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Paper Wins Gun-Permit Information Suit Against Putnam County

"Warning, our worst nightmare has come true," said County Clerk Dennis Sant.

Paper Wins Gun-Permit Information Suit Against Putnam County
A New York state judge has ruled that Putnam County must give public information on names and addresses of pistol-permit holders to The Journal News, but the county is seeking a stay pending appeal, the County Clerk said.

"Putnam County is being denied the right to protect our citizens against an unwarranted invasion of their personal privacy," County Clerk Dennis Sant and Deputy County Clerk Michael C. Bartolotti said in a press release. "We are fighting the good fight on this and will do everything in our power to oppose this crusade by The Journal News to get their hands on your personal information."

In a news article when it filed the suit, lohud.com said the paper did not plan to release the names of individuals holding permits as it had done when it published information about gun-permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties.

The state's penal law has deemed the information public for years.   

The paper's original act at the end of 2012 had caused a storm of controversy that overtook horror about the Newtown, CT school shooting, which had happened a few weeks previously.

The issue so infuriated Sant that he made a special trip to Westchester County to endorse County Clerk Tim Idoni's opponent Mary Beth Murphy in the 2013 election—and staged a press conference with a poster of The Journal News' gun map. 

Sant's stand made him a national hero in some eyes— and got him a new parking space. He announced in January that he would not seek re-election.

He and Bartolotti urged everyone to mount a massive campaign to get the state's penal law changed. 

They also urge all Putnam gun-permit holders to sign and submit an Opt Out form, created after New York passed the  Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act in response to the controversy. It provides specific exemptions allowing some gun-permit holders' identities to be withheld from the media. 

Find the opt-out form here. 

Should Putnam County appeal the ruling? Should county officials stick with promoting the Opt-Out Form? Should New York State revise its penal code? Tell us in the comments. 

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