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.

Image from R0Ng on the flickr Creative Commons

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  • HorseTeethSam

    Treating law-abiding people like dangerous bogeymen is never a good idea. Good for Mr. Sant.

  • joe

    i think you should publish the names and addressses of every re[porter and editor of that newspaper…i think the names and addresses of every doctor or nurse or anyone aiding an abortion should be published, too…

    • Nick

      Somebody already published names/addresses of key reporters and staff.

  • FedUp

    If Journal News persists in this madness, I believe the list information should be furnished to the Rockland County Times with the condition that the list be published under the the header “Criminals can feel free to kidnap, rape, rob, plunder or do anything else to Rockland County citizens whose names are not on this list. They are defenseless.”

  • Guest

    Armed security? Does The Journal actually think that having a gun for protection- even if it’s in the hands of someone else- is secure? Little do they know!

    Unless they have a 24/7/365 armed guard they are NOT safe.
    And besides, by hiring guards with guns to protect them they show a level of hypocrisy that is incredible.
    One can only hope that, since their names are not on the list of those with permits, but their names are now public along with their addresses and phone numbers, that the REAL bad guys will use it as their roadmap to success with break-ins and assaults, of every nature, since they KNOW their targets are unarmed.
    What incredible stupidity on the part of that paper and it’s leader, Hasson. I wish her, and them, luck. They’re going to need it!

  • Rachel

    Mr. Sant…my hero! A man with some common sense. Something in very short supply in the USA today.

  • M40

    I know times are tough and all, but WHY would any security company stoop to protect these jerks? I think it would be fitting if they couldn’t find any armed folks willing to protect them.

    I wonder whether this security firm is in their town… did they publish the names/addresses of the very folks who are now providing their protection?