NBCer Okay With Publishing Gun Owner Addresses: 'We're Not Outing Child Molesters'

During a panel discussion on Tuesday's NBC Today, chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman voiced her support for a New York newspaper, The Journal News, publishing a list of addresses of local gun owners: "You have these sort of blind assumptions that when your child goes over to play with another kid, he or she is going to be safe. And I think that has been now negated. So I have no problem....we're not outing child molesters, this is a legal transaction, it's a public transaction." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Snyderman's declaration was prompted by fellow panelist, advertising executive Donny Deutsch, also standing by the paper's controversial action: "I think it's a great idea, I'll tell you why. I've got two little girls at home and I would like to know if they're going on a play date in a house where there's a gun....when you have a gun, you are setting yourself up as somebody different. It's your choice..."

Attorney Star Jones was the only one on the panel to offer any objection: "I think what it did is it also targeted those homes that don't have guns in them. So you've now told the criminals, 'Well, let me pick that one over there instead of that one over there.' I just don't think it was a good idea."

Responding to Deutsch's parenting concern, Jones wondered: "Wouldn't you call the parents?...Why would you not call a parent to know, 'Do you have guns, do you have drugs out?' Don't you talk to parents where your kids go?"

Apparently that was too much effort for Deutsch: "I don't call every parent proactively and say, 'Is there a gun in your house?'...No. You don't proactively say to a parent, 'Oh, by the way, is there any cocaine laying on the counter?''" Snyderman chimed in: "No, no....no, you wouldn't."

For his part, co-host Matt Lauer skipped over any threat posed to the gun owners whose addresses were publicized, but instead focused solely on threats directed at the newspaper in the wake of the article: "Now in response, perhaps even retaliation for this, personal information about the paper's editors and writers is being posted online. The paper has received many threatening calls and e-mails, some saying reporters will be shot on their way to their cars."

Snyderman sarcastically remarked: "Lovely, lovely." Deutsch argued: "I actually think it's a vulgar display of everything that's wrong with what's going on with guns. And I'm sorry if we pull the veil back and say you have a gun."


Here is a full transcript of the January 8 exchange:

8:13AM ET

MATT LAUER: Let's move over to this, the battle over guns. A New York-area newspaper, in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, did something unusual. They published the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in their area, more than 33,000 people. Now putting First Amendment considerations aside, should the newspaper have done this?

STAR JONES: I don't think so. I think what it did is it also targeted those homes that don't have guns in them. So you've now told the criminals, "Well, let me pick that one over there instead of that one over there." I just don't think it was a good idea.

DONNY DEUTSCH: I think it's a great idea, I'll tell you why. I've got two little girls at home and I would like to know if they're going on a play date in a house where there's a gun...

NANCY SNYDERMAN: I agree, Donny.

DEUTSCH: ...to know that it is properly locked up. I'm sorry, it is a lethal-

JONES: Wouldn't you call the parents?

SNYDERMAN: No, no.

DEUTSCH: I don't call every parent proactively and say, "Is there a gun in your house?"

JONES: Oh, I would.

SNYDERMAN: I put it right up there with alcohol.

JONES: I would.

SNYDERMAN: No, but – no, you wouldn't.

JONES: Why would you not call a parent to know, "Do you have guns, do you have drugs out?" Don't you talk to parents where your kids go?

DEUTSCH: No. You don't proactively say to a parent, "Oh, by the way, is there any cocaine laying on the counter?"

JONES: Okay.

DEUTSCH: I mean, you know.

SNYDERMAN: And, "How much alcohol do you have in the house?" And, "Do you smoke?"

JONES: Then go ahead.

SNYDERMAN: So you don't. You know, you have these sort of blind assumptions that when your child goes over to play with another kid, he or she is going to be safe. And I think that has been now negated. So I have no problem.

LAUER: Interesting, you guys take the – you take the parenting side of this. Now in response, perhaps even retaliation for this, personal information about the paper's editors and writers is being posted online. The paper has received many threatening calls and e-mails, some saying reporters will be shot on their way to their cars.

SNYDERMAN: Lovely, lovely.

JONES: Oh, good.

LAUER: Packages containing white powder have been sent to the newsroom and to a reporter.  The violent threats are obviously unacceptable. Is it fair game?

DEUTSCH: No. There's a difference between-

JONES: No.
 
SNYDERMAN: This underscores the whole point.

DEUTSCH: No, no, exactly. You are – when you have a gun, you are setting yourself up as somebody...
 
JONES: I agree.

DEUTSCH: ...different. It's your choice, by the way.

JONES: But it's – and it's public – it's public knowledge.

DEUTSCH: And by the way, it's different between – and you're just you. I actually think it's a vulgar display of everything that's wrong with what's going on with guns. And I'm sorry if we pull the veil back and say you have a gun.

SNYDERMAN: Yeah, we're not outing child molesters, this is a legal transaction, it's a public transaction.

LAUER: By the way, it's public information.

JONES: I said that. I mean I thought maybe it was going to be-

SNYDERMAN: Right, it's public information.

JONES: It is, it just was never put together like this.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC