Putnam DA Talks Gun Permit FOIL Request

Do you agree with his opinion? Share your thoughts in the attached comments section.

About a week after other county officials denied a newspaper's request for the names and address of gun permit holders, Putnam District Attorney Adam B. Levy issued this statement:

Levy announced his opposition to the release of the names and addresses of licensed gun owners in Putnam County, as was requested by The Journal News in their Freedom of Information Request (F.O.I.L.).

“This is a public safety issue—not a gun issue” said DA Levy, Putnam County’s chief law enforcement officer. “The disclosure of the names and residential addresses of licensed permit holders endangers the safety and well-being of those citizens along with their neighbors.”

DA Levy continued, “Whether you’re a vetted, licensed gun owner or the neighbor of one, the last thing you want is for that information to end up in the hands of a criminal. My goal is to keep lawfully purchased guns out of the hands of those criminals. To release the information as requested by The Journal News would put all our citizens at risk.”

“Putnam County is one of the safest counties in New York to live and raise a family. To disclose the information so it’s available to people with criminal intentions is unacceptable and irresponsible” said DA Levy.

DA Levy supports the decision by Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant and County Executive MaryEllen Odell to deny The Journal News FOIL request.

Check out the following information for more on the situation.

  • Click here for a release that details officials' positions.
  • Click here for a story about the situation and the Freedom of Information Law—as well as the process that follows when a request is denied.
  • Click here for a story about threats The Journal News received after posting maps revealing folks in Rockland and Westchester who carry gun permits.
  • Click here for video of a press conference with officials explaining the denial.
  • State Sen. Greg Ball is pushing a bill that would "prohibit the public disclosure of information in an application for a pistol license with exceptions for prosecutors and police conducting an active investigation." The bill, he said, "would protect lawful gun owners from being targeted by thieves for firearm burglaries and eliminate a database criminals could use to extort their identity-theft victims."
Bob Dumont January 08, 2013 at 02:29 PM
I'm not sure I want any level of Government telling me what information I can or can't have. The fact is - they aren't capable of making those decisions and their "public good" isn't the same as my "public good". Suppose my neighbor is a certifiable nut and has a pistol in his house? Wouldn't I want to know that? Suppose I suspect him of having an arsenal? Wouldn't I want to know that? Suppose their son/daughter or spouse have just entered rehab after robbing a liquor store while under the influence of heroin, but the mom holds all the guns out on display over the fireplace? Wouldn't I want to know that too. The fact of the matter is - the more the government tries to protect you - the more they hurt you. There are more instances of our own governments overstepping their bounds then not. As an active participant in many local issues - I've known all too well how difficult local governments can make it when they want something to pass but you and your neighbors do not. I see a very, very limited role for hand guns (other then our well armed militia, including police) and absolutely no reason for an assault weapon - even if you do think it looks good on your wall. The fact of the matter - the vast majority of the "bad guys" that have them aren't smart enough to get them if they weren't so easily available. As for the people that do have them - well if you don't feel safe in your home - you'll probably have a domestic dispute in which the weapon gets used against you.
Lou Merlino January 08, 2013 at 03:00 PM
How about this, BOB.... if you want the information, then get off your duff and go to the County Clerks Office and get it yourself. I don't need anyone from the "press" to do me a favor by randomly plastering this information... especially when they think it's for everyones good. All these "press" people need to go out & rent the movie "Absence of Malice" and watch it to get a dose of reality and climb off their self-righteous pedestal.
Pat January 08, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Maybe you should look at what is more likely. This has nothing to do with an "arsenal." If someone has a bunch of rifles and shotguns, they are legal in NY, and not tracked. If the government makes them illegal, they will still be untracked, and then average citizens will turn into criminals for having what is rightfully theirs that they paid for. Some people collect guns as a hobby. You may not like it, but they do. There are 290,000,000 guns in this country, and around 11,000 gun related deaths a year. Do the math. You are falling for the fear mongering. Bush made you fear terrorism. Obama is making you fear your neighbor. FYI they are denying the Journal News the FOIL request. If you are SOOOOOO concerned, file your own. If you are too lazy, or are not that concerned, then you get nothing. Stop whining, and do something. Do you have any idea how many corrections officers, retired police officers, and federal agents were on those lists in Westchester and Rockland?? You are ignoring the main problem anyways. Illegal handguns account for the majority of deaths by firearm in this country. Rifles, not limited to assault rifles, account for around 360 deaths a year. Sooooo out of the 290,000,000 firearms in this country, around 360 rifles or so kill someone a year. I know they look "scary," but they are just a tool. A killer will kill. Ask the man who strangled his wife the other day in Westchester.
