Who's packing heat? NY gun data goes public

Do you have a right to know who's packing heat?

A website called "Who's Packing? NY" has recently published New York State's entire database of pistol permits. The site gives out the names and addresses of 1.3 million New Yorkers and dates back to 1936.

The information was obtained under Freedom of Information Laws and was received from New York State Police, which maintains the pistol permit database.

The release of the information has come under fire from gun owners, who say it violates their privacy and could put their safety at risk.

The Albany Times Union used the database to publish an article Tuesday on state legislators who have registered pistol permits. Central New York State Senator John DeFrancisco appears on the list. He owns a Walther P-38 pistol.

DeFrancisco tells CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that he does not believe such information should be public and would support efforts to restrict the release of pistol permit information. DeFrancisco says the database almost provides a "roadmap" for criminals who may break into homes to steal firearms.

"The benefits of providing information are outweighed by the potential danger by people who would want to obtain those guns illegally," says DeFrancisco.

Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government, says 30 years ago the State Court of Appeals allowed the Wall Street Journal to publish a list of pistol permits, rejecting arguments that it could endanger those who legally own guns.

"A license to be a plumber, practice medicine to be a teacher, all of those licenses are public," says Freeman. There is no indication from any source of which I am familiar that suggests the use the use of the information has resulted in harm or jeopardy.

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