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Putnam County refuses to give Journal News more gun owner info — would create “unprecedented public safety issue”

Putnam County refuses to give Journal News more gun owner info — would create “unprecedented public safety issue”

The Putnam County (NY) Clerk has refused to give the Lower Hudson Journal News data on gun permit holders.

The publication of gun permit holder information by the Journal News for Rockland County caused a firestorm of controversy, including retaliatory publication of information about Journal News staff and a hacking of the Journal News subscriber database.

The Journal News is threatening legal action.

At a press conference this afternoon, County Executive Mary Ellen Odell said “We firmly believe that the release of this information would create an unprecedented public safety issue.” “There will be no retreat and there will be no surrender” on this issue she said.

Assemblyman Steve Katz said, “The Journal News has really come up with the perfect map for the perpetrators and for the stalkers and for the criminals … They have yet to give us a cogent reason why, except for the reason that they can. I am sorry — that is not acceptable.”


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Still waiting for the Journal News to release the names and addresses (with an interactive map) of its newly-hired armed guards.

    turfmann in reply to rec_lutheran. | January 4, 2013 at 5:18 am

    I read somewhere (you can believe me – I read it on the internet) that the company that was hired is headed by a man who was both listed on the original map and writes for Guns and Ammo magazine.

    I smell delicious irony cooking in the kitchen, if that is indeed true.

One has to wonder what he would have done had he been asked simultaneous to Westchester and Rockland county clerks. Or before. Not to minimize his actions and I’m glad he said no, but I think his decision is based more on the media feeding frenzy and not much more.

The press conference is a perfect and fascinating glimpse into the chief conflict of our time: the holy rollers of the vicious and sanctimonious Left vs. common sense and the Constitution. The Journal News is threatening “legal action”? Right — because they couldn’t care less about the women cited by the Clerk living alone and in fear and all the other “upstanding citizens” concerned about their privacy. No, they don’t care — because they have a “higher purpose.” Disgusting people. They must be defeated.

    turfmann in reply to raven. | January 4, 2013 at 5:23 am

    You have to keep in mind that the list that they are seeking is public information and that in all likelihood they will ultimately prevail in court.

    First Amendment rights protect both those who you agree with as well as those whom you disagree.

    That said, with rights come responsibilities and sometimes consequences.

    The Putnam County Clerk might decide to engage in Civil Disobedience and not provide the list under any circumstances, court ruling or otherwise, and find himself in jail.

    The consequences for the Journal News should be a little more obvious and need not be reflected upon here.

I’ll admit to confused feelings over this.
refusing a legal foia req seems wrong to me, posting the info on a damn map seems wrong too.
right now the refusal to honor the foia req helps our side, what about next time its refused?
perhaps ccw permits should be made a non-foia item.

    I’ll admit to confused feelings over this.

    Me too.

    I’m inclined to think that in this situation, the right to privacy trumps openness in government. Note that the privacy of a class of citizens is being violated indiscriminately in a fashion which, contrary to e.g. sex offenders, does not serve the public good.

    Given their way, the Left won’t stop here. For example, they’d looove to do this with carbon footprints, but only if their own carbon footprints weren’t revealed.

    (I seem to recall moves to seqiester comparable information about civil servants and other people in government.)

      yeah it is better to err on the side of privacy, I just have a feeling this will be used against “us” soon.
      I cannot prove it, no empirical data or anything, just a feeling.
      I also remember something about that but cannot remember specifics, but it fits the pattern of protecting the royalty…

    raven in reply to dmacleo. | January 3, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    As written above and as the press conference makes clear, the newspaper can offer no newsworthy or public-interest reason to publish the names. What is the public interest being served? Can anything be weighed against the compelling right of privacy? Perhaps we can compare it to the publication of the purchasers’ of some other wholly legal item. Why? In fact, it is discrimination against those who followed the law (as surely there must be some gun owners who acquired their guns some other way.) The only purpose which can be inferred is mischievous and political, because the newspaper wishes to press an ideological cause by associating legal gun ownership with disclosures in the vein of sexual predators.

Publish. Publish it all. Because as soon as you give someone in government leeway on how to interpret laws, you’re going to see it abused. They can always change their laws so that the information is not published.

