State Sen. Joseph Griffo has introduced legislation in the Senate to protect the personal information of pistol and revolver owners by keeping their information available only to law enforcement agencies and by limiting the number of names that can be obtained through a single Freedom of Information request.
“While I’m the co-sponsor of other pieces of legislation to completely deny access to this data to everyone but law enforcement, I also recognize that some individuals may have a valid reason for wanting to know if a specific person has a firearm permit,” he added. “This legislation still allows for public access with a FOIL request, but will limit the ability of a person to access the NYS or NYC permit or revolver registry by denying requests for the entire list or database.”
“Unfortunately, there’s an abuse of the public access to New York State’s pistol or revolver permit registry that exists due to the creation of websites on the Internet that contain the name and address of every person in the State of New York who holds a permit for a pistol or revolver,” said Griffo. “Having this information available online and readily accessible to anyone creates serious safety issues not only for the permit holders and their family members but also for individuals who do not have guns in their home.”
This bill will only allow a search of the list with a request for a specifically named individual to rule out the intentional abuse of the public access and posting of an entire database or geographic area of permit holders.
“When some of the information appeared on the Internet, I received calls from dozens of people who were genuinely alarmed when they learned that their permit information was available for anyone to view,” Griffo continued. “After looking into this more, I learned that my own personal weapon information could be on these lists too.”
“Those who contacted me were also disturbed that having this list available not only tells criminals where legally owned handguns are located but it also tells them which homes are not protected by a person with a pistol permit,” Griffo pointed. “Criminals now have a roadmap of the homes that have guns and those that do not. This can be easily utilized to target homes to steal the pistol or revolver from the person’s address that is listed on the permit. Not only does this possibly put guns in the hands of dangerous individuals but it also creates the chance of the permit holder or a family member being harmed during an attempted robbery.”