If you recall Smokey did a report on a Gannett owned Newspaper that Posted Gun Owners’ Names & Addresses on an interactive map. Well it turns out that privacy advocates have struck back.
First a little background, The short of it is that a (Gannett Company, Inc. owned) news outlet in New York called The Journal News decided it was a good idea to find out who the “registered” gun owners are in the New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties and post their names and addresses in an article called “Map: Where are the gun permits in your neighborhood? “.
The story has gone viral receiving strong reactions all across the nation. The Journal obtained the information through the (as they put it) “Routine Freedom of Information law requests”. Turns out they’re right, there is no law prohibiting the media from compiling or publicizing such a list. (Original Story FULL)
Needless to say the reaction to the map has not been too good and has caused some interesting reactions from the public. Here are two that stand out.
Christopher Fountain, a blogger in Connecticut did some interesting research and found the names, addresses and phone numbers of the staff of The Journal News with photos of them and their homes. He offers suggestions as to why you might want to call them. “I don’t know whether the Journal’s publisher Janet Hasson is a permit holder herself, but here’s how to find her to ask” Fountain says on his site.
Another blogger made a map of his own; “Map: Where are the Journal News employees in your neighborhood?” Like the gun map you can see if any of the Journal News employees live near your home.
As far as Robertson County goes, a Smokey reader commented; “Here in Robertson County, it would be best to publish the people without guns. It would be a much smaller list”
So has all the bad press and anger had any effect on The Journal News? Seemingly not as they have not removed the map. The owner of the paper (Gannett Company, Inc.) which also owns many local papers, (see list below) has of yet not reacted to the papers decision to create the map or whether other papers owned by Gannett will be following suit with gun maps of their own. If the map had also shown crime rates along with the stats on gun ownership perhaps there could be some usefulness to the general public, but to just post the gun owners names and address’s seems unwise at best. The only good I can see would be that an invading army might just hesitate when they see how many guns are “registered” let alone all the guns that are not or don’t require registration.
Many local news outlets are owned by Gannett , which also owns The Journal News. Companies like The Tennessean, Robertson County Times, Dickson Herald, the Gallatin News-Examiner, the Hendersonville Star-News, the Fairview Observer, the Ashland City Times, Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro and two other independent Gannett papers.
Gannett also publishes several specialty publications including the Nashville Record, Metromix Nashville (a weekly entertainment-oriented publication), and Nashville Lifestyles magazine. It publishes Davidson AM, Williamson AM, and Rutherford AM, local supplements covering these counties.
What are your thoughts on the subject? The information is public, should there be a nationwide interactive gun map?
Smokey will continue to track this story for ya, so stay tuned..
Jim Ball reporting December 25th 2012