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Officials Stand Firm in Position to Keep Gun Permit Records from Newspaper

The Journal News' request for names/addresses was denied; officials stand behind decision.

The Putnam County Executive was joined by County Clerk Dennis Sant, State Assemblyman Steve Katz and State Sen. Greg Ball to announce that Putnam County will not be releasing the records of Putnam Pistol Permits to the Journal News

The Journal News Newspaper, a Gannett Company, recently posted a map on their website that revealed homeowners with pistol permits in Westchester and Rockland Counties. The Journal News is now attempting to obtain and publish records in Putnam County and other counties statewide.

The following was issued in a statement by Senator Greg Ball:

“I’m proud to stand with Putnam County and proud that Putnam won’t be releasing its pistol permit records. We will work as a team to leverage every protection for our shared constituencies. 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. This is clearly a violation of privacy, and needs to be corrected immediately. The same elitist eggheads who use their editorial page to coddle terrorists and criminals are now treating law-abiding citizens like level three sexual predators. Every person with commonsense should be offended,” said Senator Greg Ball.

“Publishing this information on a website provides criminals with a map of where they can steal firearms from lawful owners for later use in the commission of crimes. We have victims of domestic violence, retired cops with families and good decent, law abiding people, all being publicly exposed by the idiotic Journal News editors, and its time for Putnam to draw a line in the sand and say, enough is enough.” 

Sant, who has served in the County Clerk’s Office since 1978, refused to comply with the newspaper’s FOIL request seeking the same information on Putnam gun permit holders. Sant cited the safety of Putnam’s citizens as his reason for not complying.

“Our world today is far different than it was only a few years ago. Computers, social media, Google maps – much of our lives can easily be exposed and made available whether we want it to be or not,” said Sant. “Today you can take what The Journal News put into print, go on Google Earth and virtually be sitting on the front porch of a house reading the license plate of a car parked in the driveway. This county clerk refuses to put law abiding citizens in harm’s way.”

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said she is as adamant in her support for Sant as she is that the issue at hand, the release of pistol permit holders’ names and addresses, has nothing to do with gun control or the recent shooting tragedy in Newtown, CT.

“We simply cannot stand by and allow this to happen,” Odell said. “Safeguarding our citizens is of the utmost importance right now. The FOIL request by the Journal News was reckless as it puts every Putnam family at risk: people with legally registered guns as well as those who have chosen not to have a weapon in their house.”  

Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith said while he is a strong believer in open government he believes this type of information should only be releases for legal court proceedings.

“I strongly believe that making these names and addresses public information to potential perpetrators of crime is bad public policy that puts law abiding citizens in potential danger,” said Smith. “I am deeply troubled by the fact that releasing this information will provide the names and addresses of members of law enforcement including members who may be working undercover.”

Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy said innocent people may find they are targets of a criminal element.

“Just because the information may be public does not necessarily mean it is prudent to allow that information to get into the hands of certain individuals, those of a criminal element who would use that information to further victimize people here in Putnam County,” said Levy. “The paper should be very concerned about who is reviewing this information and how they are going to use it to potentially commit further crimes.”

John Dickerson January 04, 2013 at 03:30 PM
I'm heartened to see Putnam County authorities as well as Senator Greg Ball and assemblymen Steve Katz take this important stand, not just for the defense of our second amendment liberties and rights, but also because gun control laws, wherever such laws are enacted, tend overwhelmingly to result in more crime, not less, than in jurisdictions where citizens' rights to own firearms are unfettered. In case no one at the Journal News, its readership and advertisers haven't noticed, criminals, the insane and the legally incompetent don't generally obey the law. They do often take advantage of laws that prevent or impair honest citizens of the right to protect themselves, their homes and their children from the acts of criminals.
Edwin Herman January 04, 2013 at 09:01 PM
The behavior of the Journal News in publishing information about gun owners was despicable as well as unbelievably stupid. I can't imagine what they hoped to accomplish. But Senator Ball's referring to the newspaper as using their editorial page to "coddle terrorists and criminals" is infantile, has nothing to do with the issue and adds nothing to the discussion. I hope that Senator Ball can do more than call names when he is representing us in the Senate The best way to deal with the outrage that the newspaper has provoked among us is to vote with our wallets. The Journal News is a business that needs to make money. If it seriously started to lose subscribers and advertizers, it would hear our voices loud and clear Ed Herman
Demelzabunny January 04, 2013 at 11:50 PM
If your neighbor had a gun, wouldn't you want to know? The whole thing could be avoided if NO ONE had a gun. Case closed.
RGD32162 January 04, 2013 at 11:56 PM
I'm a gun owner who is an avid target shooter, no hunting and definitely no killing people. I was brought up around guns (my Dad was a rifle instructor at Ft Benning during WW2) Bith Dad and I were competition shooters (I lost interest as a ten once I got into hockey, girls, auto racing and concerts. Dad passed away in 2011 and I got all of his guns and decided to get back into target shooting) I have the "old fashoned" type guns that take skill to shoot, bolt action 270 ans 30 06, bolt action and lever action 22s, 6 shot revolvers (22 and 357) No 60 shot AK 47s or AR 15s or Glocks. I am not a criminal and resent that the Journal News has labeled legitimate gun ownres criminals. They need to worry more about the illegal guns out there and not registered ones. We also need to look more into why people are doing things like Newtown and Webster NY. Remember Timothy McVeigh killed many people with fertilizer and kerosene. Should we compile a list of everyone who has purchased those items ?? Also, maybe we need to make up a list of anyone who has been convited of driving under the influence, they have put many more people at risk than my guns ever have
Anne Iacobuzio January 05, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Very seriously, I would rather know which of my teenagers friends' and families had porn on their computers.
RGD32162 January 06, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Honestly I'd like to see a list of anyone who has been treated for a mental illness . Wouldn't you like to know if you had a psychotic 21 year old living nextdoor or a 60 year old who had been convivted of killing his grandmother with a hammer ???
RGD32162 January 06, 2013 at 03:03 PM
We need to make a list of everyone who has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. Would you have allowed your kids to ride in the car with "Roccer Mom" or Dianne Schuler ???
RGD32162 January 06, 2013 at 03:33 PM
In 1985 my Mom had her first of many strokes. I was a senior in college at that time and was working fro a carpenter as well. one day when I was home I was in my bedroom working on a term paper. The doorbell rang and Mom answered the door, I was still upstairs. It was a man who began spouting off stuff about God. Mom told him she had her religion and wasn't interested in what he had to say and that he should leave. He came in anyway and shut the door. Mom called me to come downstairs. I asked the man to leave and he said "I'm not leaving until I',m ready" I went back upstairs, unlocked Dad's gun safe (we actually locked up all of our guns like responsible gun owners do)and took out my 16 gague shotgun and loaded it. I went back downstairs and told him that if he didn't leave now I WOULD shoot him and at that distance a 16 gague on full choke with #8 shot would cut him in half. He did leave but told us he hoped we both rotted in hell. Mom immediately called the police and the man was picked up a few minures later down the street. He had server time in prison for RAPE !!!!! That night Dad gave Mom his 6mm Walther pistol he had raken from a German officer during the Bulge. It was small enough that Mom could handle it even in her condition. This happened in YORKTOWN !!! not in the South Bronx. What would have happened if I hadn't been home that afternoon and hadn't taken out the shotgun ???

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