Putnam County’s refusal has no legal justification; if absolutely necessary, exceptions to FOIA requests should be determined by lawmakers after a public debate, and not on the arbitrary whim of some overzealous county clerk.
To this end, state Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, has vowed to push legislation that would make state pistol permits confidential. We hope fears about the public nature of such information will prove to be overblown, and such legislation will prove unnecessary.
Unfortunately, we’re now debating whether government should become more opaque, thanks to one newspaper’s failure to use sound editorial judgment. Given that it published the map in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre without providing a compelling reason why, the Journal News shouldn’t be surprised by the backlash.