Where The Journal News went wrong in publishing names, addresses of gun owners

In the days since The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News published and mapped the names and addresses of local citizens who hold gun permits, outraged critics have published the names and addresses of journalists at the paper. New York State Senator Greg Ball has also responded by announcing plans to propose legislation that would make the permits private, no longer subject to open records laws. I suspected that legislative backlash might follow, and it would be a worse mistake than publishing the data.

The problem is not that the Gannett-owned Journal News was too aggressive. The problem is that the paper was not aggressive enough in its reporting to justify invading the privacy of people who legally own handguns in two counties it serves.

When I asked reporter Randi Weiner, who wrote a story about the criticism, how the news organization reached its decision to publish the information, she sent Poynter a statement from Journal News Publisher Janet Hasson:

Frequently, the work of journalists is not popular. One of our roles is to report publicly available information on timely issues, even when unpopular. We knew publication of the database (as well as the accompanying article providing context) would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings.

Timeliness is not reason enough to publish this information, though there are important reasons — including public safety — that journalists regularly invade people’s privacy.

Journalists broadcast and publish criminal records, drunk driving records, arrest records, professional licenses, inspection records and all sorts of private information. But when we publish private information we should weigh the public’s right to know against the potential harm publishing could cause.

My former colleague Bob Steele used to compare the journalist’s role in this situation to a doctor who had to decide whether to perform surgery, knowing she would have to cut through healthy tissue to get to a tumor. The damage caused to the skin is outweighed by the good that comes from removing the tumor. But, as Steele used to say, the surgeon uses great care and years of training to cause only the damage that is justifiable — and no more.

Journalistic invasions of privacy ought to produce outstanding insights into an issue or problem, as The Washington Post did in “The Hidden Life of Guns.” The package included reporting about the NRA’s influence over politicians and “time to crime” ATF data showing how guns from one store move quickly to the streets to be used in crimes. That story links specific stores to a huge number of crimes. Yes, name the stores, and find out why they are so popular among criminals.

WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., stirred up a hornet’s nest by investigating concealed-carry permits. The station went well beyond the controversial database to examine the questionable claims that concealed weapons alone lower crime.

Those are the kinds of stories that make public records data vitally important, the kind of stories that opportunistic lawmakers and anti-media pundits would have a harder time attacking.

Alternatives The Journal News could have considered

Here are some stories any newsroom could explore as part of publishing some version of a gun permit database.

If journalists could show flaws in the gun permitting system, that would be newsworthy. Or, for example, if gun owners were exempted from permits because of political connections, then journalists could better justify the privacy invasion.

If the data showed the relationship between the number of permits issued and the crime rates, that serves a public purpose. You would have to also look at income, population density, housing patterns, policing policies and more to really understand what is going on and why.

If a news org compared permit owners with a database of felony offenders in local counties, that could be a public service. Years ago I recall a Minneapolis TV station doing this and they found the state issuing hunting licenses to felons.

But none of those stories would require the journalist to name the names and include the home addresses of every permit holder. The mapping might be done by ZIP code or even by street.

I am not a big fan of the maps that show sex offenders, but at least there is a logical reason for posting them, even though the offenders often no longer live where the maps show them to be. And even when they do, how much risk do they pose? The maps can’t know that. The difference between the sex offender maps and the gun permit maps is that sex offenders have been convicted of a crime. The permit holders are accused of nothing.

Counterarguments

A few Poynter.org readers contacted me to say the database is the kind of thing parents can use to learn whether their kids are safe at a friend’s house. I disagree. I am a gun owner. When my kids were growing up my pistol was locked in a safe at a friend’s house on the other side of town. A permit map would have shown it at my house.

The Journal News database does not show shotguns, rifles, even the much discussed “assault weapons.” The data could give a parent a false sense of security. It might be more useful to ask the parents of your child’s friends about guns in the house, rather than rely on a database that may not provide a clear picture.

The Journal News says it was flooded with criticism that publishing the maps makes the permit owners targets for thieves. I understand the concern but am not sure I buy it. I wonder if the homes without permits are bigger targets, there may be no guns there to fight back. In any case, I have seen nothing yet that leads me to believe publishing such data results in a higher incidence of burglaries. As my colleague Julie Moos pointed out in an earlier Poynter.org article, several other news organizations have published similar but less specific lists over the years.

