The Journal-News Gun Map

Monday, January 07, 2013

It's been two weeks since the Journal-News published gun permit information for Westchester and Rockland counties. Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center at the Newseum and Vanderbilt University, and former editor of USA Today and The Journal-News, discusses the decision. The paper has since received threats, and lawmakers in other states are considering legislation to limit access to gun ownership information.


Ken Paulson

Comments [50]


@paul s and smokebuster we know you two must be shills because u see nothing wrong with publishing peoples personal info.that have not done nothing wrong.Im pretty much sure you would like your private life stay private because u've done noting wrong however u could prove my wrong and post ur address,name,personal number on this blog like the gun owners info was but i kno neither one of u would....oh yeah they dont pay u for that!

Jan. 09 2013 10:58 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

@hjs,,,and others
Permitted gunowners have committed no crime. In fact, by following the rules of gun possession in their state, they have shown themselves to be very law abiding. Treating registered gunowners as if they had committed a crime is, in my opinion, somewhat paranoid. Modern guns are normally safe unless they are in the hands of a criminal, the untrained, the immature or our former Vice President OR the mentally unstable. Marking a home as 'off limits' simply because a registered gun is on the premises, seems to go to far. But it is not unreasonable for a parent to opt for safe over sorrow.

Jan. 08 2013 12:43 AM

I'm sure that an intelligent conversation could be had (and a 1st Amendment protected disclosure of information could be made) on a number of conditions in our neighbors' homes that we feel we should be alerted to:

Is a member of the household a convicted felon, guilty of a crime of violence?;
Are convicted felons, found guilty of crimes of violence intentionally and knowingly invited to visit?;
Have the police been summoned to intervene on an allegation of domestic violence?;
Is a member of the household a substance abuser of legal or illegal drugs or alcohol?;
Are such substance abusers intentionally and knowingly invited to visit?; Is a member of the household an adherent of a belief or organization that advocates the recreational use of psychotropic drugs, more frequent sexual activity among adolescents, or the overthrow civil authorities?;

And what would we name a publication that kept us informed of these vital facts? "The Tattler" would be an appropriate sobriquet. But please feel free to make your own suggestions. ;-)

(In fact we should probably crowd source the whole project:
"In order to 'protect the children', what would you want to see reported in your local newspaper about your neighbors?)

Jan. 07 2013 08:59 PM
Kunch from Rockland

If you have a permit or lack a permit, you may be a target for a burglary.
If the village idiot nearby has one, you might be tempted to arm yourself.
If you have a permit and think you're sane, others may disagree...and arm themselves for the possibility you'll flip out.
Publishing the lists makes everyone feel less secure. A journalistic goal?

Jan. 07 2013 06:43 PM
scott from soho

Why not get to know the parents of the kid your child is playing? You will be able to identify if they have guns, fireworks, foods with trans fats, or maybe cups that hold more than 16oz of soda.

Jan. 07 2013 05:29 PM
Paul S

Yes, the names and addresses of all gun owners should be published. I do want to know if my neighbors have a gun(s).
I donot want my children visiting in their friends home if the parents have a gun around!!!

Jan. 07 2013 01:33 PM

I remember how, when I was a young boy some 60 years ago, how fascinating it was for me to play with the bullets that one of my friends, a police officer's son, had access to in his home.

One of the important positives derived from the dissemination of this information is that parents can learn if the homes of their children's friends have these fascinating "toys". We've heard about the children who are injured or killed while playing with guns - surely parents have a right to know whether their children are potentially exposed to such hazards. If I had a child whose friend's parents were on this map, I would forbid him/her from visiting that home.

Jan. 07 2013 12:31 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ hjs11211

I was merely commenting on the statement that the 1st amendment trumps the 2nd. The writer appears to believe the first "overrules" #2-10.

Jan. 07 2013 12:29 PM

Christine from Westchester makes a good point.

Virtually all of the gun-related massacres that have made headlines over the past decade have had one thing in common:
SSIs selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Jan. 07 2013 12:25 PM
HD Stein from Westchester, NY

I'm not certain whether the newspaper was correct in publishing the names of gun owners and I guess we have a right to discuss this point. But one group of people have no right to disagree with the newspaper. These are the gun owners who claim that their 2nd amendment right is absolute and broke no exceptions. These people must recognize the newspapers first amendment rights as absolute also.

