Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy says he is opposed to releasing the names and addresses of licensed gun owners.
In a statement Monday, he said that disclosing the information, which is public under state law, would endanger residents with permits and their neighbors and that it would be irresponsible to make the gun information available to people with criminal intentions.
Levy was responding to a Freedom of Information Law request from The Journal News/LoHud.com.
“The Affiliated Police Association is putting The Journal News on notice that we will hold them accountable for any incident where any of our members are involved in an incident where a person, criminal or ex-con presents themselves at the residence of one of our members as a result of their name being made public by The Journal News,” Robert Buckley, vice president of the organization, said in the release.
Richard Well, president of the Police Conference of New York, will ask that all county clerks deny requests for such records, which he said is allowable if it would endanger the life and safety of any person, the release said.
“We also urge The Journal News to cease its quest to obtain and publish this information,” Well said in the release. “It serves no legitimate purpose and could easily lead to more tragedy.”
During the public comments portion of Tuesday’s Orangetown Town Council meeting, Richard Molloy of Pearl River asked the board to condemn The Journal News for publishing a map of legally licensed pistol permit holders in Rockland and Westchester counties last month…
Councilman Denis Troy said he thought the map was irresponsible, which Councilman Thomas Diviny agreed with. The board voted to pass the resolution 4-0 with Stewart abstaining. He said he wanted to look more into possible repercussions from publishing the map before making a decision on it…
“The thing that got me when I first looked at it was I looked at a street and I said, ‘Oh my god, that guy’s dead.’ Twenty-five percent of that information, which is public information, is incorrect on that website. So if you think that somebody lives in a house, they don’t necessarily live in that house anymore,” Nulty said.
“These are law-abiding citizens. I think The Journal News went overboard on this, certainly.”
As an example, he said the list included most of the correction officers at the Rockland County Jail in New City. Because their names and home addresses were listed, and they must wear name tags while on duty, the inmates now know exactly where each guard lives, and they have been harassing and threatening those guards ever since the list appeared.
The inmates also know when the guards work, meaning they know when their families at home are alone and unprotected, and thus most subject to home invasions, kidnapping and assault. The inmates have been threatening the guards with this information since The Journal-News published the list, Nulty said, telling the guards that they have friends and family on the outside who can easily visit their homes when the guards are at work.
The chief went on to say that hundreds of people on the published list work undercover, and are not supposed to have their names and addresses made public. They include not only local village and town police here in Rockland who are detectives and on various undercover task forces such as narcotics, intelligence and organized crime, but county detectives in the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s office, in addition to hundreds or even thousands of New York City police officers who live here.
Additionally, Nulty said the northern suburbs of Rockland and Westchester Counties are home to many federal undercover officers, whose identities are also supposed to be confidential, for their own safety and to safeguard their investigations.
[New York City Council Speaker Christine] Quinn said the publication of the list was not appropriate.
“I think the rules for getting a gun need to be tougher, but if you meet the rules, and you get a license in the legal way, and you have that license, I don’t think that should be printed in a newspaper,” she said.
Quinn added that anyone who has met the rules and received a license, “you have not done anything wrong. You’ve met the legal standard.”
The problem here is threefold:
Making this list public put gun owners in danger. There are former judges on that list—even reportedly a woman who was the victim of stalking. There are lunatics on both sides of the aisle, and we have already seen proof of that. There have been threats to the paper and it’s personnel, even their families—so much so they had to hire security to protect them. And there are gun owners who have been contacted by fanatical gun opponents who have threatened their lives as well. (The gun opponents wouldn’t be using a gun, I assume?)
What good does this do? Or will it do? The friends and neighbors in Newtown, Conn. knew that the shooter’s mother was a gun collector who had guns in her home. That did not prevent the massacre; nor will listing these people’s names and addresses prevent any potential violent act by one of those gun owners or anyone in those homes in those two counties.
It’s a slippery slope. What’s next? Lists of those who are on welfare? Lists of those who subscribe to pornographic magazines? You get the point. We as Americans are entitled to some level of privacy—gun owners included.
“The whole battle over the Second Amendment has little to do with crime or any of these things” Mr. Keene said. “It has to do with culture and the view that different people have about what kind of a country this ought to be.”…
“It wasn’t until the culture wars of the late 1960′s, 70′s and 80′s that, all of a sudden, the Second Amendment became anathema to liberals who viewed it, really I think culturally, as a as symbol of an America they didn’t like, an America in which people took responsibility for themselves and for the protection of their families, an America which didn’t look to the state for the answer to all of its problems,” said Mr. Keene. “And the media, the elite media, if anything, represents that view more than almost any segment of our society.”…
“What happened there in New York with the posting of the legitimate, licensed pistol owners in Rockland County and others has had tremendously terrible consequences. As you know, now prison guards had their home addresses listed by that newspaper and are now under threat from prisoners and their allies outside,” Mr. Keene said. “This was an incredibly irresponsible thing that was an attempt by this elite to demonize people who own firearms legitimately.”
Would you publish a database of people who have filed for bankruptcy? People who have been foreclosed? People who have tax liens? Or would you say this information, while public, has no news value; tells a reader nothing he needs to know and does so at a price of discomfiting some law-abiding citizen, putting their business in the street?…
[I]f one consequence is that some New York state gun owners feel exposed, the larger consequence for all of us is a further chipping away of private spaces, a further compromise of the increasingly quaint idea that one has a right to live peacefully and an expectation to not be bothered in so doing.
This is not about freedom of the press or freedom to own guns. It is, rather, about the freedom to be left alone, and whether that’s still sustainable or whether henceforth we must all live exposed. The technology being what it is, it’s worth remembering that the answer to that question, whatever it may be, will be shaped both by journalists and by those who are not.
“Now the firestorm began when the Journal News identified gun owners in a pedophile-like interactive map,” Pirro said during the opening of her Saturday night show. “The battered woman hiding from her abuser whose address has been protected by the courts. The police officer whose family is now in jeopardy. The witness who testified against the bad guy who is in jail and, for years, has been stewing about that witness.”