Release of gun listings has owners crying foul
By Victor Whitman
Posted: August 12, 2009 - 2:00 AM
MONTICELLO — Sullivan County Clerk Dan Briggs Tuesday blasted district attorney candidate Glenn Kroll for obtaining the name and address of every resident in the county with a pistol permit.
Kroll first made the Freedom of Information request June 30. After initially denying the FOIL on a technicality, the county on Aug. 5 supplied Kroll with an electronic copy on a disc.
Such information falls under the state's open record law.
"The release of such personal information potentially compromises the safety and welfare of each of us in Sullivan County," said Briggs, who held a news conference in the lobby of the Government Center.
Kroll, arriving as Briggs was reading his prepared statement, said the move was political. Briggs is a Republican and Kroll, a Bloomingburg lawyer, is a Democrat running against Republican Jim Farrell.
Kroll said he's been a National Rifle Association member since age 18, is a gun safety instructor and owns several pistols.
"I am actually the Second Amendment candidate running for DA," Kroll said. "My intention was to reach out to them by private mail to tell them I am a strong believer in the Second Amendment and their right to own firearms."
But several gun owners at the news conference said they're offended. They fear the information might be distributed, violates their privacy and might fall into the hands of criminals.
"Everyone is listed on the election rolls — use that," said Tony Leone, a former GOP candidate for the Legislature. As a gun owner, Leone said he's turned off that Kroll would seek his personal information.
"I was still feeling the two guys out, now I am all for the other guy," Leone said.
Briggs said he was going to block out or remove some of the names in his files. He objected to the request generally, but wanted to remove the names of police officers and people who have died or no longer have permits. His paper files had roughly 17,000 to 18,000 names and weren't totally up to date.
He later found out the county had the files in a database and gave Kroll the copy. County Attorney Sam Yasgur said he had no choice in releasing the information. "Do I think it should be public?" Yasgur said. "My answer is no. ****, I'm on the list."