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Conservatives Furious Local Paper Prints Names, Addresses Of Thousands Of Gun Permit Holders

by David Badash on December 26, 2012

in Guns,News,Politics

Post image for Conservatives Furious Local Paper Prints Names, Addresses Of Thousands Of Gun Permit Holders

Conservatives are furious a local Hudson Valley, New York newspaper has published the names and addresses of thousands of gun permit holders — “all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties.” The Journal News, a subsidiary of Gannett Newspapers, who also publish USA Today, on Sunday published an interactive map, “Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?

Jim Hoft at the radical right wing Tea Party blog, Gateway Pundit called it “outrageous” and linked to an embarrassingly unintelligent piece from AMI Global Security, a guns and ammo seller, which calls the publication “a massive privacy breach and the latest in a series of over the top emotional reactions to the latest shooting tragedy in Sandy Hook CT meant to intimidate the lawful and  prey on peoples fears to exploit the gun grabbing agenda.”

All The Journal News did was publish public information received via a Freedom of Information request.

“This is a invasion of privacy that does nothing to safeguard the law abiding from the criminal element,” AMI Global Security writes. “One barking dog can herd a thousand sheep to be sheared.   This appears to be an attempt to abrogate the Bill of Rights.   If Paul Revere had the internet, he would not have needed a horse.  Please share this with all of your fellow Americans who are alarmed by a government encroachment, aided and abetted by propagandist masquerading as objective journalist.”

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  If you are appalled and alarmed at this abuse of power:

The best response to the gun grabbing agenda driven  is for Americans nation-wide to purchase a firearm today!

I am calling on all Americans,   Constitutionalists,  Tea Party Patriots and 2nd Amendment Activists, to make their voices heard in NY and around the country immediately.    The New York City Council just published a report recommending blatant infringements and restraints on the Bill of Rights!!

Contact the Editors at LOHUD.COM  and cancel your subscription and let their advertisers know how you feel about it.   This is the power of the 1st Amendment in your hands that empowers you to preserve the safeguard afforded us by the 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights.

Of course, typical Tea Party wing nuts have no idea what the First Amendment actually means — and have no idea that private citizens contacting a newspaper has nothing whatsoever to do with the first Amendment at all. In fact, most of what was written was unintelligent.

In a follow up piece, The Journal News writes:

The database, legally obtained from the county clerks’ offices through a Freedom of Information Act request made after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and eight adults dead, has been called irresponsible, dangerous and leaning toward intimidation by several online pundits.

Social media played a big part in the exponential spread of the story, whose map has been recommended more than 20,000 times. Two Facebook posts linking to the story on Sunday garnered 346 comments as of this evening. That’s in addition to 167 comments posted directly to Facebook.com/LoHud since the story published.

Numerous additional comments relating to the gun permit map have appeared on posts in other unrelated stories. More than a dozen more people sent private messages via Facebook objecting to the map. The overwhelming majority of comments strongly object to the story.

The database was also mentioned in the Drudge Report, Memorandum.com, Breitbart.com, Thegatewaypundit.com, Instapundit, iOwnTheWorld.com and UrbanGrounds, along with Yahoo, ABC News and Fox News, among others.

More than 500 comments — on both sides of the debate — accompanied a story on CNN.com this evening.

Hundreds of callers have complained, claiming publication of the database put their safety at risk or violated their privacy. Others claimed publication was illegal. Many of the callers were vitriolic and some threatened members of the newspaper staff.

 

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{ 20 comments }

BJLincoln December 26, 2012 at 8:46 am

If we can't regulate guns or get rid of guns then arm everyone so we are all on the same playing field. As for posting the names of registered gun owners, good. This way we know who has one. Just like we know who the sex offenders are in the neighborhood, we can know who has guns.
My home town paper posts births, deaths, who was arrested and for what, marriages, and divorces so why not who just bought a gun?

Pat December 26, 2012 at 8:55 am

Talk about posting a shopping list for criminals! Now they know where the guns are and know what houses to break into so they can get them. This was wholly irresponsible!

olandp December 26, 2012 at 10:42 am

But I thought owning a gun made you safer. Wouldn't it be a list of places for criminals to avoid?

chassagne December 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Pat, according to NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre, the "majority of gun owners keep them locked in a safe".

