ICYMI from today’s morning memo:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is continuing his effort to woo gun owners angry with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the SAFE Act by resurrecting the uproar over his local newspaper’s posting of pistol permit holders’ personal information.

A fundraising appeal that arrived at my Capital Region residence yesterday asked: “Would you want your home address published in the local newspaper and online, marking your household as a place where a pistol could be found?”

“Probably not. But that’s exactly what happened in Westchester County last year when a Gannett editor decided to make headlines,” the letter continues.

“Thousands of law abiding pistol permit owners in that county were treated like sex offenders, and put at risk of home break-ins through this stunt, which clearly emanated from Andrew Cuomo’s anti-Second Amendment hysteria in Albany.”

The appeal goes on to state that just one New York elected official “above all others” stood up for the gun owners, “even though by doing so he’d be publicly criticizing the editors of his home county newspaper.”

That “one official” is, of course, Astorino, who, according to his campaign, “demanded the maps come down and widely chastised the newspaper’s decision to publish it. It made him no friends at the paper, but it was the right thing to do.”

This all dates back to the winter of 2012 when The Journal News, a Gannett publication, decided to post an interactive map of pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties in the wake of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn.

The mass shooting had reignited the gun control debate in both New York and Washington, D.C. Cuomo was aggressively pushing for action by the Legislature, hoping to beat President Obama to the punch in the process.

Pistol permits were, at the time, considered public documents, though Putnam County officials refused to heed the paper’s Freedom of Information request for information on their local holders.

About a month into this fight, which generated considerable consternation – including threats to Journal News staffers – the paper eventually heeded the calls from Astorino and others to take down its map, citing a provision in the new SAFE Act that enabled permit holders to opt out of having their information be publicly available.

Thousands of New Yorkers availed themselves of that opt-out clause, creating a lot of additional work – and headaches – for the state’s county clerks.

Astorino has been consistently reaching out to gun owners for support in hopes of exploiting the still-simmering upset with Cuomo over the SAFE Act – the passage of which marked the start of the downward slide in the governor’s approval ratings upstate.

The fundraising appeal – a no-frills affair comprised of just two sheets of paper, a letter and a contribution form – concluded thusly:

“County Executive Astorino will be vastly outspent by Governor Cuomo, but Mr. Astorino is a demonstrably better leader. If he can raise even a third of what Mr. Cuomo spends, we think he’ll be our next governor.”

As of mid-January, Cuomo had amassed a campaign war chest of more than $33 million, compared to Astorino’s $1 million on hand.

For the record, both my husband and I are registered independents. We are technically a gun-owning household, as my husband is in law enforcement.

Rob Astorino fundraising appeal, hits Gannett for publication of pistol permit information. by liz_benjamin6490