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N.Y. newspaper removes online map of gun-permit holders

January 20, 2013|By Andrew Khouri
  • This map, now taken down from the website, had been published by Lohud.com and indicated addresses of all handgun permit-holders in Westchester and Rockland counties in New York.
This map, now taken down from the website, had been published by Lohud.com… (Lohud.com / Google maps )

A White Plains, N.Y., newspaper has removed an online interactive map that detailed who has handgun permits in two counties. The posting of the map on the paper's website last month had sparked outrage and prompted changes in state law to give permit holders greater privacy.

The Journal News map showed the names and addresses of people with pistol permits licensed by Westchester and Rockland counties.

Journal News President and Publisher Janet Hasson said Friday the decision to take down the map came in response to a provision in New York’s new gun law that was passed last week. The law also gives permit holders a way to request that their personal information be kept private.

Hasson criticized the new rule as overly broad, but added in a letter that "we are not deaf to voices who have said that new rules should be set for gun permit data.”

Still, a snapshot of the map -- without the names and addresses -- has been kept on the paper’s website “to remind the community that guns are a fact of life we should never forget,” she wrote.

The new law, signed Jan. 15 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also stopped the release of permit-holder data for 120 days. The Journal News had been battling Putnam County to release the names and addresses of permit holders, but officials there had refused.

The state government's top open-records official had warned that refusing the request would be illegal.

In her letter to readers, Hasson said the paper published the interactive feature using public information after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings, because the “Journal News thought the community should know where gun permit holders in their community were, in part to give parents an opportunity make careful decisions about their children’s safety.”

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