Putnam County refuses to release gun permit list

January 3, 2013 3:14:23 PM PST
There is a new twist in the battle over releasing the names of gun permit owners.

The Putnam County clerk is refusing to release the names in his county.

The Journal News has outraged many gun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties by publishing their names and home addresses.

It wants to do the same in Putnam, but County Clerk Dennis Sant said he would defer a request for information about permit holders.

"There is the rule of law, and there is right and wrong, and the Journal News is clearly wrong," Sant said in a statement. "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."

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

Meanwhile, the newspaper has reportedly hired armed guards at its headquarters.

The Journal News previously printed the names of more than 16,000 gun permit holders, along with a Google map with their addresses. Critics have called the publication an invasion of privacy, and some say it could endanger permit holders.

The paper has been inundated by angry comments, but editors say the community has a right to know who owns guns and where they live, and the information is public.

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