One argument for publishing the database might go something like this, “We are not implying anything by publishing this data. We are not vilifying anybody. It is a public record. The public is smart enough to figure that out. Trust the public to make good decisions if we supply them with information.” I accept that argument if the data has some context. Don’t just show us numbers, tell us what they mean, or we draw our own conclusions based on our own biases, which is dangerous.

What’s the journalistic purpose?

If publishing the data because it is public and the public seems to be interested in the topic right now is reason enough, then there are endless databases to exploit.

If your county required dog and cat licenses would you publish that interactive map? I suspect the licenses would be public. I sure would like to know if there were three dogs living behind me before I moved in.

I have seen news organizations publish the salaries of local and state government employees for no reason other than that they can. Why? Did we think they all worked for free? If somebody is playing the system, expose them. But use the surgeon’s tools, not a chainsaw approach.

I like it when journalists take heat for an explosive, necessary, courageous investigation that exposes important wrongdoing. There is journalistic purpose and careful decision-making supporting those stories. But The News Journal is taking heat for starting a gunfight just because it could.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/randall.feinberg Randall J. Feinberg

    The Journal News knew exactly what they were doing. They knew it was despicable and they knew it would sell papers!

  • Dan Hall

    What nonsense it is that the Journal-News and so many other news organizations are framing this controversy as a clash between the First and Second Amendments.

    During 40 years as an editorial writer and columnist at a variety of newspapers around the country, I wrote probably a couple of dozen pieces advocating stronger gun laws. The Second Amendment should not be interpreted as the practically unlimited license the gun lobby likes to say it is.

    Likewise, we journalists need to recognize that while the First Amendment gives us (and all citizens) certain rights, we still have an obligation to exercise those rights in responsible ways. Hubris is one of the reasons so many citizens we presume to serve hold us in such low regard.

    The Journal-News editors committed an incredible invasion of the privacy of people who had done nothing illegal. More than that, it most likely did put some of those people in danger (police officers whose families could be targeted by criminals, people who really have real need to be able to protect themselves against mentally unstable ex-spouses, etc.)

    How ironic is it that editors and other employees of the Journal-News now have armed protection themselves?

    Obviously I hope no one gets hurt. I hope that those who are making threats are found and prosecuted.

    I also hope that governments at all levels don’t use this as an excuse to put up new walls guarding information that should be public.

    No doubt, though, many will.

    For that, the editors of the Journal-News, as well as those journalists who cheered them on, will have themselves to thank.

  • Rock Climber

    Ok, now I want to see a similar map with all Mecedes 450SL owners addresses plotted as well. Heck, just make a list that identifies the locations of all owners of high end sports cars out there. After all, are DMV records any different than the gun records? Heck, while we’re at it, lets get into posting medical records, people should have a right to know who lives around them with contagious communicable disesases shouldn’t they? I for one think I should have a right to know who is buying junk food because they are not eating properly and might have a heart attack while backing out of the driveway and run over me! Where does the idiocy stop people?

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Mark, Thanks for commenting. Your point is an important one. We’re working on a story for early next week about how much context — if any — data requires to become data journalism. We’ll include this example and also Homicide Watch D.C., Texas Tribune and others. It’s an important part of this debate that hasn’t received the attention it deserves and I appreciate you pointing it out. –Julie Moos, Director of Poynter Online

  • http://twitter.com/markcardwell Mark Cardwell

    This article is deeply disappointing. Poynter should be advocating for freedom of the press and supporting news organizations that publish public information for public good. This is one of those situations.
    The argument that the data needed more context in the form of a more deeply researched story is patronizing and frankly typical of the viewpoint of rigid journalists who think the traditional written narrative remains the only way to tell stories. Sometimes data is the best way to tell a story.
    As somebody who lives in area covered by this map I find it useful and so do my neighbors. I support the work of the Journal-News — Poynter should as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Only if they are foolish enough to think not having a permit means not having a gun.

  • Full Name

    “The NRA needed a week to figure out how to react.”
    No, they didn’t. They needed a week to let rationality return. Trying to make a rational argument is pointless when all rationality is gone is pointless.
    Also, it would not have mattered when they spoke or what they said, the reaction from the media and the politicians would have been the same: Irrational demonizing and scapegoating.