Bob Dumont January 08, 2013 at 03:20 PM
I've filed many a FOIL. 290MM guns. 11,000 deaths. Most of them unnecessary. 26 of them went to school one day and now don't. You want to do that math for those families? Kind of a silly argument since I think those 26 lives are worth 290MM guns. I have no issue with a guy with a rifle. I do have an issue with a non-public safety person with a firearm other then a rifle. Yes, deaths happen. silly argument - we can't prevent heart attacks, smoking or McDonalds killing you slowly. The bottom line - we don't have to give you the tool to do it. But more importantly - I don't want the government of Putnam County or any level telling me what information I'm allowed to have. They aren't qualified for that decision and neither are you.
Pat January 08, 2013 at 03:48 PM
It's a knee jerk reaction to the children and faculty members deaths. What about the thousands of African American youths killed every year, year after year in inner cities??? Why does it take the killing of WHITE children to spark your interest??? It is an isolated incident, it should be treated as such. Stricter laws SHOULD be applied Federally to limit the access of illegal guns to people in inner cities. You don't like guns, cool, that is your opinion. You shouldn't be able to force your opinion on what equates to about 45% of the population or so that owns guns, or has them in their homes without incident. There are almost more guns than people in the US. Almost half of those are handguns. NY is very anti-gun already. The problem is criminals getting handguns from other states and bringing them to NY. Stricter sentencing is in order maybe, but why punish LEGAL gun owners?? Keep filing your FOIL requests. Putnam County isn't saying YOU can't have the info, but they are keeping the Journal News from publishing an interactive shopping list for criminals. Ohhh, but you say that they should feel safer because criminals will avoid their homes. Not likely when they will just wait until you go to work, then your wife and kids are unprotected. Hell while they are there grabbing the guns, they might as well have some rape to go with their pillage. Which scenario is more likely???
Pat January 08, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Again, just want to clarify. I think you should be able to have access to the information on who owns guns in your neighborhood if you want it. However, I don't think that information should be just out there in the breeze for the general public. If you request it, there is a paper trail. Criminals obviously won't put in a FOIL request, so the way it was working was fine. The last time the Journal News did this in the mid-2000's they didn't publish addresses. This time they did, and had a map showing where everyone lives. If you can't see how that is irresponsible, I don't know what to tell you.
Bob Dumont January 08, 2013 at 04:33 PM
I don't view the death of any person as being more or less a value then any other person. But you are right and have just given another reason why handguns should be illegal. At one time it was acceptable to smoke on train, plane, in a restaurant and even chic to blow smoke in someone's face. We got a little smarter about that bad habit. And I think we all need to come to the realization that hand guns and assault weapons have NO acceptable place in society. Own all the rifles you like or collectible historic guns that can't fire. What the JN did with regard to their publishing of details, right or wrong, is not illegal. And where do you stop the County clerk when he/she decides that what you want to Foil is unsafe, not legal or potentially a threat. Or needs to know what you plan to do with it? All a criminal might know from that map is that I don't have a hand gun registered now. He doesn't know if there are illegal guns in the house, own a bow, can chuck a spear with dead accuracy or have hired a body guard. Or more likely, that I might have already applied and received a permit for a gun and received it this minute. They are working with dated information, which gets more inaccurate every day that passes. The thing I would agree with is that is they did not screen out public safety personnel, who should be allowed a hand gun. Most of the argument of gun advocates is that "I'm scared of the bad guys having guns". All that argument does is lead to more guns.