Rick2L December 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Oh! The poor defenseless gun owners! How will they ever protect themselves? What will… wait, I thought having guns protected their owners.

unclenunzie December 26, 2012 at 9:48 am

BJ, gun ownership is not a crime, and is a protected right of all citizens and legal residents in the United States. Guns are already heavily regulated in this country, though you may not be aware of exactly how:

You may take possession of a firearm in your own state of residence only, in accord with your state's firearm laws. You may purchase a firearm from anyone in any state, but you may only take actual possession from a federally licensed dealer in your own state. The practical and intended effect is that no one can legally buy a firearm of any kind outside of their own state, and the firearm must be legal in your state. Additionally, no convicted felon (including non-violent types like accounting frauds), illegal drug user, or adjudicated mentally ill person may own or use a firearm in the united states.

In the state of New Jersey, one must obtain a Firearms Purchaser ID card before buying any rifle or shotgun, and must obtain a Permit to Purchase before buying any handgun. Both have the same requirements:

Meet non-disqualifying factors: (18/21, non-criminal history, mental health, non-drugs, etc)
Fingerprints filed with local and state police.
Criminal background investigation, including state and FBI records
Mental health investigation
National background check at time of firearm pickup at dealer/store.

The process to apply and to ultimately receive permission takes generally 3-4 months in my town, which is typical, even though the law defines 30 days as the maximum time allowed.

As far as posting a list of gun owners as this paper did, think hard about what they've done. They've listed all the people who passed similar requirements in NY State, that is to say, all the people who you KNOW went to the police and passed their investigative process. These are not the people you need to worry about. It's the ones who obtain firearms illegally, and by that action indicate criminal intent, you should be concerned with.

This paper is using the same approach to gun owners as the radical right-wing papers have used against women's health practitioners. Both paper's actions may be legal, but they are morally reprehensible in equal measure.

olandp December 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

Isn't a gun permit public record?

unclenunzie December 26, 2012 at 11:23 am

Depends on the particular state. In those states, such as in NY, where it is considered a public record, no law was broken by the paper. As I already stated in my original comment. But their motivation was not to help non-gun owners, but rather to harm gun owners.

I am neither proud nor ashamed to be a gun owner. I am proud to be an American, with individual civil rights guaranteed by the bill of rights and related case law. But as with most people, I do not advertise the presence of my valuable property by posting a sign advertising that on my front door.

Rick2L December 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm

I fail to see how it harms gun owners. It does protect society as a whole however. Gun owners seldom tell their neighbors that their gun has been stolen. Now however, anyone can check to see if a reported robbery was at an address with a firearm. If so, those people may be forewarned in a way gun owners fail to responsibly warn them.

MyTinFoilHat December 26, 2012 at 11:07 am

This is a matter of Public Record; therefore, the public has a Right to access this information – regardless of its form. Furthermore, one does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when something is a matter of public record.

Being a matter of public record means that any citizen may go to their local courthouse/registry/licensing bureau, request, and obtain the information themselves. Posting this information online merely saves the concerned citizen a step or two, especially if those citizens want to be aware of those with access firearms located near their residence, the schools their children attend, etc. There is really no difference.

As I see it, this is simply a tool available the general public and those citizens who have concerns about the proximity of those with access to firearms.

unclenunzie December 26, 2012 at 11:39 am

As I see it, this tool/database was created for political purposes. Never in my life had I ever heard or read of anyone, anywhere, expressing concern about who in their neighborhood or prospective neighborhood legally owned guns. Only after this practice was started by papers with questionable journalism ethics did people comment online about what a good idea it is – the same people who don't know me as a progressive democrat but hate me for my views on the right to arms.

lauriegood December 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Are you serious? When my children were little, I would have LOVED to see a list/map such as this, so that I would know which of their playmates' homes held guns. Many parenting guides encourage parents to inquire, every time their child visits a new home, whether there are any guns in house. Then I could make a responsible decision as to whether or not I wanted my child to spend time in that statistically-more-likely-to-have-a-gun-accident home. This public info as to where the guns are in my community is definitely helpful and I would thank my local newspaper if they did me the service of publishing it.

unclenunzie December 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Responsible gun-owning parents keep their guns and ammunition locked up safely. Do you think your kids playmate's parents are not as concerned for their own children's safety as you are for yours? I'm not a parent but on occasions where I have children in my home visiting, mine are locked in a safe. I also keep any gun related reading materials such as books or periodicals away from view, out of respect for their parents. The chance of a child coming to harm because I own guns is exactly zero.

