The New York Newspaper that caused controversy last year when they published the names and home addresses of local legal gun permit holders is at it again. The Journal News has requested more personal information about gun permit holders in the suburban counties just north of New York City.
The Journal News used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request the names and addresses of permit holders. They also requested data from the almost 10,000 people who had opted out of reporting their permit status – “including reasons for the requests, total number of requests received, and the total number of requests approved.”
After the Journal News published a map showing the addresses of every registered handgun owner in Rockland and Westchester Counties, the New York State legislature passed the NY SAFE law, which allowed legal permit holders to opt out of public records.
The local government says that the FOIA request was approved and the newspaper was given the information it asked for, except for the breakdown of information on citizens who opted out of public records. The reason the newspaper did not get the information breakdown they requested wasn’t because of the NY SAFE law, but simply because the local government did not keep information electronically.
The FOIA is an important tool that we, the public, can use to make sure that our government is being honest with us. The way that this newspaper has used the information (twice now) to persecute law abiding citizens is deplorable. For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone in their community would continue to patronize a newspaper that has already once put their neighbors in danger, and now threatens to do it again.
Other journalists may have supported the newspapers original decision to run with the interactive map of gun permit holders, but one has to ask, how was that information newsworthy? Is the newspaper planning to run a story with an interactive map of homosexual couples seeking a marriage license in the near future? Or perhaps a story about citizens with a DUI/DWI arrests that has an interactive map of their addresses?
The truth is, this information holds no newsworthy value. What happened here is that someone at the newspaper has a particular ideology that says guns should be severely restricted by the government. The original story (and likely this new one) were meant to shame local New York citizens into giving up their 2nd Amendment rights. In an ironic twist, immediately after the first story ran, the newspapers’ editors hired armed guards to protect them because they worried their lives were in danger.
The Journal News should be ashamed of the work they are doing to persecute law abiding citizens. What the newspaper should be doing is uncovering stories of evil doing and bringing injustice to light – not causing the injustice themselves. This paper makes a mockery of the 1st and the 2nd Amendments.