By Greg Campbell
In a bold violation of citizens’ privacy, a newspaper in upstate New York, the Journal News, has published the names and addresses of all gun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. They have even put dots on a map for people to see- a practice common for sites that track convicted sex offenders.
In a piece entitled, “Where Are the Gun Permits in Your Neighborhood?” the newspaper published the names and addresses of residents who own handgun permits in both counties. The paper stated,
“The map indicates the addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties. Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun — a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so.”
The recent revelation of handgun permit holders’ names and addresses will likely make these law-abiding citizens more vulnerable to break-ins and overall harassment as gun control debates linger in America. The newspaper also published another piece on Monday, entitled, “The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood.”
After discussing a recent crime that had occurred at the hands of a 77-year-old man who had access to guns, the newspaper stated,
“’I think that the access to guns in this country is ridiculous, that anybody can get one,’ said a neighbor of [the perpetrator] who requested anonymity because it’s not known whether the gunman, whose unnamed victim survived, will return home or be sent to prison. ‘Would I have bought this house knowing somebody [close by] had an arsenal of weapons? No, I would not have.’
In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and amid renewed nationwide calls for stronger gun control, some Lower Hudson Valley residents would like lawmakers to expand the amount of information the public can find out about gun owners. About 44,000 people in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam — one out of every 23 adults — are licensed to own a handgun.”
As the gun control debate lingers on, Americans are rapidly dividing on the issue; some suggest stricter gun control laws, some suggest addressing mental health issues and some insist, as studies suggest, that more guns in the right hands creates lower crime rates, that looser gun control laws are needed to save lives.
While America gears up for a long discussion about gun control, it seems that gun owners will pay the price for the devastation wrought upon a country by a lone, law-breaking madman. Publishing the names and addresses of gun owners is more than a simple invasion of privacy, but serves as intimidation to those who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights.