(Image Source: White Plains Journal News)

BY JOHN O’CONNOR

ANCHOR NEVILLE MILLER

A New York newspaper has sparked national controversy after publishing an interactive map showing the names and addresses of registered gun owners in the area.

The map lists names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in the counties of Westchester and Rockland, New York. In a statement to ABC News, The Journal News explains its reason for creating the map. 

“The Journal News said its readers ‘are understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods,’ because of the conversation about gun control on its website after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., last week.”  

The Journal obtained all the information legally through the Freedom of Information Act, but was it fair play to publish it?

A representative from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says the media needs to have access to important gun information. 

In an example, he explains to CNN how the Florida Sun Sentinel exposed 1,400 people that had been issued a conceal and carry permit despite having a felony on their record.

“The gun lobby’s response to that was to get the Florida legislature to make the names secret so you couldn’t do that analysis. That was wrong-headed by the legislature, but this I think was wrong-headed by the media.”  

A senior faculty member at Poynter agrees, saying just because the information is public does not mean it should be published without cause.

“If you are not breaking the law, there is no compelling reason to publish the data. Publishing gun owners’ names makes them targets for theft or public ridicule. It is journalistic arrogance to abuse public record privilege … ” 

Fox News says people across the nation were quick to condemn the move, claiming the map not only makes gun owner’s a target, but also shows would-be robbers which homeowners do not have a gun to protect themselves.

“‘Do you fools realize that you also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob that have no guns in them to protect themselves?’ one reader wrote on [Fox News] Facebook.” 

But a blogger for The Nation says it really doesn’t point out which houses would be “safer to rob” because the map only shows those who legally own a handgun. The data does not include other firearms such as shotguns and semi automatic rifles, which can be obtained without a permit, or guns that might be owned illegally. 

In protest to the map, gun advocacy groups posted the addresses for reporters and editors. The Journal News has not released any comment that would suggest it is going to remove the map anytime soon.

Newspaper Sparks Outrage After Publishing Map of Gun Owners

by John O'Connor
0
Sources:CNNFox News
Transcript
Dec 26, 2012

Newspaper Sparks Outrage After Publishing Map of Gun Owners

 

(Image Source: White Plains Journal News)

BY JOHN O’CONNOR

ANCHOR NEVILLE MILLER

A New York newspaper has sparked national controversy after publishing an interactive map showing the names and addresses of registered gun owners in the area.

The map lists names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in the counties of Westchester and Rockland, New York. In a statement to ABC News, The Journal News explains its reason for creating the map. 

“The Journal News said its readers ‘are understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods,’ because of the conversation about gun control on its website after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., last week.”  

The Journal obtained all the information legally through the Freedom of Information Act, but was it fair play to publish it?

A representative from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says the media needs to have access to important gun information. 

In an example, he explains to CNN how the Florida Sun Sentinel exposed 1,400 people that had been issued a conceal and carry permit despite having a felony on their record.

“The gun lobby’s response to that was to get the Florida legislature to make the names secret so you couldn’t do that analysis. That was wrong-headed by the legislature, but this I think was wrong-headed by the media.”  

A senior faculty member at Poynter agrees, saying just because the information is public does not mean it should be published without cause.

“If you are not breaking the law, there is no compelling reason to publish the data. Publishing gun owners’ names makes them targets for theft or public ridicule. It is journalistic arrogance to abuse public record privilege … ” 

Fox News says people across the nation were quick to condemn the move, claiming the map not only makes gun owner’s a target, but also shows would-be robbers which homeowners do not have a gun to protect themselves.

“‘Do you fools realize that you also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob that have no guns in them to protect themselves?’ one reader wrote on [Fox News] Facebook.” 

But a blogger for The Nation says it really doesn’t point out which houses would be “safer to rob” because the map only shows those who legally own a handgun. The data does not include other firearms such as shotguns and semi automatic rifles, which can be obtained without a permit, or guns that might be owned illegally. 

In protest to the map, gun advocacy groups posted the addresses for reporters and editors. The Journal News has not released any comment that would suggest it is going to remove the map anytime soon.

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