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State Lawmakers Get Ready to Discuss Gun Records and Privacy

The publication of an interactive gun map online by a media group in the Hudson Valley has prompted all sorts of reaction, locally and nationally. And now some state lawmakers say they expect to be discussing the matter of public information and gun-permit holders during the 2013 legislative session in Albany. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been discussing the issue of gun control with legislative leaders since the December 14th mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. And there is the possibility that Cuomo will introduce a package of bills during his State of the State message January 9th. Now there is another gun-related topic that could be part of the discussion.

The Journal News, on December 22nd, published an interactive gun map with the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties. They did so after having submitted Freedom of Information requests ,and, by state law, the information is public record. The information for Putnam County has not been compiled and posted. 

Democratic Assemblywoman Sandy Galef represents New York’s 90th District, which covers portions of Westchester and Putnam Counties. She says she has received a number of responses from her constituents since the gun map appeared online.

She says she does not yet have a position on whether to restrict the public availability of information about gun-permit holders, given the division in opinion among her constituents. She says, at this point, she will continue to listen.

And she knows there are a number of hunters in Putnam County. Also in Putnam is Gerald Schramek. He’s a chief in the county Sheriff’s office, and he says police are concerned about the gun map information.

As to whether he or other law enforcement personnel would support legislation restricting the public availability of gun permit holder information:

Schramek would not say what type of legislation Sheriff Smith would support, only that Smith would look closely at any such legislation.

Republican State Senator Greg Ball has weighed in by proposing legislation to keep gun records private and prevent the publication of similar stories in the media in the future. He says he will introduce a bill in the State Senate that would ban disclosure of information in pistol license applications except to law enforcement officials involved in active investigations.  Ball represents New York State’s 40th senate district, which includes portions of Westchester as well as Putnam Counties.

A spokesman for Independent Democratic State Senator David Carlucci, who represents the 38th District encompassing all of Rockland County, declined to comment.

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