Clerk's Office Not Releasing Gun Owner Information

January 16, 2013 Updated Jan 16, 2013 at 7:55 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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January 16, 2013 Updated Jan 16, 2013 at 7:55 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) The Buffalo News recently filed a 'Freedom of Information Request' with Erie County to obtain names and addresses for 75,000 pistol permit holders.

"We intend to use it in our day-to-day reporting, but we are not putting a database online and we're not putting a map online," commented Buffalo News Editor and Vice President Mike Connelly.

The Buffalo News request comes shortly after a down-state newspaper created a huge controversy after posting gun owner addresses online for Westchester and Rockland County.

Upset gun owners complained that posting the data online put their homes at risk by letting thieves know which ones had guns, and it revealed the location of many law enforcement officers.

The complaints were heard by legislators in Albany who added language to New York State's gun law to restrict the release of gun owner information.

The Buffalo News maintains their request for information was part of its normal news gathering process.

"We don't intend to publish the gun data. That was not the reason for our request," added Mike Connelly from the Buffalo News.

"As we report crime stories, we think it is important to, among other things, know where the gun came from."

Concerns about how the information will be used is prompting Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs to say publicly that he will not release the requested information.

"I believe there are provisions in the existing law which gave me the power to not do that if there was a fear of safety," said Jacobs.

Under the NY SAFE Act, a 120-day hold has been put on the release of all pistol permit holder information.

Permit holders, and those applying for a permit, will now have the option to file a new form with the New York State Police specifically requesting that personal information not be disclosed if they feel it jeopardizes their safety.

"As soon as those applications are available, we will get them out to all the pistol permit holders," added the Erie County Clerk.