According to WIBX, a newspaper in New York’s lower Hudson Valley has unveiled a list of all registered gun owners in Rockland and Westchester Counties. This database of gun owners includes the names, and addresses of the owners, all on an Google map. Are they allowed to publish this? According to the United States Government, they are. 

The paper’s publisher, Janet Hasson – president of the Journal News Media Group – has defended the paper’s decision publish the names and addresses, according to CNN.com:

“One of our roles is to report publicly available information on timely issues, even when unpopular. We knew publication of the database (as well as the accompanying article providing context) would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings,” she said.

Get the full story from WIBX by Clicking Here.

How were they able to publish this? To create the map, The Journal News submitted Freedom of Information requests for the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. By state law, the information is public record.

What Is The The Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.

Enacted in 1966, and taking effect on July 5, 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. A FOIA request can be made for any agency record.

 

Any American can file a FOIA request for any agency record, including gun records. So legally, the paper was allowed to publish the data.

Check out the maps by Clicking Here.

Should all of New York State have this map?