Newspaper removes map showing location of gun owners in New York State

A pang of conscience after not one but two homes listed on the map were burglarized, possibly with an eye to finding guns inside? Of course not. The new New York gun law that just passed includes a provision, as a sop to gun-rights supporters, allowing gun owners to restrict public access to their information going forward. The Journal News yanked the map because they were violating the spirit, if not the letter, of a new law that was enacted as a direct response to what they’d done.

The publisher posted a statement this afternoon informing the public of the change and the fact that she’s emphatically not sorry:

In the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, the Journal News thought the community should know where gun permit holders in their community were, in part to give parents an opportunity make careful decisions about their children’s safety

Today The Journal News has removed the permit data from Our decision to do so is not a concession to critics that no value was served by the posting of the map in the first place. On the contrary, we’ve heard from too many grateful community members to consider our decision to post information contained in the public record to have been a mistake. Nor is our decision made because we were intimidated by those who threatened the safety of our staffers. We know our business is a controversial one, and we do not cower.

But the database has been public for 27 days and we believe those who wanted to view it have done so already. As well, with the passage of time, the data will become outdated and inaccurate.

Rotten garbage aimed at justifying a transparent attempt to intimidate gun owners. I don’t know how else to read the first paragraph except as an accusation that if you own a gun, however lawfully and however clean your record is, then you’re inherently dangerous or at least more dangerous than the average joe. In that case, if this is all For The Children, why not publish a map of everyone in the county who’s been convicted of a violent offense instead? And it’s also a transparent lie that everyone who wants to view the map has already done so. Apparently, some convicts were using it to let their prison guards know that they should sleep with one eye open. There must be other prisoners who’d like to do the same but haven’t had a chance to load the map yet. No matter: Hasson, the publisher, takes care to say that she disagrees with the legislature’s new confidentiality provisions and that the Journal News will keep a snapshot of the map up on the site, presumably just as a middle finger to everyone who objected to it. Not “cowering” means sticking to your awful mistake and never admitting error, no matter what. That’s what real journalists do.

Speaking of not cowering, go read’s post reporting on an interview with NRA chief David Keene in which says he’s gotten “hundreds” of death threats in the past few weeks. Time for a map showing were all the passionate gun-control fans live so that we have a vague sense of where the most violent anti-gun nuts are.

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