It's good and right to be concerned for your children's safety, and that of children generally. Instead of consulting an online tool or database to screen out families, why not engage with your kid's friend's parents directly on the matter. Most will not own guns, but those that do will agree with your safety concerns, and assure you they they keep their guns safely locked up.

You may also wish to consider what you would do if one of these parents is a police officer. Cops keep guns at home. Would you disallow your child to visit such a home?

lauriegood December 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I absolutely did engage and ask other parents about their gun ownership back in the day (my kids are now grown). I still think it's helpful to know where, in my community, the guns are. I was simply responding to your claim that never in your life had you heard of anyone, anywhere, expressing concern about who in their neighborhood owned guns. Now you can't say that ;)

And FWIW, statistically, the chance of a child coming to harm because you own guns is not "zero."

As for the police officer question…I'm not sure. I know I've read about kids being accidentally shot by guns owned by their police officer or correctional officer relatives. Mistakes happen.

MyTinFoilHat December 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

…Depends on the user’s need – although, perhaps (in the end) this might spawn a deeper dialogue about the prevalence of firearms as it pertains to our society. Perhaps that’s the point.

The idea of this isn’t really all that new. There are also maps for criminal activities, housing/market prices, police surveillance cameras, LPRs (license plate readers), -the list goes on. Some might argue (in the case of the latter two) that criminals would certainly love these maps because it provides them with information about what areas to avoid if they want to “get away with something”. Others, such as those that feel the government has overstepped its bounds, may utilize said maps to maintain their sense of privacy…

A tool is a tool. How you use it designates defines whether it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It’s all perception.

On the other hand, perception is reality – BUT, “out of sight, out of mind” also holds true…

unclenunzie December 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Except that all of your examples are of information that is not specific to any particular person or family. Aggregated criminal activity levels, housing/market prices, LPRs, etc, none of these targets specific persons, but the published map of gun permits does, and in individually identifiable ways that can bring them harm. Big difference between lists of traffic cams and lists of peoples names and addresses specific to a controversial (but perfectly legal and ethically neutral activity).

How about this. Say you're concerned for animal rights (as many of us are), and that you hate the use of fur as a matter of principle. Say also that it's possible to identify the names and addresses of people who bought furs in a particular county or city. Would you think it's right for an animal rights activist group, say one that is militaristic as PETA has been in the past, to post such a map? Legal or not in the obtaining of the raw data, I think the publishing of it is unethical.

Rick2L December 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm

So far as I know, the whole concept of public records is for public information. What are these people whining about. I thought they were proud gun owners. The way these people are going crazy, I wonder if they'd pass a background check now.

Coxhere December 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Most Americans want "something done" now that twenty, 5 and 6 year old children were murdered in one school. The children are gone, dead. There's a hole in the hearts of most Americans now that this has happened. Because most Americans sense that they now have no power over the lives of their children and can no longer protect them, Americans want to acquire protective power that they think has been taken away. Seeing a list of gun owners is an attempt to give Americans the notion that they are taking back their power. It doesn't accomplish anything, of course, but Americans definitely want something to change in order to stop the murders in the U. S., especially stop the murders of our most vulnerable, our children.

unclenunzie December 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

A sensible comment, and I do agree for the most part, but it is the horror of it all that makes it so emotional. More children die every year in pool drownings than in cases like this. But the sheer horror of Newtown dwarfs that fact, and the fact of drug war prohibitions being behind most of the gun violence in this country. But somehow, our people and their politicians are too uneasy with change to do anything about that. Lot's of money and power to be had in the drug war, which will stick around unless we do something about it.

unclenunzie December 26, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Well at least you're open-minded enough to think about it. That is enough for me :)

On the other point, I'll agree that I should have said "effectively" zero, but the net effect is that we can't deal in absolutes – sure it's also possible that the earth could tilt off it's access we go spinning into the void, on say, 12-21-2012. Oh wait….

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