Just before Christmas, The Inquisitr shared an article “Newspaper Publishes Gun Owner Names And Addresses.” The piece detailed how The Journal News produced and published a controversial interactive gun map that displays the names and addresses of registered firearm permit holders in several counties in New York. The newspaper that created the map utilized county records and made requests through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in order to compile the data.
Law abiding citizens, unaware their information had been openly circulated, were outraged. Many debated the point that neighbors deserved the right to know who owned a firearm in their area. The Journal News asserted the point behind the article “The Gun Owner Next Door: What You Don’t Know About The Weapons In Your Neighborhood” was meant to provide an illustration about the inordinately large number of permit holders in the mentioned areas. The paper focused on the prevalence of gun ownership in the wake of the Sandy Hook School shooting.
One anonymous neighbor in the article had been quoted as saying:
“I think that the access to guns in this country is ridiculous, that anybody can get one. Would I have bought this house knowing somebody (close by) had an arsenal of weapons? No, I would not have.”
Unfortunately, publishing the gun map also meant alerting the criminals to which homes likely had guns. According to Fox News, criminals say the published map of gun permit registrants makes their jobs much easier: being able to discern which homes pose more of a threat than others and where to acquire a weapon.
Walter T. Shaw, 65, a former burglar and jewel thief, who the FBI blames for more than 3,000 break-ins, was quoted as saying:
“That was the most asinine article I’ve ever seen (gun map). Having a list of who has a gun is like gold. Why rob that house when you can hit the one next door, where there are no guns? What they did was insanity.”
Bob Portenier, 65, a former burglar and armed house robber turned crime prevention consultant said in response to the gun map:
“They just created an opportunity for some crimes to be committed and I think it’s exceptionally stupid. Criminals are always looking for opportunity and words travels through the grapevine. Burglars trade secrets and when you see something like that in the paper, that’s is something burglars are going to talk about. Did you see in the paper where all these people have guns and their addresses?’ and that kind of stuff, they’ll say.”