NY Paper Prints Addresses Of Gun Owners

Journal News

The Journal News, a suburban New York Newspaper is receiving flak for printing the names and addresses of local gun owners.  The title of the article,”The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood,” was written in response to the December, 14 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  The paper received many negative comments including one from a man who said, “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.”  Another wrote,”How dare you guys. You have just destroyed the privacy of these law-abiding citizens and by releasing this list, you have equated them to that of sex offenders and murders. These are law-abiding gun owners, they are no danger to anyone except for criminals.”  Yet another reader, in an effort to “turn the tables on the Journal and see how they like it,” posted the home addresses of the newspaper’s president, top editors, and the reporter who wrote the story.  That’s seems like pretty fair payback. The Freedom of Information Act makes the information available to anyone who formally requests it.  What it doesn’t give access to, is what type of weapons are registered.  In defense of its story, editor and Vice President CynDee Royle said, “We knew the 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.”  Royle continued, “People are concerned about who owns guns and how many of them there are in their neighborhoods.”  While it’s true the Freedom of Information Act makes this information available, The Journal News overstepped the boundaries of journalism.  Those people who were “outed” did nothing wrong and are in fact law-abiding citizens.  It sets a bad precedent.  But more than that, it opens the door for any paper to take action against any group it doesn’t agree with and is that the way we want our press to function?  The press should be a check against any wrong doing concerning business or government for example but do we really want them policing innocent citizens?  A very poor showing indeed.  On the other hand, a small, local paper did mange to get some national coverage, its fifteen minutes.

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