Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

- Subsribe at
August 20th, 2009

Briggs wrongly accused of being political

Direct marketing techniques to target audiences with issues sensitive to certain members of the electorate has always been a useful tool for candidates to motivate their audience to get out and vote.

Voters with special interests frequently receive political mailings targeted towards them.

Democratic District Attorney candidate Glenn Kroll wants the support of gun owners and feels he can convince them to vote for him through pinpointed mailings. Kroll has every right to solicit anyone he wants to.

Conversely, people like County Clerk Dan Briggs and Sheriff Michael Schiff have a problem with releasing names and addresses of gun owners. They justly feel this type of information could potentially place them in jeopardy. So when Kroll filed a FOIL request Briggs resisted with the assistance of County Attorney Sam Yasgur.

When the information was released to Kroll through Yasgur circumventing Briggs, he hit the ceiling and called a press conference.
Kroll is crying foul saying Briggs is acting politically in an attempt to get Jim Farrell elected District Attorney.

However, that argument is weak because Farrell is a life member of the NRA and a firm believer in the second amendment. I am certain if he wants to he can also market gun owners.

Briggs told me, “The assertion that the press conference was politically motivated is totally absurd and, in fact, far reaching.  At no time was Kroll’s candidacy ever mentioned, nor was there a partisan political crowd in either attendance, nor invited.  The issue making pistol permit holders’ names and addresses subject to public disclosure transcends political lines.  I believe I have an obligation to make it known that this information has been made public.  Other avenues could have been sought for names and addresses either through the NRA or Board of Elections, for example.”

I can tell you first hand Briggs’ motives were indeed not political.

Several weeks ago I was in the County Clerk’s Office and ran into Briggs; he mentioned to me Kroll’s FOIL and his concerns of it jeopardizing gun holders. He said if necessary he would take the issue to the press, but stressed it was not political.
When I left the County Clerk’s office I went to Walmart and ran into Kroll. We had a friendly chat, and I told him about my conversation with Briggs.

He said he was unaware of Briggs’ concerns.

Kroll asked me what I thought, and I told him I thought he should get the list from another source to avoid an unnecessary mess. Kroll said all he wanted to do was reach people with guns. He said the mailing would cost $14,000, and that this might have saved him money. Kroll said he would “consult with his Rabbis as what to do.”

I suggested he sit down with Briggs and work out a solution to avoid the press. Kroll wrote his cell phone number on a piece of paper, and I said I would bring it to Briggs so they could discuss his trepidations.

I then went back to the County Clerk’s office to hand Briggs Kroll’s number, and he said he would call him.

Briggs said he left several messages for Kroll but he never returned his call or stopped into his office. “I invited him to see me and speak with me, wherein I would have had the opportunity to express my concerns, and if not convinced, advise him of the press conference.  A meeting never took place.”

When I ran into Kroll at the press conference he said he did not see Briggs because he already received the information.

Even though County Attorney Sam Yasgur told me he disagreed with the Penal Code that permitted him to release the information, he said he had no alternative.

The Code states that the names and addresses of any person with whom an application has been granted should be a public record. Yasgur stressed he agreed with Briggs “it should not be public record.”

Yasgur did not want to get into the middle political battle that ultimately would have forced him to release the information. He was able to circumvent Briggs, because the information not containing social security numbers was on the county computer system.
Briggs maintains home addresses of public officials and law enforcement officers cannot be released, and at the very least those names and addresses should have been deleted from the list.

Clearly the law must be changed to protect those who own guns, just as it does for those on social service programs.

Comments are closed.