Pat January 08, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Banning guns is not the solution. Again, this turns normal citizens that happen to own guns into criminals. This whole national gun debate/ gun grab was not even an issue until a bunch of white children were killed. Whether you feel that way or not, it doesn't matter. The fact is, no one cared when the victims were black/hispanic, again, not you, but the country. You are missing my point entirely on the FOIL request. The criminals don't know if YOU have a gun, but they know the people on the journal news website DO have guns, and likely jobs that they go to, leaving their guns at home. Find out if they have a security system, then break in there during the day. Find the gun safe, then loot the guns. You can't protect your family if you aren't there. 290,000,000 guns, you want to ban them, you round them up. I would not go door to door asking people to give up their guns. You have stated over and over again that you want to ban guns. You and those who would arm everyone are the problem. There is a middle ground, find it. On your, "All that argument does is lead to more guns." There are almost as many as people in the country. What are a couple more??? They are here, legislate against those who would use/obtain them illegally, and legislate for a national mental health registry. Some states participate in it, others don't. The NICS system needs more of a backbone.
Jeffrey S. Chiara January 08, 2013 at 06:55 PM
I would like to take this time to stand up and Applaud, Putnam D.A. Adam Levy, Senator Greg Ball, Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, and Assemblyman Steve Katz for their Courageous leadership and for having the common sense to maintain the safety and well being of all the Putnam County Residents by not conforming to Journal News or how other have referred to them as (Urinal News, Journal Spew) mindless, senseless, F.O.I.L request.
Lou Merlino January 08, 2013 at 09:10 PM
I this your arguement? Really? Read your own dribble and honestly tell me that you are logical on this. Spears? Bows? Inaccurate info? That gives the Journal Rag a pass on this? Sorry Bob... you need therapy!
Ashley Tarr (Editor) January 08, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Please refrain from personal attacks! And please keep the conversation civil.
Jay Bossert January 08, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Before typing I gave myself several moments to breathe, laws regarding anything gun related is a touchy subject period, especially with a tragedy such as Sandy Hook so painfully fresh in all of our memories. Before I go any further, my condolences to all of the families of Sandy Hook, to anyone else that has lost anyone due to gun violence. Nobody knows who will be reading what we put up on-line. That said I 100% agree with D.A. Adam Levy “This is a public safety issue—not a gun issue." I have no problems whatsoever with individuals acting as concerned citizens filling out FOIL's and getting the information they seek, what I do have a problem with is The Journal News requesting such information for what appears to be a means of selling more newspapers via shock journalism. Please don't put my community in danger for the possibility of a more shocking story. Plain and simple, the people that have gun permits aren't the ones breaking the laws. Yes in the instance of Sandy Hook, maybe if the mother of the shooter didn't posses firearms there is a possibility that this tragedy never happened. Yet there are many other efficient ways to murder someone out there. Check the internet. Logically I just don't think it's a good idea to have a list of homes with possible guns available online, especially in a day and age where information such as neighbors of friend's vacation schedules so readily available. Please let's not punish the people obeying the gun laws to "get the bad guys"
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:18 PM
Lets identify who exactly is responsible for the majority of that violence first. The government acknowledges in USDOJ National Gang Threat Assessment 2011, see pg 14, chart #8 for that massive number of violent crimes committed in the US each year committed by gang members. http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/2011-national-gang-threat-assessment For several decades, studies have been conducted on crime and causalities by various bodies including major universities, criminologists and even the U.S. Department of Justice. These studies have found that approximately 80% of all crime is committed by 20% of all criminals. Some of the studies have provided slightly different numbers but all of them have found that a small group of criminals commit a vastly disproportionate number of crimes than their peers.(Wolfgang et al ., 1972; Petersilia et al ., 1978; Williams, 1979; Chaiken and Chaiken, 1982; Greenwood with Abrahamse, 1982, and Martin and Sherman,1986). Hence add in the career criminals. cont
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:18 PM
CDC -Suicidal people speak for them-selves as suicide is a felony. Shall we review police studies in Chicago and NYC where between 76-80% of those involved in shootings, both shooter and injured were both involved in criminal activity at the time of the incident. www.popcenter.org/problems/drive_by_shooting/PDFs/Block_and_Block_1993.pdf, www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/public_information/2007_firearms_discharge_report.pdf, www.nyclu.org/files/nypd_firearms_report_102207.pdf Yeah, review of all the govt. data above shows over 92% of all killings by illegal use of a firearm are committed by career criminals, gang members, and suiciders. A sane person would normally address the largest problem first don’t you agree? Lets continue this review by acknowledging how many of the existing gun control laws actually apply to the bad guys. http://supreme.justia.com/us/390/85/ Haynes vs. U.S. 390 U.S. 85 1968 where the US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of Haynes that any law requiring a felon to self incriminate themselves and violate their 5th amendment rights was not enforceable as a charge for prosecution. Hence criminals don't have to follow 85% of the existing 22,417 gun control laws that do so, e.g. your stolen weapons, registrations, etc.... Would you care to suggest that the 5th amendment be repealed, no, don’t think you would!
