On the heels of yet another burglary that has raised suspicion of a connection to the Journal News’ interactive gun license-map, the Rockland County Clerk’s Office has requested in writing that the White Plains-based newspaper take the map down.
Regulations in NY SAFE, the new gun control law passed this week by the state of New York, preclude the release of gun permit information for a 120-period, allowing gun-owners to request a privacy exemption.
In a letter sent to the Journal News and released to other local media this afternoon, Rockland County Clerk Paul Piperato states, “In the spirit of the SAFE Act and to safeguard the exemption afforded gun permit holders in Rockland County, I request that you remove the interactive map and any information which depicts the names and addresses of gun permit holders in Rockland County from your website.”
Officials in nearby Putnam County have said the NY SAFE Act requires they do not reply to the Journal News’ FOIL request for gun permit holders names and addresses. Putnam had refused to release the names and addresses and the Journal News promised legal action.
The Journal News continues to have armed guards posted at their Rockland and Westchester offices as well as at homes of executive editors and Gannet CEO Gracia Martore.
Dear Ms. Hasson, Ms. Royle and Ms. Moore:
In my capacity as the Rockland County Clerk, I write to request that your newspaper remove the interactive map and any information which depicts the names and addresses of gun permit holders in Rockland County from your website located at www.lohud.com. The information on the interactive map was based upon a response by my office dated December 21, 2012 to a request made by or on behalf of your newspaper under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
As you are aware, on January 15, 2013, the People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, enacted the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013. The SAFE Act amends various provisions of different state statutes but, in particular, prohibits the release of information about licenses or applicants for a license from disclosure to the public during the first one hundred twenty (120) days following the effective date of the law.
The importance of this statutory prohibition in the SAFE Act is to allow gun permit holders and applicants for licenses to have a fair opportunity to request an exemption from the release of their names and addresses from the application before it becomes a public record. The interactive map and any information published by your newspaper on the website deprives gun permit holders in Rockland County the opportunity to avail themselves of this statutory right.
In the spirit of the SAFE Act and to safeguard the exemption afforded gun permit holders in Rockland County, I request that you remove the interactive map and any information which depicts the names and addresses of gun permit holders in Rockland County from your website located at www.lohud.com. Also, please refrain from any further disclosure of information about gun permit holders in Rockland County during the one hundred twenty (120) day period or until my office has an opportunity to furnish your newspaper with an updated list, through FOIL, consistent with the law.
Thank you in advance for your prompt response to this request.
Very truly yours,
Rockland County Clerk