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article imagePutnam County rejects newspaper's request for gun permit holders

By Leigh Goessl     Jan 2, 2013 in World
Carmel - New York's Putnam County is expected to announce tomorrow that it will not be providing information on its gun permit holders to The Journal News in response to the newspaper's recent inquiry.
Putnam County is expected to make a public announcement tomorrow that it will not be releasing records of gun permit holders to The Journal News, according to a media release issued by the county.
Recently, The Journal News sparked controversy when it published an article and accompanying interactive map of gun permit holders, through information gotten under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), in Westchester and Rockland Counties; the article was entitled, "The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood".
Information had also been requested from nearby Putnam County, however that county had not immediately responded to the newspaper's request.
"The Journal News Newspaper, a Gannett Company, recently posted a map on their website that unethically reveals homeowners with pistol permits in Westchester and Rockland Counties," said the Putnam County media release. "The Journal News is now attempting to obtain and publish records in Putnam County and other counties statewide."
Last week Sen. Greg Ball, of Patterson, located in Putnam County, called The Journal News' decision "asinine" and announced he planned to introduce legislation to keep permit information confidential, excluding police and prosecutors.
“The asinine editors at the Journal News have once again gone out of their way to place a virtual scarlet letter on law abiding firearm owners throughout the region,” Ball wrote on his Senate web site on Dec. 26. "Publishing this information on a website provides criminals with a map of where they can steal firearms from lawful owners for later use in the commission of crimes. Preventing the theft of guns and their criminal misuse is an important public-policy goal. This map is bad for the good guys and good for the bad guys.”
The full statement can be read here.
The controversy later escalated after a blogger published the personal information of The Journal News' staff. The Journal News defended its position and said it was going to continue to publish this information.
“We knew publication of the database would be controversial, but we felt sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings,” CynDee Royle, the newspaper’s editor and vice president of news had said.
"There is the rule of law, and there is right and wrong, and the Journal News is clearly wrong," County Clerk Dennis Sant said in a statement, reported ABC News. "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."
Putnam County's announcement is expected to occur at noon tomorrow at the County offices in Carmel, N.Y. Senator Greg Ball, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Clerk Denis Sant and other elected officials are expected to be present.
Digital Journal reported today that The Journal News has hired armed security guards.
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