ALBANY - A state judge has ordered the Cuomo administration to stop blocking statistical information about assault weapons registered in the state.
The order is win a for gun-rights group that had sued the administration for the information and a blow to the state’s controversial 2013 gun law called the Safe Act, though the decision could be appealed.
The Shooters Committee on Public Education (SCOPE), a statewide gun owners’ group, had sued Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the State Police, seeking records about weapons registered in the state following the passage of the Safe Act in January 2013. That law, pushed through by Cuomo one month after the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, tightened the state’s definition of assault weapons and required registration of some weapons, among other things.
State Police had refused SCOPE’s information request, as well as requests from media outlets and government watchdog groups, citing a provision of the law to keep gun owners’ names secret. But SCOPE had argued that statistical data should be made public.
Acting State Supreme Court Judge Thomas McNamara of Saratoga County agreed.
“The exemption asserted by the agency (State Police) does not apply to the records sought by the petitioner (SCOPE), and as that is the only basis offered by the agency for denying access, the records should be provided,” McNamara wrote in an April 30 decision that was distributed to the media Thursday by SCOPE.
A Cuomo spokesman said the administration was reviewing McNamara’s decision.
The gun-rights group called it a “major victory for transparency.”
“The ruling is clear and unequivocal,” said Paloma A. Capanna, the gun owners’ attorney. “The effect of the ruling is immediate. Any failure to comply with the ruling can – and will – be met with an application for civil contempt against the” State Police.