NYT reporters sued for gun owners’ addresses

Capital | Rockland County Times
Jo Craven McGinty and two other New York Times reporters sued for New York gun owners’ addresses in 2010, Dana Rubinstein reports. The New York City Police Department gave her gun owners’ names, as it did to Gawker reporter John Cook, but the NYPD argued giving McGinty owners’ addresses would expose them to fundraising appeals or other solicitations, an exception to public records’ release in New York’s open government law (see section 89).

In a phone call with Poynter last week, Robert Freeman, the executive director of New York state’s Committee on Open Government, said that legally, courts tend to favor specific laws rather than general ones, and New York’s law is very specific: “The name and address of any person to whom an application for any license has been granted shall be a public record” reads New York Penal Law, section 400.00.

The judge in the Times case allowed the release of data, with some redactions, a ruling the NYPD appealed, Rubinstein reports. The case is still under appeal. A Times source told Rubinstein the paper “rarely, if ever, publishes raw data, and it had no intention of publishing the addresses of the permit holders,” she writes.

Meanwhile in Westchester County, The Journal News’ publisher and executive editor have guards at their houses, the Rockland County Times reports. The Journal News published an interactive map of gun owners in two counties in December.

The County Times also reports Rockland County, N.Y., Clerk Paul Piperato says gun permits are up dramatically. He also tells the paper “about 25 percent of the addresses [on the Journal News map] are not accurate.” Rockland, The Journal News said in its map of that county, provided two sets of data, active and historic permits. “This list may include some outdated information, such as people who have died or moved out of the area without updating the county records,” the map reads. The Journal News received this information from the Rockland County Clerk’s office.

Correction: This post originally attributed the Capital story to Joe Pompeo, not Dana Rubenstein.

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