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A local New York newspaper is being criticized for publishing the names of gun owners in Westchester and Rockland Counties.
The Journal News published a story titled “Where are the gun permits in your area?” which includes maps of the two counties with dots representing each person who has a permit to own a handgun. The paper said that the data was provided through Freedom of Information requests and that the information is in the public record.
Putnam County is still putting together its records for the paper and the Journal News said that it will post a map for that county when they receive the data.
The Westchester County map shows all current owners, while the Rockland County map even shows those who have not updated their permit in the past five years.
According to Fox News, the story was widely condemned, with people taking to social media to criticize the News Journal.
“Do you fools realize that you also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob that have no guns in them to protect themselves?” one person wrote on Facebook. Another told the paper that it “just destroyed the privacy of these law abiding citizens and by releasing this list, you have equated them to that of sex offenders and murders.”
Sits such as Breitbart.com have also criticized the decision.
In another story, the News Journal did explain its rationale for posting the information, writing that, after the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, citizens of the region want “lawmakers to expand the amount of information the public can find out about gun owners.”
The paper also sent a statement to ABC News that reads, “We obtained the names and addresses of Westchester and Rockland residents who are licensed to own handguns through routine Freedom of Information law requests. We also requested information on the number and types of guns owned by permit holders, but officials in the county clerks offices in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties maintained that those specifics were not public record.”
In another note, the paper stressed that the writer of the story owns a handgun himself.