Should Maps of Local Gun Owners Be Public?
A newspaper's map with names and addresses of handgun permit holders in New York state has sparked controversy. We want to hear your thoughts.
In late December, about two weeks after the Newtown school shootings in Connecticut, Patch received a request from a Kenilworth resident to publish a map of gun owners in Cook and Lake counties.
The reader referred to a map, which included the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties, N.Y. The Journal News created the map using publically available data and said it was providing a public service by publishing the information.
But not everyone agreed.
Facebook user Mike Pandolfo was quoted in the New York Times as saying: “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.”
The map and the article sparked outrage and thousands of angry comments, and in response a Connecticut lawyer posted the phone number and addresses of the Journal’s staff, TechCrunch.com reported.
Recently, the Journal has hired armed guards to protect its staff after receiving an intimidating email, Reuters reported.
While we understand why some residents would value having a map of gun owners in Cook and Lake counties, Patch editors also wondered if it would indeed be a public service.
Could publishing such a map prevent a tragedy like the Newtown shooting? Would it make residents feel safer? Or is it a bad idea?
We do not have all the answers and wanted to invite you, our readers, to join in our discussion. What do you think? Should the media publish maps of gun owners in the community?