Saturday, January 19, 2013

Journal News removes gun owner info from map

The Journal News recently decided to remove gun owner details from the widely criticized map:

The maps remained online late Friday but could no longer be manipulated to find names and addresses.
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."
On Tuesday, as part of a gun control bill, the state Legislature passed and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed new regulations that give permit holders several ways to opt out of the public record.
Applicants can ask to be exempted because they are police officers or served on criminal-case juries or are victims of domestic violence. They also can just say they might be subjected to harassment.
For reasons I've explained before, I had serious reservations as to the wisdom or benefit of printing these details. I am glad that the Journal News is doing the responsible thing here, particularly in light of the fact that  at least two homes on the map have been robbed since the map went online -- in one case, the burglars could not get the gun safe open (the 70-something year old owner was away from home), and in another, the gun safes and permits were stolen. (Correlation, of course, is not causation, but it is a reasonable supposition that, if someone who does not object to breaking the law wants and cannot legally obtain guns, such a map would be a very useful tool.)

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