The Journal News is at it again.
The Gannett-owned newspaper that infuriated pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties by publishing an interactive online map of permit holders in 2012 that included their home addresses has just won the latest round in a battle to acquire even more permit holder addresses:
A state judge has ordered Putnam County to turn pistol permit records over to The Journal News, which sued for the data last fall after the county denied the newspaper’s Freedom of Information Law requests.
In a five-page decision Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary cited the NY-SAFE Act, a sweeping series of gun-control measures that allowed gun owners to remove their names from a public database after the law was enacted in January 2013. Neary ruled that the names remaining on the database — those who did not ask to be removed from it — are a public record and therefore subject to open disclosure laws.
The interactive map of gun owners published by the newspaper in 2012 put thousands of people at risk, and the firestorm of controversy led to threats against the paper, which was abusing public records laws.
Critics noted that there was no legitimate public interest in publishing the names and addresses of pistol permit holders, just as there was no legitimate public interest in publishing the names and addresses of police officers and judges. It only served to raise the threat level against these individuals.
It was bullying of citizens by a news organization with a noted anti-Second Amendment slant.
Ever the hypocrites, the Journal Newshired armed guards due to the public outrage surrounding the publication of gun owners addresses in 2012. The Rockland Times noted that armed security guards from New City-based RGA Investigations were posted at the Journal News location at 1 Crosfield Ave, West Nyack, NY after publishing the addresses of permit holders in 2012.
Also after the 2012 incident, New Rochelle Talk published an interactive map noting the home addresses of Journal News employees.
The Journal News claims that this time, they won’t publish interactive maps:
CynDee Royle, The Journal News’ editor and vice president/news, said the law is clear that the records belong to the public. “The decision supports that position and enforces the public’s right to open records,” she said.
Royle said the newspaper would not produce comprehensive lists or maps identifying permit holders with the information it is now seeking. She said that is because the list of permit holders is no longer comprehensive since NY-SAFE allowed many of them to opt out of the public list. The newspaper would use the gun data for analysis and in reporting relevant articles.
Having abused the information and the public’s trust several times before, the Journal News is not to be trusted to keep to this claim.
Putnam County will appeal Judge Neary’s ruling.