The clerk of a New York county has refused to provide a newspaper taking flak for publishing local gun permit owner information with details on citizens within the locality’s borders.
Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant announced yesterday that he would deny the Journal News’ request for information on gun permit holders living within the county. In a controversial move, the Journal News published an interactive map of handgun permit holders in Weschester and Rockland counties last week, inciting backlash from many within and without the firearms community.
Putnam County was to be the third county on the map. County Clerk Dennis Sant and County Executive Mary Ellen Odell will hold a press conference on Thursday to further explain the circumstances, reports Reuters. New York Senator Greg Ball will also make an appearance to talk about the possibility of creating legislature that makes permit data only accessible to police.
“There is the rule of law, and there is right and wrong and the Journal News is clearly wrong,” Sant said. “I could not live with myself if one Putnam pistol permit holder was put in harm’s way, for the sole purpose of selling newspapers.”
The county clerk’s office has been bombarded with phone calls and emails since the publication of the map, urging Sant not to release the information to the Journal News. This coincided with a boycott of the paper and the hiring of a private armed security firm to guard the Journal’s publishing headquarters. According to the Rockland County Times, the Journal has seen a large influx of “negative correspondence”, which led to security concerns.
Update 1/4/2013: During a press conference held yesterday, January 3, Putnam County Officials stood by their decision to withhold the gun permit information. County Executive Mary Ellen Odell said the reason for the refusal was to protect the safety of Putnam residents, “this is not about defending the issue of gun control…this issue is strictly about the privacy and safety of our law-abiding citizens.”
County Clerk Dennis Sant attributed social media and online maps as major factors in his decision.
“What do [permit holders] find the days before Christmas? Their home is on Google Maps. You look down Google Earth you can go right down their driveway. You can read the license plate on their car. What an invasion of privacy. Did anybody ever think about this before they put this information out?” Sant said.