Appeals court denies NY Times over gun information

NEW YORK (AP) -- A state appellate court reversed a decision Tuesday that would have allowed The New York Times access to home addresses of gun permit holders in New York City as well as addresses of hate crime victims.

The Times had asked the New York Police Department for the information in 2010 under freedom of information laws and been denied but a state court in November 2011 decided in favor of the paper seeing those databases. The Appellate Division, First Department said Tuesday that decision was incorrect.

However, the lower court had denied the Times access to another database connected to the NYPD's street stop program and the appellate court remanded the issue back down to the lower court.

The Times said the decision was being reviewed and next steps being considered.

The city's lawyer, Michael Cardozo, said the ruling "protects important privacy interests and allows an appropriate balance between privacy and safety concerns versus the public's right to know."

A suburban New York City newspaper in December stirred outrage when it published the names and addresses of thousands of gun permit holders. The Journal News defended its publication of the public records but pulled the information from its site after it was inundated with complaints and even threats.

New York's new gun control law allows handgun permit applicants to ask that their personal information be kept secret for any of several reasons: if they are police officers, witnessed a crime, served on a jury in a criminal case or are victims of domestic violence. They can also claim they fear for their safety or might be subjected to harassment.

Permit holders can also ask that their personal information from previous applications be withdrawn from the public record for the same reasons.