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Then we should review how well those laws are enforced anyway. Like the BATF for refusing to prosecute more than 1% of the 1.83 mil felons, others, and crazies rejected by the background check since 1994. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/html/bcft/2008/bcft08st.pdf USDOJ Background Check & Firearm Transfer report 2008 Like the BATF for refusing to catch ANY of those lying on their 4473 forms (Cho, Loughner & Holmes were crazy, they lied) or using fake identifications. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/03/21/national/main280557.shtml General Accounting Office study Like the BATF for refusing to do anything about the 95% of felons who don’t even attempt to buy from a licensed source to begin with. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=940 DOJ Firearms use by Offenders Nov 2001 Like the BATF for refusing to allow civilians access to use the NICS background check for private sales as only licensed dealers are allowed.
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:19 PM
Lets not forget that our politicians play a significant role in enabling the crazies to go free. As a result of VA Tech, Pub. L. 110-180 NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 was enacted. http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/PUBLAW/HTML/PUBLAW/0-0-0-38245.html The real question and failure, is what have the states actually funded or resourced to do so? http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/nics Going to the actual website, we see as of July 2012, there are only 1.7 mil records of people who by due process have lost their 2A rights for being severely mentally ill. Yet mental health experts agree that on avg. over 23.15 mil US adults (50% of current 2.7 mil prisoners) are severely mentally ill. So is that the 80 mil law abiding gun owners fault, or the politicians, sucker question I know!
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Shall we look at the FBI report from several years ago? Violent Encounters – A study of Felonious Assaults on our nations law enforcement officers USDOJ, FBI, National Institute of Justice August 2006 http://www.scribd.com/doc/49014330/Violent-Encounters-A-Study-of-Felonious-Assaults-on-Our-Nation-s-Law-Enforcement-Officers-by-DOJ You should read the National Sciences Foundation report from 2004 on gun control laws, a study that was formed by the anti gun Clinton Administration so just like the Ludgwig & Cooke study noted below, doesn't prove any causality theory, much less any effect of gun control laws on violent crime. An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003, National Institute of Justice, June 2004 http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/204431.pdf E.G. Government admits the ban didnt do didley squat Firearm Violence, a critical Review" 2004 http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10881&page=R2 Says same thing!
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Even more hilarious is the fact the antis try to manufacture a mountain out of a molehill. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls 2010 FBI UCR database shows 1.25 mil violent crimes reported (4 mil not reported USDOJ National Victimization report), 322,691 involved a firearm, 14,748 murders, 358 by illegal use of any type of rifle, 162 by use of a semi-auto rifle banned because they look evil. (firearms were used in 67.5 percent of the Nation’s murders 14,748 = 9,955, 41.4 percent of 367,832 robberies =152,282, and 20.6 percent of aggravated assaults 778,901 =160,453.) All while in 2010 FBI UCR, we see deaths committed by illegal use of hands, fists, feet, blunt objects and knives accounted over 3,259 deaths, each by themselves accounting for far more deaths than the anti’s mythical boogeyman, the semi-auto rifle banned because they look evil. The anti’s really should get going on registering and banning hands, fist, feet, all type of blunt objects and all knives as clearly they are a more serious threat in the real world. Hey make sure to ban clenching ones fist or flipping the bird as that is indeed brandishing of a lethal weapon!
