NY Paper Doubles Down: Publishing More Gun Owner’s Names and Addresses

The New York newspaper that drew criticism for publishing the names and addresses of hundreds of legal gun permit holders is doubling down by publishing the personal information of even more law-abiding gun owners.

To great criticism, the Journal News published an interactive map showing the names and addresses of the legal gun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties just before Christmas.

Now the paper has announced it will next publish the names and addresses of permit-holders in Putnam County with an eye toward eventually politicizing the names and addresses of every gun owner in the state.

The Journal News has defended its controversial violation of the privacy of New York’s legal gun owners by claiming that since the records are open to the public to find in government archives, they should be allowed to publish all the names and addresses.

New York State Senator Greg Ball slammed the Journal News, saying that the paper is treating law-abiding citizens like “sex offenders.”

“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. The immediate elimination of the information posted on the Journal News Website is the only way we can ensure the safety and liberty of these New Yorkers,” said Mr. Ball in a statement. “This is clearly a violation of privacy, and needs to be corrected immediately. The same elitist egg heads who use their editorial page to coddle terrorists and criminals are now treating law abiding citizens like level three sexual predators.”

Others have said that the paper has put the lives of the state’s gun owners in danger by giving criminals a virtual map to their homes.
Several laws are being prepared in the state capital in Albany to make the names and addresses of the Empire State’s gun owners private.

Al Tompkins of the Florida-based Poynter Institute criticized his fellow journalists in New York for the publication of the gun owners’ names, worrying that this abuse of government open records would end up hurting the standing of open records laws with voters and politicians alike.

“I suspected that legislative backlash might follow, and it would be a worse mistake than publishing the data,” Tompkins said of the possible harm to such laws.

A similar situation threatened in Illinois in 2011. The Associated Press had asked anti-Second Amendment State Attorney General Lisa Madigan if it could publish the names and addresses of registered gun owners in Illinois; she agreed and ordered the state police to turn over the records. But the police refused to do so and pleaded with the state legislature to craft some legislation so that they wouldn’t have to.

Illinois State Senator Kirk Dillard obliged and a law was quickly written and passed to prevent the state from publicizing the names and address of Illinois gun owners. Even Illinois’ anti-gun governor saw the sense and political need to sign the bill.

Florida and Tennessee also protect the personal information of registered gun owners.

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  • ParisParamus

    Why were there so few Rockland County “hits” on the map? I think the map is BS; so few in Rockland? No way.

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  • arcman46

    The idiocracy of this is that now the criminals know which houses to hit and which ones might have an armed owner waiting for them.

    • retired.military

      My thoughts exactly. If I was a thief I would hit the neighborhoods with fewer guns.

  • BillinDetroit

    I have a better idea … since they are taking so much flack for posting the info on the gun owners, why not post the info on the unarmed instead? 😎

    That will save the criminals from having to buy a Bresslers.

  • Okay, NOW it’s the time to go after the businesses that advertise in the paper. Get them to pull their ads — and thus their advertising dollars — in protest and the paper will fold faster than Superman on laundry day.

  • Joe_Miller

    I’m sitting here laughing because I don’t think they have any idea what’s going to befall them. There’s all kinds of public and semi-public information out there. One can probably figure out the names of the newspaper’s staff’s kids and spouses, what their hobbies are, what restaurants they frequent. It’s going to be a real manure storm.

    • LiberalNightmare

      Kids and spouses should probably be off-limits, though I doubt your average leftist would think so.

      • jim_m

        Let the left play the game by the rules they keep. Kids, spouses, neighbors, employers, coworkers are all fair game.

  • herddog505

    I really have to wonder at these people’s mental state. Quite aside from the fact that they are practically begging for retaliation, is this REALLY how they view the world? Do they REALLY think that publicizing the names and personal information of law-abiding citizens is a good idea? Seriously, what the hell are they thinking?

    I must say, too, that the lack of blow-back from their (I assume) fellow lefties is, while not surprising, somewhat disappointing.

    • Vagabond661

      We should demand that all newspapers and news media condemn this act of intimidation. Comedians need to start making jokes about the newspaper and their staff. Demonstrations need to happen outside their building and I LOVE the suggestion of going after their advertisers.

      • LiberalNightmare

        Maybe Jamie Foxx can do an ad when he takes a break from filming Django Unchained 2

    • jim_m

      Do they REALLY think that publicizing the names and personal information of law-abiding citizens is a good idea?

      I think that this demonstrates the fact that they (both the paper and the left in general) view gun ownership to be a criminal act.

