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Putnam County won't give gun info, armed guards at NY paper

Officials in Putnam County, NY, say they'll refuse a newspaper's request to release the names and addresses of residents with pistol permits.

Robert Freeman of the state's Committee on Open Government says the county outside New York City would be violating state law if it withholds public data.

In December, the Journal News published online maps that allow viewers to see the names and addresses of pistol and revolver permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties.

Critics, including New York State Senator Greg Ball of Patterson calls that an invasion of privacy. Some say it could endanger permit holders.  Ball, a Republican, says publishing this information provides criminals with a map of where they can steal firearms from lawful owners for later use in the commission of crimes.  Ball is planning to introduce legislation to keep permit information private except to prosecutors and police.  As an assemblyman he introduced a similar bill, which failed in the state Assembly.

The newspaper stands by the project. It sought the information after the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

 

Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy says innocent people may find they are targets of a criminal element who would use that information to further victimize them. 

 

County Clerk Dennis Sant says some people have called his office who have Orders of Protection and now own a gun to protect themselves from those who have abused them in the past or are retired cops and other law abiding citizens.

 

The newspaper is being protected by armed guards.  Publisher Janet Hasson says the guards have been posted at its White Plains headquarters and in a satellite office in West Nyack since last week.

She told The New York Times, "The safety of my staff is my top priority."

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