Jan. 07 2013 12:10 PM

David from Fredericksburg, VA


Jan. 07 2013 12:08 PM

The rate of convictions of licensed gun owners is far lower than that of members of the Albany Legislature.

Jan. 07 2013 12:07 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@Bonn from East Village

So the 2nd amendment trumps the right against self-incrimination? (2<5) Fascinating...

Jan. 07 2013 12:02 PM
Christine from Westchester

So many of these comments are directed at gun owners as if they're nuts or doing something illegal. Look at all those dots on the Journal News map: are that many of our neighbors dangerous? Perhaps some people need to move somewhere where they can be all alone and away from so many "dangerous" people. Do any of you 'fraidy cats even know a legal gun owner: They're largely like Richard P: with respect for and safely storing their gun.

It's all great when someone else's privacy is being stamped on. What if things were published about you? Again, this was really bad form.

Jan. 07 2013 11:59 AM
Bonn from East Village

What I would want to know is if the person with the gun (or guns) has it locked up in a safe place. And if there are any teenaged boys living in the house, if they are mentally stable and where they go to school. Perhaps the school has a right to know if the kids have easy access to guns. First Amendment (right of free speech) trumps the Second! Get over it.

Jan. 07 2013 11:57 AM
Susan from Upper West Side

Captain DG -- that may be the case, but tell that to my brother, a firefighter paramedic and a hunter himself. He will be happy to tell you the gory details of walking into the aftermath of suicides and homicides committed with the legal gun that got into the hands of a family member. I still remember when he called me after a few too many beers when he was shook up by a young teen who spattered his brains all over his bedroom when he shot himself in the head. My brother had to break open the door and then report to the parents had been so proud of their high achieving son what had happened. He has seen too many of these cases and this one really got to him because the boy was the same age as his oldest daughter. What about Adam Lanza's mother --- weren't her firearms legally registered?

Jan. 07 2013 11:57 AM
Cheskel The Hasid from Brooklyn

No one in the village of Kiryas Joel (which is in Rockland County) has a gun permit. Hasidic people don't have guns... We rely on law enforcement for protection...

Jan. 07 2013 11:57 AM

fallacy: "a gun in the home is more likely to kill a family member than an intruder."
The fallacy is based on a biased sample of subjects with extraordinary rates of arrest, drug abuse, and other dysfunction. One researcher noted Kellerman and his associates "acknowledged that a true risk-benefit consideration of guns in the home should (but did not in their 'calculations') include cases in which... "intruders are wounded or frightened away by the use or display of a firearm...."

Although even Kellerman eventually disavowed his original results, groups like North Carolinians Against Gun Violence continue to pummel his propaganda into the public consciousness.

Jan. 07 2013 11:56 AM
Richard Patterson from Orange County, NY

I have been outraged at the Jounal News action in reporting the addresses of legal gun owners. Although I agree that such action on their part is legal, it is irresposible in the highest degree and counter-propductive to the effort to enact better gun control laws.

I live in Orange County, NY, I have only one gun that requires registering (myn old service revolver from when I was a federal law enforcement officer) the rest are flintocks and very old rifles (I'm an historian and museum director, and I am a competetive shooter with the old flintlocks), no semi automatic pistols or assault rifles, and I have made no effort to hide this fact from any of my neighbors of 20 years, all know and none have objected to me in any way. They are kept safely, with trigger locks, etc.

I have habitually voted Democratic and have fully supported President Obama and I favor more restrictions on assault weapons high capacity magazines.

My objection, should MY information be broadcast in the media, is not that my neighbors will know (they already do) but that third parties whom we DON'T know will make my home a target for burgulary. Further in such a polarizing debate why "press a button" giving some paranoid gun owners something to actually be paranoid about? This is hardly a way to gain concensus.

Jan. 07 2013 11:53 AM

Something that were neglected from the segment.
The information only represents handguns not shotguns or long rifles.

Jan. 07 2013 11:53 AM
Eddie C from Bronx, New York

While many are bringing up the topic of criminals knowing the address of gun owners, what about children knowing? I know in my case having been a law abiding citizen for a long adult life, back when I was a teenager if I had that list I would have cased and then broke into a home but not to perpetrate a crime. In my wild youth I would have broke the law just to go off in the woods and explore the experience of shooting a gun. Armed with that information perhaps I would not have made it to becoming a law abiding adult.

