(NEW YORK) — Officials from Putnam County, N.Y., say they won’t give in to a newspaper’s demand to release the names of residents with pistol permits.
Last Dec. 23, The Journal News caused a stir when it released the names and an interactive map of those with pistol permits in Westchester and Rockland counties. The story caused an immediate backlash with the paper having to go as far as hiring their own armed guards because of death threats.
However, that hasn’t deterred The Journal News from also seeking to publish the names of Putnam County residents with gun permits. The papers says it has New York law on its side, which states “the name and address of any person to whom an application for any license has been granted shall be a public record.”
At a news conference Thursday, Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell stressed that she would not allow the records of gun permits to go public, saying, “I want every citizen in Putnam County to know, I will not retreat from protecting you; nor will I surrender. There will be no retreat, and there will be no surrender.”
Odell argued that the decision has nothing to do with the Dec. 14 school shooting at Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead.
According to Odell, “We firmly believe that the release of this information would create an unprecedented public safety issue.”
The Journal News says its rationale for publishing the names and addresses was because readers were “understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire