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The Berkshires

Understanding the new gun law

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Albany/HV: Understanding the new gun law
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The bill also includes a much-debated measure to protect pistol permit owners from being identified publicly. This comes after The Journal News newspaper identified pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties based on a Freedom of Information request. Our Erin Vannella has more on this issue and explains what it means for new gun owners who may want to keep their purchase private.

NEW YORK STATE -- "We have correction officers who have come to us and told us that inmates are pointing to this map and saying ‘we know where your families are,’" said Republican Senator Greg Ball.

He asked for privacy in the name of permit pistol owners in Westchester and Rockland counties whose names and addresses were legally FOILed and published in a Hudson Valley newspaper.

"We have many more victims of domestic violence who have come forward even in the previous week to say their stalkers and abuses are back," said Ball.

They were statements that, at least in part, could have helped justify a provision in the law passed Tuesday that puts a gun owner database outside the coverage of the freedom of information law.

"It will continue to state that the name and the address of the licensee will be public unless the licensee takes the affirmative step of attempting to opt out," said Executive Director for Open Government in New York Robert Freeman.

Gun owners just have to visit the county clerk.

"They would fill out a form and my understanding is there would be a series of boxes on the form and the applicant would check off the boxes that the individual would believe to be so," said Freeman.

To Senator Ball's point, it could be that the person is a present or former law enforcement official, has an order of protection, is the victim of domestic violence or otherwise. Current gun owners can apply opt out too.

But this is only one aspect of the new law. Gun store owners we talked with say they're considering closing shop for a couple days to learn what the law means to them.

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