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Rockland Coalition Blasts Gun Map, Seeks Change

Bipartisan group disavows newspaper's map, calls for new gun initiatives.

Corrections officers at Rockland County jails are facing a problem entirely new to them, sheriff Louis Falco said Friday morning.

Inmates have been approaching the workers for the past two weeks and reciting the officers' home addresses.

Falco said the issue stems from a map published in December by a local newspaper that charts all legally licensed pistol permit holders in Rockland and Westchester counties. The map—created by The Journal News and hosted on LoHud.com—allows viewers to see the names and addresses of all residents who are allowed to own concealable firearms.

Falco was flanked by a coalition of bipartisan Rockland politicos at 11 New Hempstead Rd. in New City who find common ground in assailing the map—and the periodical that published it. A group of local police chiefs and leaders from the Democrat, Republican, Independence and Working Families parties all disavowed the map.

"This is an issue of common sense," said legislator Frank Sparaco (R). "The Journal News' sensational actions have placed residents at risk." Sparaco also called on the periodical's editors to remove the map from their website.

Paul Piperato, Rockland County's clerk, said lawmakers are pushing for legislation in Albany that would make future attempts to publish gun data difficult, or impossible. Piperato spoke of a nascent bill that would make pistol owner data confidential, and searchable only by law enforcement.

A portion of the press conference also touched on gun safety—while condemnation of the map was unanimous, politicos called for a ban on assault weapons, as well. Legislator Ilan Schoenberger (D) also proposed a program that would distribute free cable locks to all legal gun owners in the county.

"Cable locks are better than trigger locks," Schoenberger said. "They work not just on handguns, but on rifles and shotguns, too."

Falco said the locks would be distributed at no cost to the taxpayer—the county has a surplus of 1,600. There would be a limit of four per household, he added.

In Putnam County, lawmakers have adopted a similar sentiment, and are declining to release the requested firearm information to the newspaper—a refusal that is illegal, as the information is public.

Friday morning's press conference included moments of action, too, when legislator Aron Wieder (D) officially filed for a pistol permit.

"I will do anything to keep my family safe," he said.

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