Is it wrong to publish the names and addresses of gun owners?
As the debate over gun control continues to rage in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut, a suburban New York newspaper fanned the flames by publishing a controversial interactive map listing the names and addresses of gun-permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties. The article, "The gun owner next door: What you don't know about weapons in your neighborhood," was published by the White Plains-based Journal News and on its affiliated website, LoHud.com. The paper noted that the map uses data obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request and cautioned that "being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so."
The reaction: This is outright intimidation, says Ben Shapiro at Breitbart.com. "Publishing the names and addresses of gun owners makes them more vulnerable to robbery when they aren't at home, since criminals will know where the guns are." On the contrary, says conservative radio host Tammy Bruce on Twitter, the Journal News' map "reveals to criminals which homes *are not* protected by firearms." Regardless of who is put in the most danger by this map, this is "unforgivable," tweeted Town Hall's Katie Pavlich. "Time to publish the names and addresses of everyone who works at the Journal News." Amid the controversy, the newspaper has defended its decision. "We knew publication of the database would be controversial but we felt sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings," said the Journal News' editor CynDee Royle in a statement. While "any member of the public has a right to inquire about a specific person as to licensure status," said Journal News reader Mark T. Hoops, a "newspaper does not have the right to ADVERTISE this information WHOLESALE. What you have done is reprehensible."