The Journal News in White Plains, N.Y., used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information on registered handgun owners in the area. Many owners and other critics are outraged that criminals now know where the guns are – and aren't.
Ralph D. Freso/REUTERS
Two fundamental rights many Americans hold dear – the right to own firearms and the right to access public information – have collided in the decision by a New York-area newspaper to publish the names and addresses of people licensed to own handguns.
The Gannett-owned Journal News, headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain information on some 44,000 registered handgun owners in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties, just north of New York City. It then published that information online over the weekend using Google Maps to show exactly where those gun owners live.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, gun ownership is a touchy subject – politically and socially – and the decision by The Journal News to obtain and publish such information has drawn sharp and critical response.
In a blog post headlined “Intimidation,” Ben Shapiro at Breitbart.com warned that “publishing the names and addresses of gun owners makes them more vulnerable to robbery when they aren’t at home, since criminals will know where the guns are.”