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Newspaper that mapped gun owners is suing Putnam County for not giving up addresses

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The Journal News has sued Putnam County for denying access to pistol permit records.

Last December, the paper requested permit records from Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Westchester and Rockland provided the information, which Journal News used to create an interactive map pinpointing the exact location of residents licensed to own a weapon. The paper’s report found that roughly 1 in 24 residents in the area had a gun permit.

The map drew much criticism and controversy, with many officials saying it was an invasion of privacy and a safety issue.

putnam gun map

The Journal News is suing Putnam County after officials failed to issue gun permit owner information for an interactive map.

At the time, State Senator Greg Ball said, “This isn’t only about the Second Amendment, this about privacy…it’s absolutely bone-headed for this editorial board to take law-abiding firearm owners and treat them [like] a level –three sexual predator.”

The paper says Putnam has denied two Freedom of Information requests and an appeal.

County officials have yet to respond to the lawsuit, saying they have not been served with papers.

County Executive Mary-Ellen Odell said Thursday, “I am completely confident that the county will prevail. Our point is that the risk to public safety and the invasion of privacy should exceed anyone’s interest to profit.”

In January, the NY SAFE ACT passed, allowing permit owners to have their personal information kept private if they met certain criteria.