A suburban New York City newspaper published an interactive map showing the addresses of thousands of local residents with handgun permits and has drawn flak from gun owners, some of whom expressed their anger via the newspaper's Facebook page.
The Monday article in The Journal News was headlined "The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood," and was in response to the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
"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? What a bunch of liberal boobs you all are," wrote one reader.
The sentiments were echoed by another, who wrote, "How dare you guys. You have 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. These are law-abiding gun owners, they are no danger to anyone except for criminals. And with this information you have made them targets for both criminals and anti-gun lobbyist who I am sure are going to treat them like monsters. I hope you are sued for infringing on the privacy rights of every single one of these citizens you have just put in harm's way."
One reader, in an attempt to "turn the tables on the Journal and see how they like it," posted the home addresses of the newspaper's president, top editors, and the reporter who wrote the story.
The gun registration information, which is available to the public, was obtained by The Journal News through a through a Freedom of Information Act request.
On Tuesday, in an article written by Journal News Reporter Randi Weiner, the paper defended its decision to post the addresses of handgun permit holders across Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam Counties, the northern suburbs of New York City where the paper is read.
"We knew publication of the database would be controversial, but we felt sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings," Weiner quoted CynDee Royle, editor and vice president of the newspaper. "People are concerned about who owns guns and how many of them there are in their neighborhoods."
Royle said that a freedom of information request seeking the specifics on how many and what types of weapons were owned by people in the above mentioned counties was denied.
"New York residents have the right to own guns with a permit and they also have a right to access public information," said Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group.
According to the paper, the controversial map has been recommended on Facebook more than 20,000 times as of Tuesday.
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