NEW YORK, Dec 29 (Reuters) – A suburban New York newspaper  that sparked an uproar among gun enthusiasts by publishing names  and addresses of residents holding pistol permits is now  planning to publish even more identities of permit-toting  locals.

Further names and addresses will be added as they become  available to a map originally published on Dec. 24 in the White  Plains, New York-based Journal News, the newspaper said.

The original map listed thousands of pistol permit holders  in suburban Westchester and Rockland counties just north of New  York City.

Along with an article entitled “The gun owner next door:  What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood,” the  map was compiled in response to the Dec. 14 shooting deaths of  26 children and 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.

Source: The Huffington Post


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