The White Plains Journal News is a New York newspaper owned by Gannett which recently engaged in irresponsible journalism that could endanger the safety of the public. The newspaper staff has published the names and addresses of thousands of local handgun owners on its website in what appears to be an attempt to harass or intimidate gun owners.
While they try to claim they are somehow advancing the debate on gun control, fingering those who are licensed to legally own handguns who have not committed any crimes doesn’t do that. Instead, it creates a new treasure trove of information to be abused by criminals to harm innocent people.
Thanks to the White Plains Journal News, criminals who have access to a computer will now be able to improve their aim at targeting households for the crimes of their choice. They can go visit the web page, pick the county they want to target, and then go find the homes with handgun licenses.
Having a list of home addresses associated with licensed gun owners can be very valuable information for criminals in two ways. For criminals who want to steal handguns, now they know much more precisely what homes have them. For criminals who want to steal, rape, kill, or otherwise terrorize with less risk of accountability at the hands of a victim who has the means to defend himself or herself, now they have information that can aid them at selecting safer targets who are more likely to be unarmed and defenseless.
However, it is important to note that owners of rifles and other guns that are not handguns are not published on this list. So any enterprising computer literate criminal who decides an unlicensed house would make an easy target could end up facing down a homeowner with a shotgun, rifle, or semi-automatic “assault” rifle.
After this irresponsible newspaper stunt, anybody who doesn’t already own a handgun in Westchester or Rockland counties should consider buying a firearm because that second category of easier targets is not a group of which you should be happy to be a part. And for those in Putnam County — the Journal News is trying to obtain a list of handgun permits there with plans to publish that list, too. Putnam County, however, is attempting to refuse to provide its gun registration list containing over 11,000 handgun permit holders.
Journal News is not the only group publicizing gun permit holders. Despite the outrage over that incident, Gawker then published a 446 page long list of New York City gun permit holders. At least one person has claimed this has triggered renewed harassment against her by a former stalker.
Gun Control Laws Do Not Take Guns Out of Criminals’ Hands
The Australian experience with gun control in the past decade has shown that gun bans are good for criminals because these laws increase the number of unarmed or poorly armed targets who can be victimized with little risk. This makes crime a safer occupation.