Or do you prefer a ‘dual-class’ legal system?

Their excuse, “We firmly believe that the release of this information would create an unprecedented public safety issue.” , is quite correct. They probably don’t realize the manner in which it is a likely prediction, however. That being? That being the number of people who would be legally shot by the revealed gun owners because they were attempting to force their way into the owners’ homes to do them an injury. Strictly as a means of expressing their opposition to legal gun ownership of course, but in the mistaken belief that freedom of speech includes the right to break into another person’s home and attack them. Yes, indeed, that would be a “public safety” issue for the local governments involved, wouldn’t it? It would be interesting to me to see who sued whom and who would be awarded how much in damages, if such events happened.

    I respectfully disagree – if I read you correctly – the revealed permit holders are somehow in greater danger now from home invasion thugs intending to do them harm (and possibly grab their weapons?). The criminal mind is finely attuned to flight and survival and only turns to unlawful activity when easy targets present themselves, IMO.

    Now the greater public danger seems to be in the publication-by-omission of a huge number of non-armed homes which fit into the “easy target” category.

    But I could be wrong.

      exsanguine in reply to 49erDweet. | January 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      Actually, it is both. Criminals now know where to go to steal a weapon: Stalk the place out and find out when the owners are not present, break in, steal weapon.

      …and, criminals now know who , most likely, does not have a gun and thus break in and steal stuff or harm those living there.

    Sanddog in reply to Ike. | January 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I’m not sure how someone could claim harm but not knowing I own a firearm.

      They “feel harm” in the same was a house invader would feel harm of my bullets by breaking into my house and trying to rape and kill me.

      Good guys and gals with guns threatens bad guys’ peace of mind as they set about to deprive us of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That constitution thingy is so unfair to the wicked, ya know…

      As a tribute to gun grabbers, we have obtained sub-nosed pistols and, as of the first of the year, legally carry them concealed knowing gun grabbing morons and their criminal pals are losing sleep over it.

Oh, yeah, the release of information issue? More bull from the local government. If it is information in the government’s possession and there is no law expressedly prohibiting its release, then it ought to be released. That is the rationale for every FOI Act on the books in every jurisdiction. Why is it being yakked about, then? “Squirrel!”

    Most rules governing FOI applications require an applicant to state a lawful purpose for the request. Responsible authorities are expected to review the application for compliance before releasing the information. This seem’s like where we are.

    It’s a process. It takes awhile. Patience is a virtue. Assuming the worst from the start is a fool’s or child’s game. Instant gratification isn’t how the legal system works.

FBI: More People Killed with Hammers, Clubs Each Year Than Rifles…

Wait ’til they publish THAT map..

    myohmymanatee in reply to JP. | January 3, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Every household has a hammer and a club, so anyone can be suspect.

    I wonder if Piers Morgan will decry the hammer culture rampant in American society and call for the President and Congress to stand up to the hammer lobby and their political organization People Owning Unusual and Nasty Devices.

    Then of course there is the New York favorite, throwing people under the bus, I mean subway train.

    Even as Feinstein was introducing the summary of her gun control bill to the nation, police in New York City were searching for a woman who pushed a man to his death in front of an oncoming subway train. It marked the second time in less than a month that a citizen was murdered in the Big Apple by being pushed in front of a train in a high-profile incident.

    In a nation where well over 10,000 people are murdered each year, the NYC incidents might not ordinarily be particularly noteworthy.

    Except for this: According to FBI statistics, there were 323 people killed with a rifle in the U.S. in 2011. By comparison, there were 728 people killed by “personal weapons,” such as hands, fists and feet.

    The NYC subway death qualifies in that category.

    Sorry about that. Everybody know that Obama is the one who throws people under the bus.

    David Yotham in reply to JP. | January 3, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    If I had a hammer
    I’d hammer in the morning
    I’d hammer in the evening
    All over this land
    I’d hammer out danger
    I’d hammer out a warning
    I’d hammer out stupidity from the Nanny State
    All over this land

In Florida we had that issue with CCW permit holders…but then the Legislature closed that “loophole” in the information.

Registration is step one on the road to confiscation.

And registered Florida CCW permit holders are aware of this only too well.

