A newspaper published a gun permit holder list, which contains the names and addresses of those with gun permits in two counties in New York. The list, which was originally published on Dec. 24, has many in outrage. A Dec. 29 report by Reuters states,
” A suburban New York newspaper that sparked an uproar among gun enthusiasts by publishing names and addresses of residents holding pistol permits is now planning to publish even more identities of permit-toting locals.”
The Journal News, which covers three counties in Hudson Valley, released a story which detailed a public-records request they filed to get the information.
The headline of the story read,
“The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood,”
It is believed that the information was requested due to the recent Newton massacre, which happened approximately 50 miles northeast of their headquarters.
The Journal News story shows comments from both parties of the debate over gun rights. They claim they presented the list due to many expressing their concerns about knowing where guns where located in their neighborhood. The report reveals that there are about 44,000 people that are licensed to own a gun in Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties. It also mentions that rifles and shotguns can be bought without a permit.
The maps, which accompanied the list, revealed names and addresses of permit holders just by clicking on it. However, it states that inclusion on the list doesn’t specifically mean that the person owns a weapon, it just shows those who have a license.
By Wednesday, the maps went viral on Facebook and other social media networks. Most have criticized Journal News for the publication, and some suggest it puts the permit holders in danger because thieves now know where to steal the guns.
Despite the criticism, The Journal News is not backing down from their project, and they later stated a similar list was published in 2006. Janet Hasson, president and publisher of the Journal News Media Group, gave the following statement about the situation:
“Frequently, the work of journalists is not popular. One of our roles is to report publicly available information on timely issues, even when unpopular. We knew publication of the database would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings.”