  • Full Name

    Here is the thing about these people who have gun permits: not only need you not fear them, you should be glad they are around. These are the GOOD guys. People who would go through the trouble, time and expense of getting a gun permit are most emphatically NOT criminals or crazies. Having them in your neighborhood makes you more safe, not less. Treating them the same as sex offenders is not only completely irrational and irresponsible, it is shameful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Act of terrorism? Try to think, then post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Well, some people do believe they should possess military grade weaponry. That’s where the problem lies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1150579079 Lisa Johnson

    I applaud The News Journal and Gannett Press It took guts to publish this information. I think they should have gone further and posted what kind of guns they own!! I think they made an excellent point in what they did. And maybe just maybe people will think more about what and where they actually keep their guns. Maybe if that woman in Newton was more cautious about the safety aspect and had her guns locked up her sick son wouldn’t have done what he did. I think his mother should be brought up on charges as well for endangerment

  • DuncanASickler

    Well you have to understand, Urban Warfare largly nulifies an otherwise superior military’s advantages, be they numirical, technological, or logistical, and adds a 3rd diminsion to any combat situation, it is hands down the most difficult type of fighting, especially when fighting in a city or large town.

    Although I freely admit I support the 2nd amendment, Semi-Automatic Rifles, Pistols, and Shotguns seem to me to be covered under the 2nd amendment. I certainly dont believe Americans should posess Military Grade weaponry. While the NRA are right wing idiots, they are no differant then the left wing idiots, other then thier respective positions . It will fall to the people in the middle to figure out a way to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals while not trampling on americans rights. That is my Hope, I have faith in America, we will find our way!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    I’m not sure how urban warfare would help your argument, if you are claiming that a bunch of isolated individuals armed with whatever weapons they have purchased would somehow resist a government force with a little more power than Syria’s.

    However, none of this really has much to do with addressing the mass shootings that have taken place. And, in the end, that is the sad goal of the NRA drones. Time will tell if being obtuse will again pay off for that bunch.

  • DuncanASickler

    I have read Bruce Catton’s works on the Civil War as well as Shelby Footes, and while I respect his Naval service, he simply had no experiance with Combat on land. So I am sure you’ll forgive me if I take his “Expertise” with a grain of salt. While I respect many of his notions, the cold reality is that all Militias require both disipline and good leadership, which is why the Confederate Army was so formidable. But the Confederacy was a classic example of a force that won the battles, but lost the war.

    But your reply does not address my point in regards to Asymmetric warfare or the cold realities of urban warfare as practiced in the modern era. I doubt that recieving one of Bruce Cattons books would give much comfort to the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad as the Rebels who are now both, better equiped and organized, continue to close on his position.

    My point was not about advocating an armed state, nor was it to advocate arms in school, my point was to address your coment in regards to Militias.

  • carla5731

    “Abortion clinic terrorists have long photographed patients, nurses, doctors”…

    You have illustrated the problem well. This newspaper’s decision to publish their map was an act of terrorism against law-abiding citizens.

    “if guns prevent crime then doesn’t advertising who may have guns create a protective anti-crime shield around these people?”

    Yes, but you know what can sometimes be worse than a burglar? A few of your misinformed anti-gun neighbors screaming at you and shunning your kids because a mentally ill person committed a crime in another state.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    All talking points, served up for NRA drones to parrot. All that not having a discussion will accomplish is expanding the government, with armed guards at every school. Somehow I am not sure that is something to cheer about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    The militia judgment came from a book about the Civil War. It was written by Bruce Catton, who is widely regarded as an expert on the topic.

    Your analysis does not carry quite the same weight, I am sorry to report.

    I know the pro-gun argument is to throw out the straw man of “People are afraid of an armed population!” and then to run with that. But the concern is about arms being used in a way that is not for personal defense. Your straw man argument has often derailed discussion of this issue in the past, and it is yet to be seen if it will happen again. I guess it comes down to whether people want to give up more of their liberty — a word I am sure is used in the Constitution you claim to defend — instead of having an actual discussion on this issue.

    If your defense of this nation consisted of eventually creating an armed state with guns in every school, then I am sorry to report that you failed, sir. All that does is expand the government you claim not to have taken an oath to defend.

  • http://twitter.com/sactodan SactoDan

    Please.