Jan. 07 2013 11:52 AM
D.Aldo from Brooklyn

I'm all for publishing "gun maps." As a NYC resident and LAWFUL gun owner, go ahead, publish my name, adress with apartment number. The felons will know to leave to steer clear. But, that said, I fear for my neighbors, the ones who may be without a firearm. Oh, and I am sick of the media (BTW, I am journalist) talking about "gun control." We already have it. There is no way to defend against the Sandy-Hook-type-criminally-insane person. I mean, he shoots his mom in the head? And then runs out to kill kids and some of their teachers? Last time I checked, my guns did not run off and shoot anyone.

Jan. 07 2013 11:49 AM

The Journal exhibits no courage in publishing this list.
Gun Licensees are overwhelmingly law-abiding.
They tend to be very careful not to point guns in the direction of any person except in self defense.

Jan. 07 2013 11:48 AM

Bri--Read on air some of these comments.

Jan. 07 2013 11:47 AM

I live in Westchester and have seen the map. I found out my neighbor has a gun. Now I am not sure I want my kids play at their house knowing there is a gun in the house.

Jan. 07 2013 11:46 AM

RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey
gun safe just not safe enough.
how do i know when it's coming in and out.
gun owners just too crazy to hang out with.
i also wouldn't get in a car with a drunk driver

Jan. 07 2013 11:46 AM
Sandra from NYC

What we REALLY need is a map of all the gun owners who are UNLICENSED and are NOT RESPONSIBLE owners!
If this map was published Out West, there would be dots on EVERY house. What does that prove???

Jan. 07 2013 11:46 AM

Is no consideration given to the people who live with gun owners? If I were the wife of an abusive husband, I certainly would want to know if my husband had a gun. Also, if I was concerned about the mental health of a family member, I would want to know if that person had a gun and would perhaps think it prudent to report it to the police.

Jan. 07 2013 11:45 AM
Ben from Westchester

I live in the affected area and I am surprised by the vitriol.

Yes, there are stupid things about publishing this database (mostly giving up the addresses of cops and abuse victims).

But the gun industry and the NRA have worked so hard and so long to keep us from getting ANY data on handguns and gun use and RIGHT NOW there are a hundred databases that are NOT ACCESSIBLE.

I would rather err on the side of having more data out there instead of suppressing data. That is what is happening here.

Jan. 07 2013 11:45 AM
Jennifer from Westchester

As a parent, I would not want to send my children on a playdate to a household that had a gun. Kids have a way of finding things they shouldn't, and I would not want mine put in that type of danger.

Jan. 07 2013 11:45 AM
Chris Garvey

Dianne Feinstein shouts loudly, in the anti-gun debate;
But Dianne F. is known to carry her own thirty-eight.

Though banning guns, The New York Times advocates with great fervor,
A rare New York full-carry permits its own Punch Sulzburger.

So if I may, their words re-say,
In light of what they do:
"Guns are OK, for nobles - they;
But not for serfs like you."

Copr. 1998 Chris Garvey

Jan. 07 2013 11:45 AM
Laura Conwesser from Manhattan

As a parent, I would like to know which homes have guns because I would not want my child going to that home to play with any children who live there.

Jan. 07 2013 11:43 AM

Ken Paulson is a great speaker. He should be a guest more often!

Jan. 07 2013 11:43 AM
Mike from Inwood

Ken Paulson is right, perhaps the presentation could have been block by block, but the real question is why the legislature allowed such detailed information to be a public record. Any criticism of making public a public record should be directed at the legislature instead of punishing the messenger.

Jan. 07 2013 11:42 AM

Registration, Then Confiscation, Then Genocide
In the 20th Century, governments killed about 180,000,000 of their own people.
For 65 to 110 million victims of governments, the pattern was:
1. Register the guns;
2. Confiscate the registered guns;
3. Kill the unarmed victims.

Jan. 07 2013 11:41 AM
Snoop from BK

All sex offenders' addresses are matters of public record because they are dangerous.

We know that guns threaten those who are in the houses with guns most... why would I not want to know that my kids friend's parents have a gun in the house? I would like to know if the house that my kid is playing at has a gun because it IS a threat.

Jan. 07 2013 11:40 AM
Christine from Westchester

Because Dan, they are not likely to be more dangerous than sex offenders. Sex offenders have committed at least one crime. These gun owners have not. They have submitted to background checks and are following the law. Look how many there are and yet how FEW issues are resulting. Your problem is with those who would not abide by the law. When you can post a map of those who don't have legal guns, now we have something.

