March 2014 - Firearm Licensee Names and Addresses

An update regarding access to names of firearm licensees.

In 2013, the SAFE Act changed public access to names and addresses of firearm licensees (see http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/news/june2013-safeact.html).

As of May 15, 2013, access to such records is limited to those that are maintained at the county level, and to identities of those persons who have not “opted out” of public disclosure.

This issue was recently addressed by the Putnam County Supreme Court (see Gannett v County of Putnam, March 5, 2014).  The court confirmed that the SAFE Act provides each applicant for a permit or license an opportunity to request that his or her name and address be exempted from disclosure to the public.  The court further found that the SAFE Act unequivocally directs public disclosure of names and addresses of license holders who did not choose to seek an exception from disclosure, or “opt out.” 

It is likely that the decision will be appealed.