Legislator pulls together unlikely coalition to condemn Journal News gun map
BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
The Journal News editorial board and publisher Janet Hasson were condemned Friday, January 4 by law enforcement, a bipartisan group of legislators, County Clerk Paul Piperato and the five major political parties of Rockland County, for their publication of an interactive map exposing the addresses of gun owners on the website www.lohud.com.
The unlikely crew of politicos were pulled together by Deputy Minority Leader of the County Legislature Frank Sparaco (R-Valley Cottage). While bipartisan gathering are common, it is virtually unprecedented to see party leaders gather in unison on a controversial issue.
Sparaco explained, “We have all come together here today in a bipartisan approach to publicly condemn the Journal News for their ill-conceived attempt to criminalize law abiding gun owners in Rockland County. The decision by The Journal News to publish all the names and addresses of gun owners in Rockland County was reckless and ridiculous. Regardless of anyone’s position on the issue of gun control, people on both sides of the debate have agreed that publicizing personal information of legal gun owners served no positive purpose. It is likely, in fact, that their decision to do so has posed a serious threat to residents.”
The group of officials indicated support for a state law prohibiting the publication of pistol permit information. They also advertised a new initiative forthcoming whereby gun owners will have the opportunity to pick up free trigger locks for their guns at a to-be-determined county office building.
Present at the Rockland County press conference were Sheriff Louis Falco, Spring Valley Police Chief Paul Modica, Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan, the South Nyack police chief, County Legislators Ilan Schoenberger, Aron Weider and Tony Earl, Clerk Paul Piperato, and the committee leaders of the Republican, Democratic, Independence, Working Families and Conservative Parties.
Rockland County Democratic Chairwoman Kristen Stavisky said as a Democrat she is supportive of stronger gun control but noted, ”I understand this is a different issue.”
Amazingly, a self-described liberal, pro-gun control member of the Working Families Party Executive Committee told the Rockland County Times that what the Journal News did, “Wasn’t journalism. It was a liberal agenda.”
Retired legislator Gerold Bierker, a registered Conservative, said he is a proud permit holder. “Everyone should be,” he said. “It means I am a free citizen and not merely a subject of the government.”