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Shall we review how magazine capacity doesn’t affect didley, yeah, lets. It will be looked at as a time study, we who set manufacturing processes up do lots of these studies to accurately predict labor, material usages, predictions and savings. Response times by the police range from 2 minutes at Aurora was due to them being lucky enough to be near, most times 10 to 12 minutes from first call. Witnesses identified shots were fired at SHES 9:30 am when announcements were being made. The first call was 9:35:44 to police dispatch. In Sandy Hook, the first police officer arrived on site at 9:38:38! 9:40:24 Last shots heard–Lanza killing himself! 9:44:29 1st responder in the building identifies Vice Principal near the office (shot in foot) Time line: Adam Lanza tried to open a locked door, couldn’t, so he shot the glass out to gain entry upon which time the principal and school psychiatrist & vice principal came from the office and confronted Lanza who then killed two and wounded one. Total elapsed time, approximately 1 minute. Then Lanza walked down the hallway to the 1st kinder-garden classroom about 20 ft away, max time to do so, 15 seconds, where he killed 1 teacher & 14 students. Lanza then walked across the hall 25 ft away, max time 15 seconds. Where upon he killed another teacher and 6 students. CONT
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Professional shooter can change a magazine in 1.4 seconds, someone familiar with the weapon, which Adam was, can do so in 3.0 seconds. Since we know that he fired approx 79 rounds, using 30 round magazines, that is 2 magazine changes x 3.0 seconds = 6 seconds. Cyclic rate for the semi-auto rifle/pistol is 60 rounds per minute so 1 shot for every pull of the trigger per second = 79 seconds. Total times Office killing 1min=60secs Hallway walk to 1st room = 15 seconds Hallway walk to 2nd room = 15 seconds Shootings =79 seconds Reloads = 6 seconds 175 seconds total = 2.917 minutes Now if Lanza had been limited to 10 round magazines as antis claim would limit the ease of killing, at 3 seconds reloads, needs 8 magazines = 7 reloads x 3 seconds = 21 seconds. That is an additional 12 seconds to the total = 3.037 minutes total. Since the time from the first shooting to the time the police entered the building and approached the shooter was right at 8.5 minutes. Then when the1st responder was working toward Lanza’s location he pulled a pistol and shot himself at 9:40:24am. 10 Minutes after Lanza began his attack he shot himself, explain again how the 10 round magazines would have made a difference when there was 12.963 minutes of spare time for the shooter to screw up and take his time? Reality is, limiting a shooter to 10 round magazines doesn’t prevent ANYTHING and you cant prove different!
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:35 PM
So Bob, the question to you is, are you going to walk the talk and post a sign on your front lawn that your home is gun free? I personally think a person who abdicates their right to defend themselves should wear a symbol proudly of their belief, like a Star of David. Such an appropriate symbol for disarmed victims wouldnt you agree? I think that someone who knows Bob should just volunteer to post his personal information on-line, like this idiot below who reposted the information because he could! John Cook – john@gawker.com Wife: Allison Benedikt (Employment: Previous: The Village Voice Film Editor) (she now does some work for Slate) – 2 kids with 1 on the way son – born in 2008 (4 yrs old) Married on October 25th 2003 in San Francisco (courthouse wedding) Oh look, a tell all from Mrs Benedikt. Home (718) 369-8243 528 16th St Brooklyn, NY 11215-5912 Poor Max Brantley of The Arkansas Times in 2008 posted such a list. Two days later a gun owner posted Max's personal, publicly available info on a billboard in the seedy part of town (Little Rock). Max interview the next day was that of a blustering bully complaining how he was being forced to eat the cake he had served so snootily the days before!
White Feather January 09, 2013 at 06:36 PM
What do you think would happen were someone to get hurt because he had the right to post that data, and led a stalker straight to their victim, a criminal to the cop that arrested him, the judge who put that criminal away? There are consequences to every action and that idiot has children. Here is to hoping that a law is made that anyone who does such an act of publicly outing such law abiding people again, is turned over to the family of anyone harmed because said information led their attacker to them, to have the exact same injuries and tool used to harm the victim, upon the person who published said data!
Heather Pollock January 12, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Just because you can, does not mean you should. I agree this is a knee jerk reaction to a horrible tragedy. I think the officials in Putnam are correct, it is a matter of public safety and not about guns. Allowing people's information like that to be put out there for anyone to see is asking for more problems. Do people really think criminals who can see this information when placed publicly via a newspaper will go through the FOIL process to see who has guns they can steal? And for years, we have survived without knowing if our neighbors are permit and/or gun owners...without fear. Even those who's sanity we questioned. So a knee jerk response to a sick and depraved act by ONE individual means we need to "punish" millions of law abiding citizens? People need to take a step back and think before reacting through their emotions....
Heather Pollock January 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM
http://westchester.news12.com/news/white-plains-home-on-handgun-permit-database-burglarized-1.4442333 SO a house which was in the data base in Westchester was burglarized...and they were looking for guns...so now think about what I said in my previous post...


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