After a newspaper’s Google Map of New York gun permit owners sparked a political firestorm, officials in Putnam County say they will refuse to give up public gun permit ownership information for its residents. “In Putnam County I have over 11,000 pistol permit holders, and I refuse to put their lives and their families’ lives in danger,” County Clerk Dennis Sant told The New York Times, regarding the The Journal News‘ request for the public information.
“New York residents have the right to own guns with a permit and they also have a right to access public information,” said Journal Publisher Janet Hasson. In a revenge post against the Google Map of permit owners in selected New York cities, a Connecticut lawyer, Christopher Fountain, published the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the newspaper’s staff, including a Google satellite image of Hasson’s home.
Some are applauding Putnam County’s ironic civil disobedience. “I thank God that Putnam County has a clerk with the guts to stand up and draw the line here in Putnam County,” said State Senator Greg Ball, who referred to the editors as “elitist eggheads” who made an “asinine” decision to publish the map.
“My hope is that officials in Putnam county will actually take a look at the law and reverse their response,” said Robert Freeman of the state Committee on Open Government. “In a civilized society, we do our best to comply with the law. If we object to a law, we don’t simply ignore it.”