NY gun permit opt-outs: Thousands file to block personal information release

Larry Verdi, 60, of Sleepy Hollow owns 18

Larry Verdi, 60, of Sleepy Hollow owns 18 guns and got his first gun permit in 1973. Says Verdi, "A lot of people are misinformed. You go through a year process here before you can get a permit. In other places, all you need is a driver's license." He is pictured holding a 45 STI pistol at the Coyne Park Range in Yonkers. (Oct. 26, 2012) (Credit: Elizabeth Daza)

Stacks of opt-out forms are piling up in county clerks' offices as the statewide freeze on the release of gun permit holders' names and addresses ends Wednesday.

After May 15, permit holders who have not filed "opt out" forms are at risk of seeing personal information disseminated in response to Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL, requests.

The release of any gun permit holders' information to members of the press or public has been temporarily suspended since the New York State Legislature passed the SAFE Act on Jan. 15. The law brought much tougher gun control regulations to New York.


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One provision gives gun permit holders the right to have their personal information withheld from release. Before the bill's passage, that information could be obtained by anyone filing a FOIL request with handgun licensing agencies in each county or with the State Police.

Rockland County Clerk Paul Piperato said his office has been inundated with permit holders' requests to opt out of having their information publicly available.

"We've been bombarded with forms, people mailing them in, walking them in, filing online," Piperato said.

More than 2,500 of about 17,500 permit holders in the county have filed to "opt out," Piperato said.

"And we still have stacks of forms to go through," he said.

Gun permit holders can still file opt-out forms after May 15.

The front desk of the Putnam County Clerk's office is filled with opt-out forms, said Michael Bartolotti, the first deputy clerk. More than 2,000 of the county's roughly 13,000 permit holders have filed opt-out forms, he said.

"We've been getting hit heavy and there are still a lot to process," he said.

The SAFE Act was passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., in which a 20-year-old man gunned down 20 children and six adults at the school.

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