New York newspaper The Journal News is facing significant backlash from readers after publishing a map of all of the names and addresses of every gun owner in Westchester and Rockland counties.
The Journal News culled the list entirely from public records, legally accessible to all, but many readers were upset by the fact that they had been published on an interactive map on the paper’s website.
“This is CRAZY!!” wrote commenter Curtis Maenza, who is not listed on the map.
“This is the type of thing you do for sex offenders not law abiding gun owners. What next? should i hang a flag outside my house that says I own a gun? I am cancelling my subscription with your paper today!!!”
The paper, which is commonly referred to as LoHud, defended their decision by saying that in the wake of the Sandy Hill Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, residents are rightfully interested in knowing who has legal licenses for weapons in their area.
Parts of Westchester and Rockland counties buttress up to the Connecticut border, making the reference to the Newtown shooting even more clear. In fact, a select few of the records that were listed in the maps are in New Fairfield, Connecticut.
The Journal News said in a statement to ABC News that readers “are understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods”.
“We obtained the names and addresses of Westchester and Rockland residents who are licensed to own handguns through routine Freedom of Information law requests.
“We also requested information on the number and types of guns owned by permit holders, but officials in the county clerks offices in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties maintained that those specifics were not public record.”
That was not enough to justify their decision to a host of readers, as nearly all of the 1,392 comments on the article are negative.
“Great job, just post our information and give criminals the exact place they can acquire guns and/or ammo,” wrote Tim Hill, who identifies himself as a member of the Marine Corps.
“We are not sex offenders, we should not have our addresses our (sic) there for the whole world to see.”
He went on to say that he will pursue legal action, as his is one of the names listed on the map.
“If they had a map of where all the idiots lived, all of the lohud employees would be on it,” commentor Vinny Verno said.