Astorino Asks Journal News to Remove Gun Permit Map

The Westchester County Executive said he based his request on public safety and common sense.

Three weeks after The Journal News published a map of all gun-permit holders in Westchester County, the county executive has asked the paper to take it off the internet.

In a letter dated and released to the public today, Rob Astorino said it was time to take the maps down.

"Whatever your purpose in publishing the map, surely three weeks' time was enough to make your point," he wrote. "Constitutional rights—even those protected by the First Amendment—are not absolute. In this case the line has been crossed. The issue is no longer protecting free speech but rather protecting the public, including employees of The Journal News."

Since the daily newspaper published maps Dec. 23 showing the names and addresses of gun-permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties, the paper's staff have been threatened and harassed online, by phone and through the mail.

As officials in Rockland have done since the maps went onto the Internet, Astorino said the maps demonized people—those with legal gun permits—who had done nothing wrong.

In the letter, Astorino said whether the Westchester County Clerk should have complied with the paper's request was "debatable." Putnam County officials denied the request for their records after the paper published the list of permit holders in Westchester and Rockland.

The requests were made under New York state Freedom of Information law; gun permit records have been public records for 50 years. New gun control legislation passed today in Albany limits the public nature of those records. 

You can read his entire letter attached to this article. 

Tom Murphy January 16, 2013 at 10:37 PM
While the rationale behind why the Journal News posted the map is debatable, what is not "debatable" is that the law requires the County Clerk to release the names and addresses under FOIL. For Astorino to say other wise is disengenuos and a blatant politcal shot or is he now openly alaigning himself with fellow wingnut Greg Ball. If he is getting legal advice from the Deputy County Executive Plunkett we will all be in trouble. Plunkett nevver met a governmental lawsuit that he didn't like or could win. In my opinion when he was Village Attorney for Mamaroneck he cost my community in excess of 10 million dollars with his take no prisoners legal advice. But I digress, on the day that NYS passes monumental gun control legislation Astorino comes out with a strongly worded press release about a map? I think the public needs to know if the CE supports the gun control legislation passed in Albany? That is the real issue before the public not silly distractions about maps.


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