    • “Do they REALLY think that publicizing the names and personal information of law-abiding citizens is a good idea? Seriously, what the hell are they thinking?”

      They’re not, really. They see guns as icky and evil, and those who own them as icky and evil. Therefore, all the right-thinking people (like themselves) will want to know where all the icky and evil people with the icky and evil guns are.

      And those who protest such things are icky and evil themselves, and should be watched VERY carefully lest they snap and go slaughter kids themselves.

  • Patricia Arnold

    Is this information about NY State pistol permit privacy laws from a comment at Legal Insurrection correct and applicable to this episode?


    The newspaper should not have been given the list of gun owners in the first place, as doing so was a violation of New York State law as amended in February 2012: “AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to pistol permit privacy.” It’s a short piece written in surprisingly clear language, and you can read it at:
    [Note that the wording in brackets indicates old law that is now omitted.]

    Two key points:
    First, these records are NOT public records any longer (note the brackets), but are deemed confidential:
    “The name and address of any person to whom an application for any license has been granted shall be [a public record] CONFIDENTIAL AND SHALL NOT BE MADE AVAILABLE EXCEPT AS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION.

    Second, this confidential information CANNOT legally be released to anyone except law enforcement:
    “A request for the entire list of licensees, or for all licensees in a geographic area, shall be denied, except to any law enforcement agency or any entity acting on behalf of or providing services to any law enforcement agency.”

    Therefore, the newspaper received this information in violation of state law. Surely their publication of illegally obtained records is NOT fair game, as Prof Jacobson wonders in the title of this post. Someone should be charged and punished for the commission of this crime – perhaps the county clerk for releasing the information or perhaps the newspaper for receiving and disseminating it. Like that will ever happen.

    This episode is not a matter of manners or freedom of the press, it is about a violation of penal law. I believe the actual illegality that underlies the release of confidential information about private citizens who are not suspected of any crime should be the focus of the public debate. Please share this information and the links as widely as possible. We need to demand an investigation and prosecution for this violation of the law.

    • UOG

      Patricia, nothing loads for me at your second link. Is it just me? The “AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to pistol permit privacy” is language from a bill submitted, not from passed and signed legislation. It’s my understanding this bill died in committee… but I haven’t taken the time to do to much additional research on the bill’s fate. It have to be passed, signed and after its implementation date for this to be the law-of-the-land.

    • BlueAngel124

      Thank goodness my state has a law precluding/preventing release of gun owners information. Apparently some people in our state have more sense than those in New York and I say this kindly because oftentimes I disagree with our “elite” politicians.

      Having said that, New York editors have serious mental problems or priorities in their quest for higher ratings. They seem more inclined to hurt the lawful folks than to go after the UNlawful persons. I firmly believe that The Journal will suffer legal repercusions due to their illegal actions. Lawmakers better move faster because if I was a gun owner in New York, I would seek legal actions against the State for putting me and my loved ones lives in danger. Yes, the legislature had a hand in writting the Freedom of Information Act in your state. We cannot and MUST not allow sensitive information be available to the public because we see how this privilege can be abused.

      All these states that have such a lenient Freedom of Information Act as New York should take notice and change their law fast. Not every gun owner is as patient as the gun owners in New York who are being victimized by their own media and legislature. Enough said.

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  • This kind of crap gets people killed. Now we know the real criminals, it’s the ones on the side of the Usurper Government that want to control people and take away their gun rights, well it won’t work busters!

    • Brucehenry

      Tell us more about this Usurper Government concept of yours.

  • UOG

    All right! Politico now says, “The Journal News of West Nyack, N.Y., has hired armed security guards to
    defend its offices after receiving a torrent of phone calls and emails
    responding to the paper’s publication of the names and addresses of area
    residents with pistol permits.”

    Excuse me, but isn’t that what the NRA counseled schools do in the wake of the Newtown shooting? You know, the proposal that the talking heads and OpEd writers poo-poo’d.

    So, security for me, but none for thee. Hippocrates, one and all!

    • jim_m

      Typical lefty hypocrisy.

      This goes to prove my point that these idiots believe that all gun owners are criminals.

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  • jim_m

    This just breaks my heart. The Journal News had its database hacked and its online subscriber list published. I wonder what the paper’s subscribers are going to say about the paper’s lack of responsibility?

    The other good news is that Putnam County has just refused the paper’s FOIA request for gun permit holders.

  • retired.military

    Last I heard the newspapers had hired armed guards to protect itself. Hypocracy thy name is liberal.

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  • …and all the addresses left off the list are probably easier to rob.