Tonawanda News — Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs announced Sunday that forms for pistol owners who do not want their permit information to be released will be available starting Feb. 15.
“The State Police have indicated that they will have these ‘opt-out’ forms available on Feb. 15. In anticipation of this we are encouraging pistol permit holders to visit www.erie.gov/optout and enter their e-mail address so we can immediately send them the form electronically as soon as we get it,” Jacobs said.
The state’s new gun control law, the NY Safe Act, allows pistol permit holders to request that their information stay private and confidential, and directs police to create a way for permit holders to opt out of public disclosure.
The provision was included in the law as a result of the incident in Westchester in December when a newspaper obtained the records of the county’s permit holders under public records law and publicized them on the paper’s website in a form of a map charting every permit holder in the county.
Faced with mounting public backlash that the map was a tool criminals could exploit, the newspaper later took down the map, but anger over the controversy lingered into the debate over new gun control laws in Albany, brought up in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy.
Pistol permit holders have 60 days after the form is made available to submit their privacy request to the clerk’s office. The forms can be mailed to Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs, c/o Pistol Permit Office, 92 Franklin St., Buffalo, NY 14202.