SPECULATOR - The personal information of pistol permit holders in New York state will become available to anyone May 15, unless a certain form is filed before then.
The so-called opt-out forms were added to NYS Penal Law by the NY SAFE Act following the December publication by the (Westchester) Journal News of the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. The newspaper got the information by submitting Freedom Of Information Law requests to the county clerks.
The release of such information is now temporarily exempt from FOIL, until May 15. At that time, the personal information of those whose opt-out forms have been approved will remain exempt from FOIL.
Those wishing to apply for the exemption should do so by May 15 to protect their information from disclosure.
The opt-out form may be filed at any time, but if done after May 15 there will be a window where personal pistol permit information may be made public; between May 15 and whenever the request is granted.
The NYS Firearms License Request for Public Records Exemption Form can be obtained from the county clerk or sheriff's office in Lake Pleasant or online at www.troopers.ny.gov/Firearms. Immediately under the menu bar click on 'Public Records Exemption.'
The permit holder must justify why his or her firearms license application and firearms license should not be public records. Reasons include being in or retired from law enforcement, having an order of protection and being or having been a witness or juror in a criminal case.
The spouses and household members of such a person also qualify.
Other reasons are fear for one's life or safety or that of a spouse of household member if the information is released, or having reason to believe disclosure would result in harassment.
The completed form must be filed with the permit holder's county clerk. In Hamilton County the clerk's office is at the county complex at the intersection of State Route 8 and S. Shore Rd. in Lake Pleasant (POB 204, Lake Pleasant NY 12108).
If the form is properly filled out the county judge will grant the exemption.