Gun-hating New York Journal News Hires Armed Security After Map Controversy

Less than two weeks after a New York regional newspaper created a national controversy by publishing an online map of registered gun owners in its circulation area, the Journal News has once again brought attention to itself by hiring armed guards to protect its employees, an obvious case of hypocrisy given the publication’s virulently anti-gun editorial stance.

As you would expect, the Journal News, which had previously touted its love of transparency and an informed public when it published its database of pistol permit holders, did not reveal this information to the public. The news was broken instead by the Rockland Times, a rival newspaper.

The controversy began December 23 when the paper published an interactive map with “pushpins” indicating the names and addresses of everyone listed as having a permit to carry a handgun within Westchester and Rockland counties. It also included a separate map of individuals who had previously applied for a permit in Rockland county.

The publication provoked outrage across the internet as people criticized the Journal News for endangering public safety by revealing this information since such households could potentially become targets for gun theft during their owners’ absences. Things further developed after a blogger published his own map of Journal News employees’ residences in the same tone of “informing” the public.

Since the Journal News gun story has gone national, the paper has acknowledged receiving “hundreds” of complaints about its actions. The complaints were apparently enough to provoke the paper into ordering its own security force, armed with the very guns its publisher and editor so despise:

A Clarkstown police report issued on December 28, 2012, confirmed that The Journal News has hired armed security guards from New City-based RGA Investigations and that they are manning the newspaper’s Rockland County headquarters at 1 Crosfield Ave., West Nyack, through at least tomorrow, Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

According to police reports on public record, Journal News Rockland Editor Caryn A. McBride was alarmed by the volume of “negative correspondence,” namely an avalanche of phone calls and emails to the Journal News office, following the newspaper’s publishing of a map of all pistol permit holders in Rockland and Westchester.

Due to apparent safety concerns, the newspaper then decided to hire RGA Investigations to provide armed personnel to man the location. [...]

Rather than take the map down following the public uproar, the executive board at the Journal News has decided to “stick to their guns” and double-down on their original decision, as they have said a map listing all pistol permit holders in Putnam County will soon to be posted.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013