(WBEN) Even as he gathers forms to keep current pistol permit data private, - Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs says he's working with attorneys who are against websites that are already publishing the kind of stuff that the new opt-out system is trying to keep under wraps.
Coming Friday, a moratorium expires, preventing county clerks across New York State from releasing their database of pistol permit data. While the moratorium is in place clerks like Jacobs have been collecting opt out forms where individuals can choose to never have their information released. But Jacobs admits there are already some cows out there, too late to close the metaphorical barn doors.
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Websites like palladium.net and whospackingnewyork.com have their own database, with personal details online, based on state police data made public long ago.
"There are a few lawyers locally who have volunteered their time that are looking to se if anything is actionable right now, after the fact, due to the fact that every time you refresh a page it could be viewed as a new posting," Jacobs says.
" We'll see. I'd certainly like to say that each website of their own volition would take it down, but in some cases its hard to even know who those people are" Jacobs says
Jacobs meanwhile expects a decision from county attorneys later this week, to determine whether he must honor Freedom Of Information requests for data after the moratorium. Across the state, several newspapers have requested permit data in various counties.
The Buffalo News has a pending request with Jacobs, saying that it plans to build an internal database without plans to publish the information.
The opt out system- established under the New York State Safe Act gun control measure- allows people to cite fears of harm, and have their pistol permit data cloaked even if such requests are honored.
Jacobs hopes to be able to deny the News and similar requests, relying on opt out data as a back up option
Roughly one third of the county's 60,000 permit holders have requested their information not be disclosed..