In the wake of the tragic Connecticut school massacre, the New York-based Journal News took it upon itself to publish the names and addresses of all gun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties under the headline, “Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?”
The paper obtained the information from a Freedom of Information Act request and published it on an interactive map on it’s website. The map’s red dots indicate the location of a firearm permit holder. One only has to click a dot and the gun owner’s name and address are displayed.
The Journal News did this in an apparent attempt to perform a public service. But who was served?
The gun owners certainly weren’t served. Given the political outcry centered on the ownership and control of firearms, it was a blatant attempt to intimidate the owners for asserting and relying on their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves, their loved ones and their home.
Those who don’t own guns weren’t served either. The Journal News provided a map to all the area’s burglars and other “bad guys” showing all the addresses that are “safe” for home invasions.
I wasn’t the only one outraged — so were the other readers. Here are a few examples:
Curtis Maenza wrote, “This is CRAZY!! why in the world would you post every licensed gun owner information?? What do you hope to accomplish by doing this. This is the type of thing you do for sex offenders not law abiding gun owners. What next? should i hang a flag outside my house that says I own a gun? I am canceling my subscription with your paper today!!!”
Mike Pandolfo added, “Now everyone knows where the LEGAL GUNS are kept, a valuable piece of information for criminals. Why don’t you do something helpful, like trying to find out where the ILLEGAL GUNS are kept? That would be helpful to the non-criminal population.”
I thought the best comment came from Gordon Thompson, who wrote “How about a map of the editorial staff and publishers of Gannett and Journal News with names and addresses of their families…”
All in all, the only people The Journal News served by this stunt was The Journal News itself.
It was an outrageous attempt to call attention to itself and sell newspapers — nothing more. And it did so at the risk of the very people it purports to serve — the residents of Westchester and Rockland counties.