Last week, a reporter with the Journal News of suburban New York published an interactive map of the gun owning residence of Westchester and Rockland Counties. The map became viral and many were outraged at the paper’s seeming disregard for the safety of those lawful gun owners or their rights to privacy. One blogger thought they deserved a taste of their own medicine, and offered his own interactive map—this one including the names and residents of all of the Journal News’ employees.
“Well, I just thought they were being hypocrites,” said blogger Christopher Fountain. “In the aftermath of Newtown, it was obviously one tragedy, but somehow they were conflating legal gun owners with some crazed tormented devil up in Newtown and putting the two together. And I was offended by that and I wondered how they would like it if their addresses were published.”
Fountain wasn’t the only one offended, as the comment sections of nearly every Journal News article was littered with criticism for the map they published.
Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute said, “The problem is not that the Gannett-owned Journal News was too aggressive. They problem is that the paper was not aggressive enough in its reporting to justify invading the privacy of people who legally own handguns in two counties it serves.”
Lawful firearm owners rarely commit heinous crimes. It’s people who are willing to get their weapons illegally that are willing to use them illegally. Still, like so many other tragic events, the horrific shooting at a Newton, Connecticut elementary school is being used to gain support for anti-gun measures and rhetoric, even going so far as to publish addresses of people exercising their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
As for the paper, they said that they were providing a service to people who wanted more information about gun owners in their area. And they took it upon themselves to determine just how much information was warranted.
Fountain claims he knows of women who whose addresses were listed that had active protection orders in place—women who didn’t want people knowing where they lived.
“The media has been exposing, harassing personal details of people for a long time,” said Fountain. “I don’t believe I’m escalating, I believe I’m punching back.”
You have a right to bear arms. Still, there are many laws that govern just how you can own and use firearms. If you are caught in possession of an illegal weapon, for instance, you could face serious consequences. If you are facing gun charges, contact our offices today to discuss your legal options and how we might be able to help.