New York’s “Journal News” ignited a fierce debate Sunday after publishing the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in two New York counties. They are actively working on acquiring data for a third county.
The article, titled “Map: Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood?,” reads:
The map indicates the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun — a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so.
Data for all permit categories, unrestricted carry, premises, business, employment, target and hunting, is included, but permit information is not available on an individual basis.
To create the map, The Journal News submitted Freedom of Information requests for the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. By state law, the information is public record.
Putnam is still putting together its records and could not immediately provide any data. The map will be updated when that data is released. [Emphasis added]
Here is what the map for Rockland County looks like (note: the image below is a screen shot, so clicking on the dots will not reveal the personal information like in the original):
A map for Westchester county is also visible on the site.
Unlike with the above map, however, on the Journal News website, you can click on any one of the dots and get the full name and exact address of the permit holder.
AMI Global Security, which published an article condemning the “massive privacy breach” that is “meant to intimidate the lawful” and “abrogate the Bill of Rights,” collected a few of the first comments:
“If the homeowner is killed or injured, will LOHUD be charged as an accomplice to the crime?”
“It is as if they put out an ad to jewel thieves listing the names and addresses of where to find diamonds and cash.”
“This is CRAZY!! why in the world would you post every licensed gun owner information?? What do you hope to accomplish by doing this? This is the type of thing you do for sex offenders not law abiding gun owners. What next? should I hang a flag outside my house that says I own a gun?”
“Now everyone knows where the LEGAL GUNS are kept, a valuable piece of information for criminals. Why don’t you do something helpful, like trying to find out where the ILLEGAL GUNS are kept? That would be helpful to the non-criminal population”
AMI Global Security also added recent “threats from local government” with regard to guns.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said last week, as the nation still shook from the tragedy at Sandy Hook, that he was considering new gun control measures when it came to “assault” weapons in the state:
“Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun but permit it.”
This is not the first time the journal news has published the private information of gun holders. They pulled a similar stunt back in 2006, but that time, they only published names and municipalities– not exact street addresses.