners were located.

The information was obtained through Freedom of Information requests that the paper sent out to Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties. However, Putnam refused to give up the data, reportedly on ethical and moral grounds. Shortly after, the NY SAFE Act was pushed through, and along with it a provision that would allow permit holders to keep their information private – provided they fill out a special form. Though the measure was in direct response to the Journal News article, the paper filed another request for both Putnam and Rockland counties. Both counties refused to comply, stating that releasing personal information would endanger law-abiding gun owners.

A screen-cap of the interactive map published by Journal News.

A screen-cap of the interactive map published by Journal News.

In October, the paper filed a suit against Putnam county for not releasing the information.

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary released a five-page decision in which he ordered Putnam county to hand over the information. He cited the NY SAFE Act’s provision for privacy, stating that any names still on the public record were fair game for publication. “These provisions address legitimate issues of privacy and safety held by pistol license holders,” he wrote. “However, they also unequivocally direct the public disclosure of names and addresses of license holders who did not choose to seek an exception.” However, requests for privacy can be denied on a whim and take months to process.

Last week, the paper filed a separate lawsuit against Rockland county.

Journal News’ editor and vice president, CynDee Royle, says that the paper won’t publish the information this time around, but only because the list is no longer “comprehensive.” She lamented that the data would only be useful for analysis since the state “allowed” so many gun owners to opt-out of public record.

Putnam has announced that they plan to appeal the decision.

In the wake of the original publication, 26 staffers at the paper were fired, including 17 journalists. Both Rockland and Westchester counties also had nearly 600 burglaries over a period of four months, though Journal News claimed the burglaries had nothing to do with their map because only three of the homes hit were on the published list. However, the map was implicated in at least one home break-in. Several ex-cons have commented on the list, saying it does, in fact, make a criminal’s life easier and safer.


  1. Richard Levangie

    sooo new york is in effect aiding the criminals effort to rob us. do they receive kick backs from these robberies as well ??
    i’m finding this behavior contrary to common senseā€¦ putting peoples lives in jeopardy like this.
    i just hope those counties can hold out a bit longer and keep this complete injustice from happening !

  2. mmoanswer

    Fuck that bitch !

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