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Gawker Posts Names of NYC Gun Permit Holders

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

WNYC

Weeks after The Journal News made the controversial decision to publish the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in Rockland and Westchester counties, a celebrity and entertainment website has released the names of people licensed to own a gun in New York City.

Gawker reporter John Cook said he’s had the 446-page list of names from the NYPD sitting in a file cabinet for more than two years. And he said the names and addresses of pistol permit holders statewide have been floating around online for that same amount of time if anyone knew where to look.

Cook said he decided to release the information after Putnam County made news when it decided to keep its pistol permit holders a secret, after The Journal News requested the information. According to state law, the names and addresses of gun permit holders are public information.

“The state legislature decided that they wanted New Yorkers to be able to know who had guns in their community. And you can argue about the policy implications of that, whether that’s good or bad. It is a fact,” Cook said. “I had this list and in order to sort of make the point that Putnam County is violating the law, I wanted to sort of let people know this information is available and it’s out there.”

The information release as officials across the country are debating new gun control measures in the wake of the mass shooting of 20 first-graders and six adults in Newtown, Conn., last month.

It was shortly after the Newtown shooting that The Journal News published the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in Rockland and Westchester and mapped their locations. That decision prompted outrage from gun advocates and threats to the newspaper and its reporters.

Conservative pundits decried the newspaper’s decision. According to the Gawker article Ann Coulter said that she wanted to see a list of gun permit owners in Manhattan to know how many “rich liberals” were on the list.

“You're in luck, Ann. I happened to have just such a list in my filing cabinet. Here it is,” Gawker reporter John Cook wrote in his article releasing the New York City names.

Cook wrote that he got the list two-and-a-half years ago through a Freedom of Information Law request to the New York Police Department.

State law is clear, the names and addresses of gun permit holders are public record. Despite that provision, Cook wrote that the New York Police Department refused to release addresses and only gave the names.

As WNYC reported earlier, the state police do keep a database of all pistol permit holders in the state. The Gawker post includes a link to a 2010 list of permit holders from that database, which includes both names and addresses.

The Gawker article was posted at 3:10 p.m. Little more than an hour later and it had already generated 171 comments.

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Comments [6]

Will Caxton

"Jay from NYC and CT
If you own a car it is registered.
If you own a gun it should also be registered.
What is the problem? How is that intimidating?"

Jay shows a common but deplorable ignorance of law. Licensing and registration are only required to operate a vehicle on PUBLIC roads. It is entirely legal in the US to own and operate a car without registration and without a driver's license, as long as the car is on private property. That's what makes NASCAR, NHRA, and the Indianapolis 500 possible. Not so with guns: various governments want to regulate guns even when they're on private property. Furthermore, several states already have licensing requirements -- to own guns LEGALLY. Some people seem to own and operate both cars and guns legally.

As to why this might be intimidating, look up the history of government registration and confiscation of weapons (not just guns). I don't happen to know of any cases in which governments have confiscated motor vehicles in large numbers, though I'm always willing to be educated.

Jan. 25 2013 10:21 PM
peter g

I have to agree with Lenny C that all activity whether concerning public safety or public budget SHOULD make public record. not only gun licenses.

Jay certainly does not have his feet on the ground of reality and is not knowledgable about the current state of affairs as gun owners (especially in NYC) already pay unconstitutionally high license fees (that can keep poor but honest guys from obtaining a gun) just to power these tracking systems. Jay, did you know that all guns legally sold in NYC are shot prior and both bullets and shell cases are stored in albany just in case of a future killing with the gun it can be identified by either barrel or firing pin print? on top of that some neighborhoods in NYC are equipped with satellite enhanced bullet tracking systems similar to middle eastern war zones? this is all financed by gun owners' license fees! and guess what: criminals still bypass these systems by obtaining guns illegally, scratching barrels, replacing parts and destroying serial numbers. do you think they would not bypass your pseudo futuristic ideas?

finally I agree with Jeff C about mr Bloomberg emphasizing way too much on a gay men's agenda for the NYC citizen. and I am truly not concerned whether they can get married or not. but not allowing a stand up citizen to carry concealed for his own or his family's protection, further more harassing outdoor activity stores for knives assumes he really wants to turn this town into an ideal habitat for gay men? mr Bloomberg, it's ok if you like the cock but most of us regular hard working people who can not pay for their own security staff would very well like to remain a MAN and stand our own grounds in this crime and mental problems infected metropolis. thank you.

Jan. 13 2013 03:26 PM
Lenny C from New York City

We need to have a national registry for all those on Welfare and Public support. After all I am paying for that too. That should also include HOW LONG they have been on the pubic system.

Lets rigister all activty, after all its not hurting anyone right. If you have an Abortion, your name should be on a list too, since its now covered in Obamacare (I am paying for that and show know the cost).

NYC has a major drug and gang problem. The Symptoms of those problems are the random shootings and gun violence in NYC. Now mind you, they have the toughest GUN laws in the Country outside of Washington DC. Yet the shootings and killings continue.

Bloomberg, who is powerless to control the Drug (including perscription) and Gang problems is simply distracting the voters by blaming GUNs.

Jan. 09 2013 10:49 AM
Jay from NYC and CT

If you own a car it is registered.
If you own a gun it should also be registered.
What is the problem? How is that intimidating?
There are tens of thousands of gun owners on the list.
Are "they" coming for you? Those are paranoid delusions.

This is public information -- it has just been linked to or posted.
If you want to be able to kill, your weapon should be registered.
There should be a tax on ammunition and a nano tracking device on each bullet.
Why should taxpayers have to pay to track down killers?
Those who purchase arms should pay the cost.
Yes, there is a right to bear arms -- but that does not mean you have absolute freedom to tread on my right to live in a peaceful community without violence.
Solve the gun violence problem!

Jan. 09 2013 10:24 AM
Lenny C from New York City

This proves my point that GUN registration is a very bad idea. It will lead to your information being posted on the internet. These are intimidation tactics of the thugs in the Democratic party.

Everyone needs to call congress to protect our 2nd Amendment civil liberties.

Jan. 09 2013 09:42 AM
Jeff C

Here we go again. Any chance gun owners will compromise on stiffer recording and tracking laws now? Think not! I have long been against any type of recording / tracking of guns....As of late, I have been entertaining the thought of giving in on some of the tracking, registering......to help control guns from getting into the wrong hands as long as no types of bans were to be placed. These two news papers have helped me make that decision. No way in hell, law or no law will I go along with any new law concerning gun control now! Thanks Journal News and Gawker for helping me with this decision.

Jan. 09 2013 06:52 AM

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