by NW Spotlight
The Journal News, a newspaper for the counties just north of New York City, recently created an online map exposing the names and addresses of people legally licensed to own handguns in those counties. New York State requires a license to even have a handgun in your home – Oregon has no such requirement. According to another local paper, “The [Journal News] editors have said they believe knowing where guns are is in the public’s interest. The newspaper has also taken a strident editorial position in favor of strict gun control.”
The editor of the Journal News became alarmed by the amount of “negative correspondence” (phone calls and emails) they received regarding their having posted people’s private information on the Internet, and the editor filed reports with local police.
According to a review of the police reports by competitor newspaper the Rockland County Times, the police “did not find the communications in question actually threatening,” they “did not constitute an offense” and did not contain an actual threat.
Regardless of the police findings, the Journal News hired armed security guards, in response to apparent safety concerns.
So when the Journal News “feels” threatened, they want to be protected by guns. Huh. Well probably that’s what the crime victims, law enforcement and other law-abiding New Yorkers felt too – and they probably wanted their privacy protected as well.
It’s possible that some good will come from the newspaper’s abuse of people’s private information. Private information that New Yorkers are required to give the government in order to be able to legally protect themselves and their families.
Republican state Sen. Greg Ball has introduced legislation to protect the privacy of gun owner’s information, and to “prevent future acts of idiocy,” as his state senate web site says.
Privacy legislation similar to Oregon’s HB 4045 which passed last year – that protects the privacy of Oregon concealed handgun license holders.
Until New York gets legislation passed that protects the privacy of law-abiding gun owners, there are still some government officials taking a stand to protect their privacy. County officials in Putnam County, one of the three counties the newspaper went after, are refusing to turn over people’s private information.
MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County’s executive manager, explained in the LA Times “We have women right now that have orders of protection that have permits that are now absolutely terrified. You have law enforcement officials [on the list] who are on the job who are worried about their families’ safety. There’s a lot of collateral damage here from one newspaper’s knee-jerk reaction from trying to capitalize” on the Connecticut shooting.