There's nothing good here: just a childish ploy by the Journal News. Hope they lose their readership.

Jan. 07 2013 11:40 AM

So given the fact that the Sullivan Law served criminal purposes, the invasion of privacy seems consistent with those criminal purposes.

Jan. 07 2013 11:38 AM

Sullivan Law of 1911 had several things to going for it:
1. Sullivan represented a dock district, and many of his constituents were muggers. Sullivan was leader of a notorious Irish gang. Their criminal work was impeded by the fact that citizens were arming themselves before going to that bad neighborhood, thereby making robbery a dangerous business. Sullivan wanted to protect his criminal constituents from armed victims, and his law has made New York safe for robbers ever since.
2. Tammany wanted to disarm Italians and blacks. The law served the same racist purposes that gun control served in Dixie: to disarm disfavored races. That's why the pistol licensing agent has unbridled discretion to discriminate under the Sullivan Law.
3. Tammany Hall wanted to be able to arrest political opponents.
4. Colt had missed paying their annual Christmas bribe to Sullivan, who presided over the NY Senate. He was therefore annoyed at Colt, and this law was a form of revenge. The law is thus the product of a corrupt legislator.
5. Sullivan was crazy anyway, and soon was committed to an insane asylum. He eventually committed suicide. The law is as insane as he was.

The law was passed about 1911, and has protected muggers from their victims since then.

Jan. 07 2013 11:37 AM
Dan from North Bergen

We have access to maps of people who are registered sex offenders; why not have access to maps of people who own guns, and are potentially more dangerous?

Jan. 07 2013 11:36 AM
John from NYC

Divorces and bankruptsies are public records. But it might be considered nasty for a newspaper to print them. And a community might react to such a newspaper with hostility.

Jan. 07 2013 11:34 AM
Brenda from NJ

I want to know this information of my towns in NJ as well. It would be helpful to know that my community is free of guns, drugs, and other things that are completely unnecessary to sane life.

Jan. 07 2013 11:32 AM
Christine from Westchester

I think the Journal News' printing was a cheap stunt and despicable. If they had done this same thing for recipients of welfare or food stamps, if they had done a map of those on Prozac, would everyone thinks this was fine? There is no advantage to outing law abiding citizens. Bad form.

Jan. 07 2013 11:31 AM
christine from summit, nj

As a parent of 2 young children, I think that it is great to know who has a gun in their house. I want a map like this for my town.

Jan. 07 2013 11:29 AM

It is worth noting that these permits are for handguns -- not assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, explosives, or other such weapons.

It is also worth noting that these permit holders went through a rigorous application process to receive their permits, which included finger printing, a criminal background check, and solicitation of multiple character references from neighbors. It can take well over a year to get a permit in Westchester.

For those that seem to be taking pleasure in the "outing" of permit holders, does it not seem counter-productive to antagonize the subset of gun owners that have already willingly submitted to rigorous vetting?

Jan. 07 2013 11:21 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey


Why not just ask the parents if they have a gun in the house? If they say "Yes, in a gun safe." let the kids play. If the answered "You bet! Cocked, locked and ready to rock in my bedside table!", you would be justified in canceling that playdate.

Gun ownership is not a crime. To the degree that printing a map of registered owners gives people that impression it is a false one.

Jan. 07 2013 11:21 AM
Dave from Westchester

I don't want to know who owns a single gun (it is interesting as a tool to determine who is very worried about his own safety); I DO WANT TO KNOW how many guns each one owns. If someone in my area own an arsenal, that is as important to know as whether a low-level sexual offender lives near my kids.

Jan. 07 2013 11:19 AM

I would want to know if my kids are playing a gun house.
if you are more likely to be killed by someone you know just don't hang out with gun owners duh!

Jan. 07 2013 10:42 AM

More often than not, the fight against transparency is the bad guy's fight.

I haven't caught OTM yet, maybe they reported this, but I sure would like to know the threats that prompted the newspaper to hire armed guards. Talk about the snake eating its own tail, or something.

Jan. 07 2013 10:24 AM

The Journal-News deserves a special citation from the Pulitzer Board for coming up with the brilliant idea of this gun map. It's delicious watching gun owners whining and complaining.

Jan. 07 2013 10:12 AM

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