New York State’s new gun law restricts access to previously public information about gun permits, the New York Times reports. The law requires that for the next 120 days no information about gun permit holders in a new statewide gun registration database be made available publicly, says Robert Freeman of the State Committee on Open Government. After that, gun permit holders will have the right to have their names and addresses removed from the database by contacting their local county clerks or police departments. Legislators included this protection in its gun regulation proposal after the suburban newspaper The Journal News published on Dec. 23 the names and addresses of gun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties, and put online a map showing the locations of the gun permit holders.
The article and map prompted outrage from gun owners, who said they felt they could be harassed or have their homes broken into. Employees of The Journal News received so many threatening phone calls and e-mails that the publisher hired armed guards to protect the staff. A local gun group organized its members to contact advertisers, pressuring them to pull advertising from the paper. New data from the state will be available, but will not include information from gun owners who request to be excluded. New York joins other states that have made gun information less accessible in recent years. Fewer than a dozen states make some data about permit holders available, says Laura Cutilletta of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.