Newspaper Publishes Gun Owners' Names & Addresses Because We Have the Right to Know

Rant 79

gunIt's a unique response to the Sandy Hook shooting, that's for sure. A newspaper in New York State's Hudson Valley decided to publish a map pinpointing the location of every (legal) gun owner in the area. Not surprisingly, the folks at The Journal News have been treated to a giant dose of righteous indignation from some of its readers and right-wing bloggers in the days since. Fortunately, we're not going to add to it. 

Ever heard of the freedom of the press? Or the Freedom of Information Act? Considering the conservatives have been on a crusade to remind us of their "right" to bear arms of late, perhaps it's time we explore other portions of the Constitution.

The publication of the names and addresses of those who have been granted pistol permits were available to The Journal News via legal channels. In fact, they'd be available to anyone via the same channels; the newspaper simply made it easier for residents of Westchester and Rockland counties to access them.

As a mother, particularly, I think this is good information. It's the sort of thing I check before sending my child on a playdate -- because I don't want her in a house where there are guns that may or may not be secured.

And let's just remember: the argument of the NRA and its ilk is that guns make homeowners safer. By that rubric, putting more people on notice that you have a gun should warn all those naughty criminals to stay away, right?

So what's the problem here?

Is it, maybe, that these gun owners are afraid that they will actually fall into the 97 percent of homeowners whose guns don't make them safer in their homes? Or do these pistol owners think that their right to bear arms supersedes all other rights ... such as the right to a free press, the right to information?

That's what I'm hearing a lot of lately: gun owners who refuse to accept that some guns are simply unsafe, that some guns are not worth the risk to human life. We do have a right to bear arms in this country. But with rights comes responsibility.

And the proliferation of assault weapons in this country has not been met with a responsible gun ownership, with laws written responsibly to keep these sort of firearms out of the hands of people who would use them for harm.

The fact is, gun owners, most of us asking for gun control are not asking to take away all guns. We are asking for gun owners to please, come to the table, to talk, to figure this thing out, to prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook from happening again. 

We are asking for gun owners to respect the rights of little children like Olivia Engel, like Noah Pozner, like Daniel Barden to live in peace, to not have their quiet morning at school interrupted by a psychopath with a weapon in his hands that need not be on the streets.

And right now, if you want the right to bear arms, you need to respect the other rights that we enjoy in this country ... even freedom of the press.

What do you think of what this newspaper did?


Image via iluvcocacola/Flickr

human rights, guns


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the4m... the4mutts

While I don't give a damn who knows that I own a gun, the freedom of press & information should not extend to printing names & addresses of people without their concent for anything other than criminal activity (like sex offender list)

What if they posted names & addresses of every satelite tv subscriber, since some places require you to have extra insurance, in case the satelite dish falls and harms someone? So now criminals know who has a tv they may want to steal.

And now criminals know who has a GUN they may want to steal.

Yeah, real fucking smart move. Giving dumb fucking criminas easy access to information about where they could possibly get a gun. Could you, or that paper, be any stupider?

the4m... the4mutts

Oh, and btw, having a pistol ownership permit does NOT give you the right to carry it around with you. That's an entirely seperate permit. So while these gun owners are out grocery shopping, they have a choice:

1. Carry the gun with them illegally (since a CCW is dfficult to obtain in ny & ca) and risk getting caught

2. Lock their gun up, and hope someone won't break in and steal it while its unattnded, risk walking into their hom durring a break-in, and being killed with their own wheapon.

This just made gun ownership more dangerous FOR EVERYONE, including lawfull owners.

belon... belongs2Jesus

they do not have the right to know what your address is and what you legally own. This is a violation of privacy. And as 4 mutts said now the criminals know what houses to go to kill the occupants and get a free gun. How stupid can people be.

bills... billsfan1104

The NRA has come to the table, only you guys on the left do want our guns taken away.  YOu dont want to comprimise, at all. 

So printing of gun owners addressess, give criminals access to guns.  The reason is because they will go now and steal them.  How is that helping with the gun debate??  How is calling us stupid and ignorant as your colleague Sasha has called us???

Where is all this outrage when senseless killings are happening in Chicago or NYC or LA or DC?? 

Flori... Floridamom96

Why do you have the right to know? Where exactly is that right codified in the constitution? How about the fact that the interactive map that these idiots published let all the criminals in on who doesn't have a gun? Making it much easier for them to target the homes of people who can't protect themselves?

nonmember avatar Sarah

I think we need tighter gun control, I want to state that to begin with. I think there are things like gun insurance (others have mentioned this) and stricter background checks that can be done.

But: THIS WAS THE WRONG MOVE. 1) Doing it at Christmas when many of these folks are away. If they don't have their guns properly stored - and unfortunately, a lot of people don't, you've just opened the gates for criminals to have a list of houses to case for stealing guns. Not a grand idea.
2) If the people are home? You may be opening the door to many shootings in the days that follow as stupid criminals try to steal guns.
3) Shaming people, which this seems designed to do, doesn't engender a rational response, by and large. You aren't opening a dialogue with people, you're trying to punish them. That doesn't work on adults.

Flori... Floridamom96

bills, they didn't just print a list of addresses, they published an interactive map available to all locating precisely the homes with guns and more importantly, the homes without guns.

bills... billsfan1104

Florida, its horrible.  This is not a good conversation.   How about they publish all the pills that Ms Sager takes??  Because now her neighbors and playdate parents, should have the right to know, if her meds are safe or not safe.  Or if she is "mental".

Badge83 Badge83

Thank you, 4mutts! I'm sad to say that's the area I call home. My name is on the list, and so are the majority of my family and friends. But guess what? This list only covers those who have NYS pistol permits, not rifles or shotguns. So now not only have you pissed off a very large number of people, the very target demographic (of "assault" weapons) is excluded simply because all it takes is a five minute background check from the ATF to purchase a rifle/shotgun. Good job, Gannett. Well thought out.

As far as your asinine remark about play date safety--both my husband and I are police officers, and by the nature we're required to carry. Our friends joke about our house being the safest and most well protected place for kids to play. The majority of firearms owner maintain a secure lockbox to property stow their weapons.

But whatever, regardless of your opinion, us LEOs will be out there trying to keep you safe.

Sleep... SleepingBeautee

All it has done is tell the criminals shich houses are safe to hit... those without guns. Gun owners shouldn't be worried at all.

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