VALHALLA, N.Y. — Although the information is public and no laws were broken, The Journal News' publishing of the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in an interactive map has upset many across the region and country.
Valhalla resident Jeff Brogan said such information shouldn't be made easily available to the public.
"It's obviously public information, but that doesn't mean the public is intelligent enough to be trusted with it," Brogan wrote in a Facebook post on The Mount Pleasant Daily Voice's page. "I've heard from law enforcement that they're truly concerned that homes mapped will be targeted for their guns."
Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno said he disagreed that gun owners could be harassed and said it could have the opposite affect.
"I think burglaries are more about opportunity, than calculation through some sort of map," Alagno said. "And knowing that a firearm is in the home could certainly deter a burglar in some situations."
Since the map was made public in late December, The Journal News has felt the backlash. The New York Times reported Jan. 2 that two of the newspaper's offices were being guarded by armed personnel.
Politicians have pushed back as well. The Times reported that Putnam County refused to give its permit holder records to The Journal News. New York state Sen. Greg Ball, a Republican who represents Mount Pleasant as well as other areas of Westchester and Putnam counties, is vehemently against the publication of these gun records.
"The asinine editors at the Journal News, have once again gone out of their way to place a virtual scarlet letter on law-abiding firearm owners throughout the region," Ball said in a statement. "This is clearly a violation of privacy and needs to be corrected immediately."
Alagno said although The Journal News didn't break any laws, it may have only got part of the story.
"What's glaring is that the records only include handguns," Alagno said. "And I'm sure a lot more people in this region own long-guns, which don't require permits."
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