I’m thinking that perhaps some legal action(?) to seal the records might be in order? IANAL, but I think I’d shoot for an injunction or something.

Clearly the newspaper is trying to create a clear and present danger to those that are registered owners of firearms. Seems to me that something might be possible.

If anything, I’d be sending them the bill for the new alarm system I’d have to install because of their malfeasance. (Yeah, we’d have to prove that too….)

The best retaliatory tactic against a publication has always been to go for it’s advertisers. Starve the beast and it dies. That’s a list I’d like to see. Is there a link for that out there? I’d sure do my part from the west coast against their national companies.

Not to worry: Boehner will save us.

9thDistrictNeighbor | January 3, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Putnam County, while still quite close to NYC, is very rural. They also went for Romney (24,083 to 19,012, including 3,158 on the Conservative Party line/973 on the liberal line for Barry). May be a reason for some backbone right there.

There are good and reasonable people serving in government. County Executive Mary Ellen Odell is right! In the current context, identifying gun owners is akin to screaming fire in a crowded theater.

Unless the people targeted by the newspaper have already committed a crime against society, or have demonstrated an interest to commit such a crime, then freedom of the press does not extend to committing implicit libel and exposing law-abiding citizens to elevated risk of suffering violations at work, home, and in public.

This is irresponsible JournoLism at its best.

If they are concerned around ten thousand lives, men, women, and children, lost to gun violence, then they must be apoplectic about one million lives lost to scalpel and vacuum violence. If not, then their passion for life is feigned.

Ban scalpels and vacuums!

It’s incredible how they immediately lose any moral standing when their hypocrisy exhibits a genocidal predisposition.

The choice is to self-moderate behavior. It is not to commit premeditated murder in order to alleviate disruption to welfare or wealth. That’s what the worst criminals do. They think and act preemptively and hold the advantage over other lives.

On a related note, they need to explain how leaving men and women vulnerable to involuntary exploitation by minority interests can possible reconcile with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Until they address the one million aliens illegally entering our nation annually, the cartels and terrorists armed by the Federal government, and other criminal interests which also disregard rhetorical constraints, then they offer nothing worthwhile to the conversation.

While it is profitable to treat symptoms in perpetuity, the people with integrity will address the known causes, and the risk management model of life.

In Illinois, you need a permit — called a Firearm Owner Identification Card or Foid, pronounced phonetically — before you can buy a gun. I’ve had a Foid card for 7 years but I don’t own a gun. Publication of my name and address as a permit holder, in addition to an invasion of my privacy, would imply to anyone interested that I have a gun. But I don’t. So what is the point of publishing the names of PERMIT holders? Purely political. Which makes it journalistic malpractice.
The solution? Cancel your subscription, but first take down the name of every advertiser. Call them and tell them you’ve cancelled the paper because of objectionable content. Their ad dollars are wasted on a pub nobody sees or wants to read. Nothing gets to Editorial like a hysterical Ad Sales Manager!

Neither state laws requiring gun registration (in arguable violation of the Second Amendment) nor FOIA trump constitutional privacy rights.

Such hypocrisy. Where are the media FOIA requests for the POTUS birth certificate. He IS actually killing people.

Midwest Rhino | January 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Rand Paul was on FOX, he said it was already shown that such publication increased crime against non gun owners in TN. So this seems to be wanton reckless endangerment. Or maybe at least a civil case? Ianal, but I read wikipedia 🙂

“Reckless endangerment: A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. “Reckless” conduct is conduct that exhibits a culpable disregard of foreseeable consequences to others from the act or omission involved. The accused need not intentionally cause a resulting harm. The ultimate question is whether, under all the circumstances, the accused’s conduct was of that heedless nature that made it actually or imminently dangerous to the rights or safety of others.”

[…] William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection reported today, the neighboring county of Putnam is refusing to release the names of law abiding gun owners to the […]

In Texas, such information is not subject to FOI requests as it should be. You should not have to supply that information to any government entity to begin with, but if you absolutely must, then you shouldn’t have to worry about them blabbing it to every libtard idiot on the planet with a chip on his or her shoulder.

[…] about gun violence are all attacks on gun owners. Just today, blogger William Jacobson griped again about the Lower Hudson Journal News article that listed the names of some New York gun owners. […]