Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Journal News publishes names of people who have legal gun permits, but will not publish names and addresses of criminals.

A controversial decision on the part of The Journal News (http://goo.gl/ugMM4) to publish the names and addresses of hundreds of residents in Westchester and Rockland counties who possess a handgun or pistol permit has sparked a furor online and on social media, with over 1,100 comments posted on The Journal News website and 18,000 likes on Facebook so far.
ABC News reports (http://yhoo.it/W0tBDW) that gun owners’ names and addresses were placed on a virtual map, enabling viewers to click on any dot to determine who has a weapons permit and where they live.
“This is CRAZY!! Why in the world would you post every licensed gun owner’s information?? This is the type of thing you do for sex offenders, not law abiding gun owners…I am canceling my subscription with your paper today!!!” wrote one commenter.
All of the data was culled from public records. The Journal News has also put in a Freedom of Information Law request to obtain the same information for residents in Putnam County. Officials there are still in the process of gathering those records.
In a statement, The Journal News defended its decision to post the information, saying its readers “are understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods,” in the wake of the shooting massacre in Newtown, Connecticut last week.
“We obtained the names and addresses of Westchester and Rockland residents who are licensed to own handguns through routine Freedom of Information law requests. We also requested information on the number and types of guns owned by permit holders, but officials in the county clerks offices in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties maintained that those specifics were not public record. New York’s top public-records expert, Robert Freeman, disagrees,” the statement said.
The Journal News said it would not answer any additional questions about the map.

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