New York allows pistol owners to conceal names

New York residents who hold pistol permits can now ask to have their names removed from public records.

Story highlights

  • New York now lets pistol permit holders remove their names from public records
  • It's part of a gun-control bill passed in January
  • A newspaper published the names of handgun owners in two counties in December

Concealed weapon? Check. Concealed identity? Check.

New York residents who hold pistol permits can now ask to have their names removed from public records -- an option included in the gun-control law passed after the December massacre at a school in neighboring Connecticut.

Forms allowing handgun owners to request that their personal information be kept private are now posted on the New York State Police website. If approved, owners' names, addresses and permit numbers would be withheld from the public record and exempted from the state Freedom of Information Law.

Obama: Laws alone won't stop gun deaths
Obama: Laws alone won't stop gun deaths


    Obama: Laws alone won't stop gun deaths


Obama: Laws alone won't stop gun deaths 01:52
Biden: Buy a shotgun, not an AR-15
Biden: Buy a shotgun, not an AR-15


    Biden: Buy a shotgun, not an AR-15


Biden: Buy a shotgun, not an AR-15 00:52
John Walsh on gun control
John Walsh on gun control


    John Walsh on gun control


John Walsh on gun control 03:32
Dad: You never think it will be your child
Dad: You never think it will be your child


    Dad: You never think it will be your child


Dad: You never think it will be your child 02:13

Opinion: If you back gun reform, write a check

Handgun owners will have to provide a reason for why they want their personal information withheld, particularly why their life or safety may be endangered or how they may be subjected to unwarranted harassment by the disclosure of their information. Law enforcement agencies would still have access to the records, but the general public wouldn't, State Police Sgt. James Sherman said.

But "unless someone is lying on the form or has misrepresented their information in some way, their request will be granted," Sherman said.

New York requires a permit to carry a concealed weapon or to keep a pistol in the home, and the exemption applies to both types of licenses. The privacy measure was part of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, which bans ammunition magazines that hold more than seven rounds and requires instant background checks for all ammunition purchases.

Opinion: Obama needs a 'Plan B' on guns

It became law after The Journal News, a suburban New York newspaper, published an online, interactive map showing the names and addresses of all handgun permit-holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. The map, published in December, infuriated many readers and prompted a blogger to post the names and addresses of Journal News staffers in retaliation.

The Journal News removed its online map 27 days later, stating that the removal was "not a concession to critics" but that the map had served its purpose. The paper's publisher, Janet Hasson, defended the decision to report the information.

"One of our roles is to report publicly available information on timely issues, even when unpopular," Hasson said in a statement. "We knew publication of the database (as well as the accompanying article providing context) would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings."

Pistol permit information is now exempt from the Freedom of Information Law until May 15. Permit holders have until then to submit privacy requests to keep that exemption. Forms filled out after May 15 will still be considered, but their information may be subject to FOIL in the meantime, and applications for new permits will have the option to keep their personal information under wraps as well.

Complete coverage: The gun debate

      Gun control debate

    • Keeping weapons from mentally ill proves elusive

      Gun rights and gun control advocates largely agree there should be restrictions on mentally ill people obtaining firearms. The case of Myron Fletcher illustrates how difficult it is to put that into practice.
    • Has the moment passed? Why gun control push fizzled

      Six months after a gunman burst into a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school and slaughtered 20 children and killed six others, promises of stricter national gun control laws remain largely unfulfilled.
    • An undated photo of murder suspect Elliot Rodger is seen at a press conference by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff in Goleta, California May 24, 2014. Rodger, 22, went on a rampage in Isla Vista near the University of California at Santa Barbara campus, stabbed three people to death at his apartment before shooting to death three more in a terrorizing crime spree through the neighborhood. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

      Opinion: The real gun problem is mental health, not the NRA

      Next time there's a mass shooting, don't jump to blame the National Rifle Association and lax gun laws. Look first at the shooter and the mental health services he did or didn't get, and the commitment laws in the state where the shooting took place.
    • Melvin Speight uses a camera scope run down a barrel to check the rifleing inside. Speight has been with Colt for 7 years.

      At Colt's factory, no apologies for arming America

      The sign at the door of the Colt factory displays a gun with a slash through it: "No loaded or unauthorized firearms beyond this point." Understandable for workers at a plant, but also a bit ironic, considering one of the largest arsenals in America lies just beyond.
    • clip inside man spurlock gun ownership_00004707.jpg

      Five things to know about guns

      Morgan Spurlock's "Inside Man" gives CNN viewers an inside and in-depth look at the issue of firearms -- as viewed from behind the counter of a gun store. Here are five things to know about the debate.
    •  	US President Barack Obama is accompanied by former lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords (L), vice president Joe Biden (R) and family members of Newtown school shooting victims as he speaks on gun control at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 17, 2013. Obama on Wednesday slammed what he called a 'minority' in the US Senate for blocking legislation that would have expanded background checks on those seeking to buy guns. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

      Senate rejects expanded background checks

      The Senate defeated a compromise plan to expand background checks on firearms sales as well as a proposal to ban some semi-automatic weapons modeled after military assault weapons.
    • Jessica Ghawi

      The lives shattered by bullets

      As Congress grapples with major gun control legislation proposals, brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers and children write about the people they loved and lost to gun violence and how it changed their lives.
    • How background checks work

      Many Americans and lawmakers are in favor of continuing or expanding background checks on gun purchases, but few understand how the checks work.
    • Connecticut lawmakers pass gun law

      Still stinging from the shooting deaths at Sandy Hook, Connecticut lawmakers approved what advocacy groups call the strongest and most comprehensive gun legislation in the nation.
    • Sandy Hook shooter had gun safe

      It took fewer than five minutes for Adam Lanza to squeeze off 154 rounds, upending life in Newtown, Connecticut, and triggering a renewed national debate over gun control.
    • Faces of the gun debate

      A former drug addict turned anti-violence crusader, and a man who lost his father in a temple shooting. These are just two of many in the conversation.