Posted by: Joseph Spector
Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, co-chairman of State Legislators Against Illegal Guns, said today that he would be willing to consider legislation that would restrict public access to who has gun permits as part of sweeping new gun-control laws.
Kavanagh, D-Manhattan, said he supports transparency in government, but questioned whether the public should have access to pistol-permit owners.
“I’m a proponent of open government and transparency, but obviously we should assess the public usefulness of information, and we generally draw that line when it gets down to individual citizens’ transactions with government,” Kavanagh said in an interview with Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
Kavanagh, who has helped lead the charge in the Assembly for tougher gun laws, said he would be open to discussing how to limit the public’s access to the information.
“The notion that because it’s a public record it necessarily needs to be disclosed is something, I think, we should think about whether that is in the public interest and whether it promotes or detracts from public safety,” he said.
Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, is pushing to make the information about gun permit holders private after the Journal News last month published a map with the names and addresses of every gun-permit holder in Westchester and Rockland counties. The Journal News, owned by Gannett Co. Inc., is also seeking the information from Putnam County, but officials there have refused to release the information, saying it infringes on public safety.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers are negotiating a package of tougher gun-control measures after the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Webster, Monroe County.
Kavanagh today said nearly 100 lawmakers signed onto his plan for tougher gun laws. It includes strengthening the state’s assault-weapons ban and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, mandating semi-automatic pistols be equipped with microstamping technology and requiring universal background checks. It also includes a requirement for gun owners to renew their licenses every five years and a limit of personal handgun purchases to no more than one per month.
Kavanagh said he hasn’t discussed a possible restriction on the public’s access to gun permit information with his colleagues.
“It has not been my issue or my desire necessarily to restrict that, but I would say I would understand the concerns of people who want to restrict access to that information,” he continued. “In the context of trying to come to a consensus about how we should change the law, I and I think other people whose core goal is to make that criminals and people with violent tendencies cannot obtain weapons, I think the context of trying to do that, we would be willing to consider the concerns people have about that.” (ARTICLE)