US paper slammed over gun database

2012-12-27 10:30


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - A New York newspaper has sparked outrage by publishing a detailed map with thousands of names and addresses of gun permit holders in the wake of the Newtown school shooting.

The publication of the database on Wednesday came amid a heated debate over gun control revived after the Connecticut massacre and drew intense criticism on social media outlets from gun owners, who called it a violation of privacy.

The Journal News in New York state's Westchester County obtained the publicly available information from county clerks and published it in an interactive map alongside an article entitled "The Gun Owner Next Door".

The paper obtained the names and addresses of more than 33 000 permit holders in two counties, though it said that more than 13 000 had no activity in the last five years, and could belong to people who moved or passed away.

It said it was awaiting information on 11 000 permit-holders from a third county.

The newspaper defended the publication, saying the information was legally obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and that its readers had a right to know whether their neighbours owned firearms.

Invasion of privacy

"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," said CynDee Royle, editor and vice president of the Journal News, a Gannett Publication.

"People are concerned about who owns guns and how many of them there are in their neighbourhoods," she said. The newspaper had also asked for information about the type and number of weapons people owned, but that request was denied.

Critics slammed the move as an invasion of privacy that could put gun owners at risk, and the newspaper said it had received hundreds of calls from people who feared for their safety or felt their privacy had been violated.

"You're giving a shopping list to criminals," the newspaper quoted Tom King, president of the New York Rifle & Pistol Association, as saying.

"Does it matter if you own 47 guns or you own one gun? Everybody likes to think that someone who has all of these guns is evil, that there's some nefarious reason they have all these guns. There are collectors."

The newspaper's Facebook page drew hundreds of comments, positive and negative, with several users publishing the home addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the daily's publisher and editors.

The school shooting at Newtown, Connecticut earlier this month - in which 26 people, including 20 young children - were shot dead, has sparked renewed calls for new gun regulation.

Read more on:    us  |  us school shooting  |  media  |  gun control

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Trying to keep time for your social commitments and friendships as well as taking care of work and health obligations can be more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.