  • JoP

    Well said! Especially the point about taking an oath to defend the Constitution of the US and not the govt/current administration. I don’t suppose you’ll find many friends though w/ the radical anti-gun crowd, making such a reasoned argument re. the potential of a 50-million strong militia!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kent-M-Ford/584484231 Kent M. Ford

    The issue is whether the permit owners’ names and addresses should have been published, not whether the information should be public record. This sort of information — collected by the government — must remain public. We’re so concerned about our privacy that we give the government — and big retail companies for that matter — far more personal information than we give our friends, families and neighbors.
    To whom the government issues gun permits must remain public; whether that information should be published just because it is public is another question. It it’s relevant, yes; if not, why bother?
    (For another post: All that information that corporations gather on us is not open to public viewing. That reality is too scary to dwell on.)

  • DuncanASickler

    Ive enjoyed many of your post Robert as well as the lively debate going on here, but you are mistaken in regards to the Militia argument. You do not seem to be aware of the concept of asymetrical warfare. I have served 22 years in the United States Army and been through West Point, and am well versed in US History. And though I am retired now, after 2 tours in Iraq i can tell you the armed “civillians” can be a serious threat. One need only look at the current conflict going on in Syria to udnerstand just how large a threat a militia can be.

    While the United States Military is vastly superior to Syria both technologicly as well as in terms of training, the United States also is a much larger country in terms of land mass as well as population. With an estimated 300+ million guns in civillian hands in our nation, I would posit that 50-100 million armed indiviuals could make for a quite frighting force. Of course for this to happen would take a quite horrorific cracking down on civil liberties by the US Govt which i dont see happening (And hope I never do). Perhaps it is this reason that the thought of an armed population upsets, many people.

    When I took my oath it was to defend the Constitution, Not the Goverment. I hope people think on this when they contemplate giving up their rights that I spent a large part of my life defending.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    I have not supported weak journalism in any of these posts. I said in another post that the newspaper should have gathered the information and then analyzed it further before publishing anything.

    However, it is public information. It is not an “invasion of privacy” to publish it, as Al Tompkins erroneously claims.

    I also agree that having a permit does not mean someone owns a gun.

  • poppy coq

    It’s weak journalism. Whatever your feelings are about guns or the NRA, don’t let them lead you into supporting weak journalism.

    Just because someone has a permit doesn’t mean he has a gun. The paper should have taken another tack.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Don’t flatter yourself about not being wrong. The information you say should be published is (brace yourself) ALREADY PUBLISHED!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    The first one that comes to mind is the idea that somehow a bunch of individual gun owners could come together to form a militia that would mount any serious resistance to today’s government with modern weaponry and surveillance. Even 150 years ago, militias were generally failures in battle in the Civil War.

    You should mount your own re-education effort. Your local community college likely can assist you in this endeavor.

  • gringosalado

    “Many anti-gun arguments are quite factual.”

    Care to post one? And I dislike the car/drug analogies also, and did not make any in my post.

    Try to think first, then post.

  • Gary Kane

    Excellent points, Al. Did the News Journal serve its audience by publishing this piece? What was the news angle here? That a lot of people have gun permits? Thanks a lot, Sherlock. As you point out, the New Journal might have been able to compile an interesting story with this data, but failed to think outside the box or simply opted to be lazy. The ME should consider replacing the editors responsible for this piece with someone capable of exercising creativity and imagination in the art of computer-assisted reporting. I’m guessing there are quite a few qualified candidates in the job market.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Nope. Many anti-gun arguments are quite factual.

    The car argument continues to fail, though. There are quite a few regulations requiring cars. During my lifetime, there have been many added. Does anyone ever seriously claim: “Well, if we just enforced the existing car regulations, there wouldn’t be any deaths, and we wouldn’t need any more rules?”

    Yet we hear this type of argument from the gun side all the time.

    As I said before, whenever someone uses the car argument, it’s a sign of an NRA drone with no facts and no argument. Try to think first, then post. When you’re down to citing totally unrelated things like cars or drugs, you’re clearly out of your league.

  • gringosalado

    The “guns have one use – killing” argument has always been a sign of less reason. Guns are used every minute in this country without even being fired. You can defend yourself and/or your property with a firearm without even so much as brandishing it.

