January 8th, 2013Top Story
Last month, the Journal News sparked a firestorm of protest when it published a mappable database of every licensed gun owner in Westchester and Rockland counties, north of New York City. The paper obtained the data—which New York state law explicitly and unambiguously demands be made public—through open records requests. The reaction was swift and furious—gun rights and privacy advocates published the names and addresses of the paper's editors in retaliation, and the paper (ironically) hired armed guards to protect against threats.
One weird reaction came from TV wraith Ann Coulter, who told Fox News' Sean Hannity last week: "If we're producing lists of gun permit owners, I want them for Manhattan. I want to know how many rich liberals with their body guards have gun permits." You're in luck, Ann. I happened to have just such a list in my filing cabinet. Here it is.
Below is a 446-page list of every licensed gun owner in New York City. I obtained it from the NYPD two-and-a-half years ago via a Freedom of Information Law request. Because the NYPD is more interested in raping and/or eating ladies and spying on Muslims than it is in honoring public records law, the list contains only the names, and not the addresses, of the licensees. (If you're curious, here's what section 400.00 of the Penal Law of New York, entitled "Licenses to carry, possess, repair and dispose of firearms," has to say on the matter: "The name and address of any person to whom an application for any license has been granted shall be a public record." The only way to get the associated addresses from the NYPD, as the law requires, would be to take them to court, which no one has apparently done.)
I reported in 2010 that the names of Fox New chief Roger Ailes, his mouthpiece Sean Hannity, Howard Stern, Don Imus, Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and Estee Lauder heir Ron Lauder appear to have permits to carry or own guns in the city—though the lack of addresses makes it difficult to verify that it's Howard Stern the radio personality as opposed to Howard Stern the accountant from Queens. If you want to have an intern scour it for "liberals," Ann, have at it. (Interesting sidenote: The Journal News also requested permit data from Putnam County, N.Y., which is loudly and proudly refusing to obey the law and hand it over. One of the names on Putnam County's list is presumably Ailes, who has a home there. Putnam County's effort to flout the law is being led by state Sen. Greg Ball, who is a close ally of Ailes and has previously served as his hatchet man in an effort to shut down a rival to two newspapers that Ailes and his wife own in Putnam County.)
But if it's addresses you want, look no further: New York pistol owners must register not only with their local police departments, but with the state as well. And the names of 1.2 million New Yorkers licensed to own handguns, and the addresses of 300,000 of them, have been freely available online for more than two years. Two databases listing all of the handgun owners were initially posted online anonymously at a web site called Who's Packing NY in August of 2010. That web site is no longer working, but a mirror—complete with the two full databases available for download—is still working here. According to the site, the New York state police handed over the gun data in two spreadsheets, one called "new system" and one called "old system." Only the "new system" entries have address data—Ailes and Hannity, for instance, list their address as News Corp's Avenue of the Americas headquarters, so we know it's them. The John Mack that shows up on the NYPD list has an address on the state list that happens to be Morgan Stanley's headquarters, so we know that former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack packs heat. The James Breslin that shows up on the NYPD list gave the state an address for a New York City Fire Department facility, so it's probably not Jimmy Breslin the reporter and writer.
(The NYPD list, by the way, is divided into five kinds of licenses: "PR," or premises license, allows you to keep a gun in your home or business but no where else; "CB," or carry business—which Ailes has—allows you to carry it on your person; "CG," or carry guard, is for security guards; "SC," or special carry, is for businesses to let various qualified employees carry guns, and "CL," or limited carry business, is a carry business license with special restrictions.)
In any case, it's clear that many of the Rockland County and Westchester County gun owners who are outraged at having their addresses plastered on the internet have had those addresses plastered on the internet for years without it causing a problem. And if anyone wanted to really stir some shit up, they'd grab those Who's Packing databases and throw them up on Google Maps.
Here's the full, searchable, NYPD list. (And for the record, they are not all assholes. Some of them need guns for legitimate reasons for their jobs, like providing security for assholes.)
[Image by Jim Cooke]