The Journal News, a newspaper that serves New York’s lower Hudson Valley, is taking heat for its decision to post a map with the names and addresses of local gun permit holders on its website over the weekend. The paper, which obtained the information through a Freedom of Information Act request, noted that “by state law, the information is public record.”
Still, from the county clerk’s office, to conservative pundits and concerned commenters, many took issue with the newspaper’s decision to publish the interactive piece.
“Anyone can find out the names and addresses of handgun owners in any county with a simple Freedom of Information Law request, and the state’s top public records expert told the Journal News last week that he thinks the law does not bar the release of other details,” reporter Dwight R. Worley wrote in an article prefacing the controversial map. “But officials in county clerk’s offices in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam maintain the public does not have a right to see such things as the specific permits an individual has been issued, the types of handguns a person possesses or the number of guns he or she owns - whether one or a dozen.”
The county clerk’s office officials aren’t alone: Many conservative voices have subsequently risen up against the piece and its ostensible rationale.
“Intimidation,” exclaims a Breitbart headline. “I guess nobody could object to people putting the newspaper staff’s addresses on the Web now, right?” Instapundit inquired, rhetorically.
But privacy wasn’t the only issue of concern for those who voiced opposition to the article—others cited safety concerns.
The Huffington Post:
Some critics felt the Journal News article put people in danger. “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? What a bunch of liberal boobs you all are,” one commenter wrote on the newspaper’s website. Others worried that the names would expose law enforcement officials. “You have judges, policemen, retired policemen, FBI agents — they have permits. Once you allow the public to see where they live, that puts them in harm’s way,” Paul Piperato, the Rockland county clerk, told Journal News reporter Worley.
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.
Screenshot via The Journal News