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IN CONNECTICUT, RELEASE OF INFORMATION IS ILLEGAL
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 7, 2013) — Earlier today, The Post & Email reported on the Journal News‘s release of names and addresses of Westchester County and Rockland County’s pistol permit holders. Since the publication of the information on December 23, 2012 following the Sandy Hook shootings, debate over whether further gun control legislation should be enacted or other options explored to make society safer has ensued .
While some readers of the Journal News did not object to the release of the names, others said it was “outrageous.” The publication received strong objections via phone and email. In 2006, the Journal News had published a similar story with the same result. Ms. CynDee Royal, Editor and Vice President of the “News” section, contended that “We knew publication of the database would be controversial but we felt sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings.”
Corrections officers, police officers and assemblymen have expressed anger over the release of the personal information, as in some cases, inmates have learned where their corrections officers and their families live, and some individuals without pistol permits also feel endangered.
New York politicians from both parties have moved to introduce legislation which would render pistol permit holders’ personal information exempt from an open records request, while in Connecticut, a legislator has introduced a bill to overturn a 1994 law in that state which mandates non-disclosure of the data.
The Sandy Hook shooter was not a legal gun owner, although it appears his mother was. Connecticut’s firearms laws are some of the strictest in the nation.
Contained in the interactive map which the Journal News published were markers indicating the locations of Westchester County and Rockland county, NY pistol permit holders which, when clicked, revealed the name and address of the resident. Also included were names and addresses of Connecticut residents who hold pistol permits for the two New York counties.
Did the Journal News break the law by releasing that information, even if it was included in the lists obtained through its open records requests?
Contact information for the Journal News is not easy to locate on its website, but after approximately a half-hour, The Post & Email found an email address and sent the following message:
From: Sharon Rondeau
Sent: Mon 1/07/13 8:08 PM
Hello, I am owner and operator of an electronic newspaper, The Post & Email, which focuses on government corruption.
I have read your coverage and written a report of my own on the release of pistol permit holders’ names and addresses in Westchester and Rockland Counties as well as holders of such permits living in Connecticut.
While in New York it is legal to release the personal information of pistol permit holders, it is not legal in Connecticut. Have you broken the law by revealing the names and addresses of Connecticut permit holders who happen to have New York permits?
As noted above, I have copied this email to the Connecticut Attorney General’s office.
Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
P.O. Box 195
Stafford Springs, CT 06076