New York’s tough new gun law allows holders of gun permits to opt out of having their names disclosed to those requesting public records. Last month, Dutchess County Clerk Bradford Kendall said gun permits “should be treated the same as a driver’s license”:
“If there is a legitimate need to look at an individual license there are certainly enough avenues to do that, but you cannot FOIL the entire list.”
This provision was added to the law by lawmakers upset that The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News published a map of gun owners’ names and addresses it received via Freedom of Information Law requests to county clerks’ offices. Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant refused The Journal News’ request, saying “There is the rule of law, and there is right and wrong and The Journal News is clearly wrong.”
The opt-out provision is proving very popular. “At the moment, it’s a bit overwhelming,” Ulster County Clerk Nina Postupack told Daily Freeman reporter Patricia Doxsey. Kendall told Doxsey his county will have to foot a large bill for the opt-outs.
Kendall said it could cost the county more than $32,000 to process the 2,200 opt-out forms he’s received so far and that if one-quarter of the 38,000 permit holders in Dutchess County file opt-out forms, it would cost the county more than $150,000 to process the requests.