    Hard to believe this passes for a reasoned argument, but most anti-gun arguments are more emotional than factual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    The car argument has always been a sign of less reason. Cars have many uses — transportation of people and goods the main ones. Guns have one use — killing.

    Whenever a gun person uses the car argument, I know that person has lost his way and is simply an NRA drone. Try to think first, then post. Your posts need much, much more thought before you can even begin to hope to advance a point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Johnna-Calverase/1360551022 Johnna Calverase

    There was no justified reason to publish the address of legal gun permit owners. There is no correlation to those permit holders and what happened in CT. Why dont we publish a list of people who own cars? Cars kill 50% more people than those killed by handguns every year. The number of law abiding gun owners far exceeds those who are using illegally weapons to kill. Even if you ban guns you will never change those who will break the law to kill. The unicorns searching for Utopia will never accept the FACTS but are driven my the hysteria the media feeds them..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Johnna-Calverase/1360551022 Johnna Calverase

    How exactly do you see yourself as a “more reasoned” person? Cars kill more people than deaths from handguns…yet we still have cars. I support your right to not own a gun. As a law abiding citizen I have the right to own one without having my address published as if I broke the law. Where is your “reasoning”?

  • harryeagar

    I hope not. That was never my mindset.

  • harryeagar

    Actually, a bunch of us are newspaper reporters, and we know from our reporting how guns and ammunition are stored.

  • http://twitter.com/timmywvillage tim schreier

    Advocacy? Journalism? Or simply a Stunt? I think it is a bit of all three. Regardless, it has no place for a news organization to become a “potential proactive prognosticator” of news that could happen. That being said, there are places for this kind of list to be available but not in a newspaper because it is not news, yet.
    Tim Schreier
    New York, NY

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    John Karlson’s comment above (he seemed pretty passionate, too).

    Premise 1: “Do they realize they have let every thief know where they might be able to steal a gun!”

    By NRA logic that is almost as good as a magic shield against crime. e.g. http://www.nrapublications.org/index.php/armed-citizen/
    Would any rational criminal run willingly into the teeth of armed defenders such as those listed? Is there any guarantee that non-permit holders are not in possession of some kind of firearm, easily purchased in another jurisdiction?

    Subpremise 1a: should persons enter unopposed, how could they steal weapons stored securely in a gun safe or locking cabinet? e.g. http://www.cabelas.com/gun-safes.shtml

    Premise 2: “If someone gets hurt with a stolen gun because of this stupid stunt, the blood will be on their (i.e. newspaper publishers, editors, and reporters) hands.”

    Does this follow? If no rational criminal would burglarize a home advertised as defended by armed residents, their arms are secured in a gun safe or secure cabinet with trigger locks, does it not then mean the criminal is either irrational or had never informed himself of the gun permit status of the homes he or she targets for his crimes? Wouldn’t the responsibility rightfully rest on the shoulders of the criminal first, then the gun owner who did not secure his or her weapons sufficiently to prevent theft?

    As a gun owner with kids who lives in a community with other people I would really like to see less posturing and more negotiation in the spirit of community and democracy.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Welfare recipients not only look poor (welfare doesn’t pay as well as advertised), when you are in line at the grocery and see one of those food stamp cards you know that person is acutely aware that everyone in line knows. Abortion clinic terrorists have long photographed patients, nurses, doctors and even people who make deliveries to clinics and have used that information to murder people, often by shooting them or with bombs-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence Judicial protective orders are public where I live and published as court business.
    Innocent citizens’ public information is just that-public information. Publishing things in the print press today is more obscuring than the fact that such information is available online thanks to Google and other more specialized information companies who will for a small sum give me every piece of public information about a person that is available- zabasearch and Intelius are two examples.

    The real question for me is that as LaPierre and others repeatedly state, if guns prevent crime then doesn’t advertising who may have guns create a protective anti-crime shield around these people? Any burglar bothering to do the research would see a gun permit and have no rational alternative but to write off that house, correct? Isn’t that why people have those “protected by Smith and Wesson” stickers?

  • http://twitter.com/sactodan SactoDan

    I don’t, and this article is a good example why. Those who disagree with me would like to mark me somehow like the good little macarthyites they have become.

  • http://twitter.com/sactodan SactoDan

    And you have extrapolated these conclusions how?

