Napolitano: Putnam County Clerk Will Ultimately Have to Choose Between a Statute and the Second Amendment in Fight to Protect Gun Permit Holders
Earlier on America Live, Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant stood by his refusal to release the names and addresses of residents with gun permits. Sant’s move is setting up a legal showdown with The Journal News, a newspaper that published online maps revealing the gun permit owners in two neighboring New York counties.
Judge Andrew Napolitano weighed in saying that legally, the newspaper has the right to demand the release of the names thanks to a New York statute. However, Napolitano said that public servants “who are duty-bound to obey the law are also duty-bound to analyze the law that they are obeying and to determine which will create more havoc.”
He argued that Sant is torn between “a statute that on its face says all these records are open to the public and a principle of Constitutional law that says directly […] you must protect the right to keep and bear arms.”
He believes this case will go to court and in all likelihood could end up in the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.
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According to Napolitano, the statute that this information be public was enacted before the internet age. With the “immediacy of that information coming out today, this would be a profound violation of the right to keep and bear arms if those who do so, lawfully do so, have to reveal their identity to the world,” the judge said.
Napolitano warned of another potential consequence should the names and addresses be released. He said, “If all that information comes out that will have the effect of people illegally owning guns because they will still want to protect themselves but they won’t want to reveal all that information to the government and to the public.”