It'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