The Westchester County Journal News recently published online the names and addresses of New York gun permit holders in Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties using an interactive map. "Red dots" show where licensed pistol or revolver owners live and "blue dots" mark the residence of those who have purchased a firearm or updated the information on a permit in the past five years. This dangerous release of personal data provides valuable information to criminals intent on stealing legal firearms. This is a clear case of harassment and a thinly veiled attempt to dissuade gun owners from seeking gun permits.
In a statement, the Westchester County Journal News -- owned by Gannett, Inc. (USA Today) -- admitted that it sought information on the types of handguns possessed and the number of guns owned and said that "had we been able to obtain those records, we would have published them." Janet Hasson, its publisher, stated that "we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings."
The NRA has sponsored and actively supported legislation throughout the country to protect this information as confidential. Thirty states have already enacted protections for gun owners by classifying personal permit information contained in firearm permits as confidential. In New York, S.2360 (Seward) and A.1811 (Gunther) were introduced in 2011 to keep this information privileged, however, both state legislative chambers failed to move this important legislation during the most recent legislative session. The NRA supported these bills and will continue to advocate for this legislation in order to prevent clear attacks on the privacy of legal gun owners. Under current state law, this information is public. However, the public release of such personal information serves no public interest and only exposes law-abiding citizens to potential criminal acts.
Please call the Westchester Journal News at 914-694-9300 and 800-942-1010 and let them know that their newspaper and its advertisers will lose the business of gun owners if they do not remove from the internet their reckless and irresponsible "gun thief shopping list" database.