” The Journal News, a newspaper serving the northern suburbs of New York City, published the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in two counties in New York State. The interactive map received more views than any other article in the paper’s history and generated significant outrage across the nation. Calls and e-mails to the newspaper became so threatening that it decided to hire armed security guards to protect the safety of its employees.
Did the newspaper act irresponsibly by publishing the names and addresses of handgun permit holders online?
In “Outcry Over Newspaper’s Map of Handgun Permit Holders” J. David Goodman writes about the controversy surrounding The Journal News’s decision.
In the days after the Connecticut school killings, a newspaper in nearby Westchester County, N.Y., decided to respond by publishing the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in its readership area. The newspaper, The Journal News, said that informing people about legal weapons in their neighborhoods was a public service.
Not everyone agrees.
When the Times proposed these questions to students 13 and older, the resulting comments proved very enlightening and can’t have been what the editors of that liberal fish-wrap were expecting . Apparently the youth of today , even in the liberal bastion of the NYC metropolitan area , are much more liberty-minded than their parents and teachers . Another sign that all that education spending (read:propaganda) has been a failure at creating wards of the state . Perhaps there is hope after all .
Students: Tell us …
- Did The Journal News act irresponsibly by publishing the names and addresses of legal gun permit holders? Did the newspaper stigmatize gun ownership or give gun owners a scarlet letter? Or did it make a positive contribution to the gun control debate?
- Does publishing the names of handgun permit holders provide a public service in any way? Do people have the right to know who the gun owners are in their community?
- Should gun owners have a right to keep what they own, including guns, private? Does revealing the addresses of gun owners, including police and corrections officers, endanger anyone’s safety?
- In response to the newspaper’s article, some legislators in New York are rushing to pass a bill that will make gun permit information private. Other critics are organizing a boycott of The Journal News. What do you think about these responses to the online map?
24.January 8, 20139:15 amLink
I believe that publishing a map with the names and addresses of gun permit owners in these to counties was extremely irresponsible. It was absolutely pointless to publish this interactive map which provided the general public with rather private information. It was unnecessary also to make the map interactive. If anything the dotes themselves without any other information would have sufficed without having to give specific details on the people in question. This map can cause to reactions among the people residing in these counties. Either they are provided with a false sense of security or now that cannot help but constantly look over there shoulder, act paranoid and afraid because they have just found out the specific location of a the couple thousand guns in there neighborhood. These citizens may begin to treat neighbors who they just found out owned a gun differently or another possibility is that the citizens who do not currently own a firearm will now take steps to acquire one to “protect” themselves from the neighbors. The houses marked on the map are possibly also more at risk of being robbed because criminals know were they can find a firearm. It is true that the information presented on this map is technically public knowledge because in can be found in public records but one thing is to be able to do something and another is to take the time to look up the couple thousand people that possess a firearm in these two counties. To conclude, It think that publishing this map was a naive and shortsighted decision that only will cause panic and unrest in these counties.