Disgraced Journal News Removes Gun Owner Map

The suburban New York paper that caused a nationwide uproar over its online interactive map of gun permit owners in two counties has finally removed the chart from its website.

The map prompted thousands of complaints to the paper which also prompted the anti-gun paper to hire its own armed guards supposedly to protect its employees. The removal of the map was preceded by a new state law which protects gun permit holders’ privacy:

The Journal News took down the data just three days after the state enacted a gun control law that included privacy provisions for permit holders.

The provisions were a reaction to interactive maps the newspaper published on LoHud.com that pinpointed thousands of permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties.

Gun rights activists had immediately complained that permit owners' privacy was being violated. They said the map could guide burglars to their homes while police groups claimed the map could lead ex-convicts to the officers who had put them away. [...]

State Sen. Greg Ball, the most vocal opponent of the posting, said, "Thank God The Journal News has finally realized the error in their judgment and done the right thing. ... I am proud to have passed legislation keeping The Journal News from doing this ever again."

Since the map was published, several residents listed on the map have had their guns stolen by criminals, something that gun owners predicted would happen.

In the ensuing uproar, several Journal News employees were exposed as hypocrites for wanting to tell the public about other people owning guns but wanting to keep their refusal to own firearms secret from the public.

One hopes the paper’s hoplophobic management and ownership have learned a lesson here. Sadly, that seems unlikely. In a statement posted on its website, the gun-hating publisher of the paper, Janet Hasson, was defiant:

“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.”

Will she be as defiant if any of the burglarized homeowners sue her self-righteous and hypocritical newspaper for publishing their names and addresses to the public?

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