A local New York newspaper, the Journal News, has seen fit to publish an interactive map that shows the names and addresses of thousands of residents of Westchester and Rockland counties who have handgun permits. The article, in explaining the decision to publish the information, pointed to the school massacre in nearby Newtown, Conn., and the concerns of some residents about which of their neighbors might have firearms.
Ironically, the reporter who wrote the story identifying local gun owners himself “owns a Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Magnum and has had a residence permit in New York City,” according to the newspaper. Presumably, the Journal News sees no problem employing this fellow notwithstanding his atavistic attraction to guns.
The story has received a significant amount of condemnation from readers (and others). They argue that the interactive map could make the gun owners a target, but also make clear to would-be robbers which homes do not contain a gun.
Both concerns are justified (as is concern over privacy), but the second seems the more salient of the two. Why tip off criminals as to which homes are the least dangerous to break into?
In my opinion, the newspaper was simply grandstanding in an attempt to generate publicity and show empathy. It is not alone among those who are leading the current gun control charge.