Paper publishes names of gun permit holders
A while back, the Journal News printed the names of 30,000 licensed New York gun owners (and thoughtfully provides an on-line list, for any burglars with internet access). It caught some flak and now has this response.
"The Constitution gives people the right to own guns in this country, and it also gives people the right to know whether they own a gun or not," said Henry Freeman, editor and vice president/news at The Journal News. "This is a public record. People have a right to know that.
"We did take it into consideration and did not publish your street address, which is also public information."
I don't think anyone doubted that they had a legal right to do it. Under the first amendment, they would have had a right to write a story praising the KKK, or suggesting excellent targets for future terror efforts. When you do that -- or run a story that targets people simply because they have obeyed the law -- the question is one of judgment, consideration, fairness, not of right. To talk of "having a right" in this context is the equivalent of "I did it because you can't stop me."
Besides lending a helping hand to criminals looking for guns, it also benefits stalkers. I'm guessing people who are being stalked try to prevent their info from being published in a public directory. They also might buy a gun so they can protect themselves from their stalker. But by publishing everyone's name who has a gun permit, you just negated all their effort in hiding themselves. I doubt the person can get an exception made for their case.
All the stalker has to do now is look through public records and find the estranged person's name. It doesn't matter that the newspaper didn't publish the street addresses. Those can be found in the gun permit directory.
Who knows what other information they keep. I'm sure identity thieves love it too.
Posted by: Eric at December 19, 2006 06:57 PM
This info is probably directed at friends and co-workers of permit holders. If the co-workers get agitated/scared of a person just because they own a gun, they could move for that person to be fired. It's just another method of harassment.
Posted by: Alcibiades at December 19, 2006 10:39 PM
Does anybody know what the paper's editorial position -- if any -- was on publishing the names of abortion clinic workers?
Posted by: Anonymous Coward at December 20, 2006 07:09 AM
In Delaware, one of the many hoops to jump through on the way to a carry permit is to pay the local paper to publish your name and address. A certified copy of said ad must be submitted, along with a pile of other documents, to obtain a permit. Unfortunately, we have to depend on the inability of criminals to read to be safe in our homes and persons. An attempt, perhaps, to embarrass and humiliate the most law abiding citizens for exercizing Second Ammendment rights.
Posted by: rexrs at December 20, 2006 09:41 AM
The Sioux Falls Argus-Leader (another Gannett paper) has been publishing these lists for a while, but the South Dakota legislature has put a stop to the release of the names.
The St. Petersburg Times has argued against Florida passing such a law:
Posted by: Bill Mullins at December 20, 2006 11:26 AM