Calling for change: The paper said that they decided to do so because in the wake of the Newtown shooting, many people wanted to know who had legal guns in their neighborhood, and across the country there were protests (pictured)

The New York newspaper that  sparked  controversy after publishing the names and addresses of nearby gun permit owners  is now taking up arms in an apparent response to threats.

The Journal News has reportedly hired a team  of armed guards to patrol the paper’s headquarters in West Nyack.

The paper caused a stir on December 23 when  it listed thousands of  pistol permit holders in suburban Westchester and  Rockland counties just north of New York City in an interactive map on its  website.

The Rockland  County Times reported on Tuesday that  Journal News editor Caryn A. McBride hired gun-toting security guards to patrol  the paper’s offices amid a flurry of angry emails and phone calls in the  following days.

The paper hired the increased security from  RGA Investigations & Security, a firm based in New City that provides  services like protection and security guard certification, according to the  Times.

Calling for change: The paper said that they decided to do so because in the wake of the Newtown shooting, many people wanted to know who had legal guns in their neighborhood, and across the country there were protests (pictured)

The news came just days after the Journal  News announced plans to publish an expanded list of  even more  permit-holding locals.

Along with an article entitled ‘The  gun  owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your  neighborhood,’  the Journal News map was  compiled in response to the December 14  shooting deaths of 20 children and six  adults in Newtown, Connecticut,  editors of the Gannett Corp.-owned newspaper  said.

The next batch of names will be  permit  holders in suburban Putnam County, New York, where the county  clerk told the  newspaper it is still compiling information.

Some 44,000 people are licensed to  own  pistols in the three counties, the newspaper said. Owners of rifles  and  shotguns do not need permits, the newspaper said.

The publication prompted outrage,  particularly on social media sites, among gun owners.

‘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?’ Rob Seubert of Silver Spring, Maryland,  posted on the  newspaper’s web site. ‘What a bunch of liberal boobs you  all are.’

Republican state Senator Greg Ball of Patterson, New York, said he planned to introduce legislation to keep  permit  information private except to prosecutors and police.

A similar bill that he introduced earlier as  an Assemblyman failed in the state Assembly.

‘The asinine editors at the Journal  News  have once again gone out of their way to place a virtual scarlet  letter on law  abiding firearm owners throughout the region,’ Ball wrote  on his Senate web  site.

The newspaper’s editor and vice  president of  news, CynDee Royle, earlier in the week defended the  decision to list the  permit holders.

‘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,’  she said.

Some critics retaliated by posting  reporters’ and editors’ addresses and other personal information  online.

Howard Good, a journalism professor  at the  State University of New York at New Paltz, called the critics’  response  childish and petulant.

It doesn’t move the issue of gun  control to  the level of intelligent public discussion,’ he said. ‘Instead, it transforms  what should be a rational public debate on a  contentious issue into ugly gutter  fighting.’

Good said the information about permit  holders was public and, if presented in context, served a legitimate  interest.

But media critic Al Tompkins of the  Florida-based Poynter Institute wrote online this week that the  newspaper’s  reporting had not gone far enough to justify the permit  holders’ loss of  privacy.

‘If journalists could show flaws in  the gun  permitting system, that would be newsworthy,’ he said. ‘Or, for  example, if gun  owners were exempted from permits because of political  connections, then  journalists could better justify the privacy  invasion.’

Tompkins said he feared the dispute might  prompt lawmakers to play to privacy fears.

‘The net effect of the abuse of public records from all sides may well be a public distaste for opening  records,  which would be the biggest mistake of all,’ he said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here