  • http://twitter.com/sactodan SactoDan

    Violent criminals and thieves know they can invade the homes not on the list with impunity.

  • http://twitter.com/sactodan SactoDan

    Really, a pet tiger? Really?

  • http://twitter.com/sactodan SactoDan

    This newspaper would make Joe Macarthy proud. Are we to have an inquistion next? These people are without scruples, and their self righteousness hardly substitutes for ethics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stan-Gahpa/100001513633207 Stan Gahpa

    According to the FBI, there are .000042 homicides per firearm in the United States.

    According to the BJS, the rate of recidivism in the United States is 67.5 percent.

    If the Journal News genuinely wanted to help protect people, it would run the names and addresses of every parolee in its area as well as the crime for which he or she was convicted. But they wouldn’t do that, because they would — rightly, I believe — consider it a violation of those individuals’ privacy.

    Not so with gun owners though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stan-Gahpa/100001513633207 Stan Gahpa

    Would you feel that way if we ran the names and addresses of welfare recipients? Of women who’ve had abortions? Of individuals who’ve been granted PFA orders? Of other innocent citizens who’ve violated no law, but who stand to be endangered by the release of their private information? Just because the data is “public” doesn’t mean it should be released by the media. Journalists used to understand this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stan-Gahpa/100001513633207 Stan Gahpa

    I have never been more embarrassed to be associated with the news media than I have since the Newtown shooting. From the astoundingly error-laden coverage to this disastrous vendetta against legal gun owners, the media have completely thrown aside everything that once made journalism a noble profession.

    When I worked in the newspaper business, we went out of our way to protect the privacy of individuals who were not convicted or at least accused of a crime. Had they used this database to run a comparison to a database of convicted felons, that would have been fine. But this…

    What they have done is legal. But it is in no way ethical.

  • Gerald Bakes

    Criminals now have a handy map of the un-armed and helpless

  • atompkins

    I take your good point Anne. Your phrase is better than mine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamese.bailey.58 James E Bailey

    Typical libturd move. I hope the Journal loses readership and goes belly-up. They deserve no less. Why didn’t they research and print the names and addresses of criminals convicted of gun crimes instead? Answer: they have an anti-gun agenda against the LAWFUL gun owners and obviously don’t care that the criminals are out there armed. There is NO possibility of me being wrong on this point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000589931407 Jerry Boggs

    Those who are the most angered by the publication of the gun owners’ locations are the gun-owning liberals who have publicly demanded that all guns be banned.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    What about the most recent incident in New Jersey where police in the police station were shot?
    Good job at moderating, btw.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    this tiger, you can have it from my cold dead hands or the cold dead hands of my mauled and partially consumed children.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    I think the next time they publish the list they may find more newspaper employees armed against vigilante types who wish to take their disagreement to another level. See Alan Berg, perhaps Gary Webb.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    This conflict arises again and again here-if guns prevent crime, then advertising the location of gun owners should create a no-crime zone around them if the NRA is telling the truth.

    A secondary issue is the implication that gun owners are storing their weapons in an unsafe and unapproved by the NRA fashion-unlocked, outside of a gun safe, perhaps with crates of ammunition stored immediately next to the weapon. Nightstand? Baby’s room? Who knows?

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    There’s a conflict here that I think needs more examination.

    Gun owners and the NRA argue that an armed society is a polite society and that keeping guns out of schools caused the latest school atrocity (leaving out the more recent guy shooting cops at the police station in New Jersey), then publishing who owns gun permits should be a warning against thieves, should it not?

    If guns are effective deterrents to crime then everyone should get an NRA sticker and a gun license and advertise it, whether they have guns or not. Why is publishing the public record a bad thing if it works to prevent rather than attract criminal activity? By NRA policy it should be a deterrent to crime.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Just not true in my experience. Just like some people love reading obituaries there are people who specialize in this kind of information- geneologists, lawyers, private investigators, insurance companies and investigators. Public notices are one of the few pieces of news left to the print realm that are not subject to political critique and post modern reinterpretation (except Obama’s birth notice in the Honolulu Advertiser).

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    Public data is still public. Nothing has really changed. Except the paranoid delusions of the already paranoid have been enhanced. Kind of a Poyntless critique I think, since more people use the internet than read print papers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    He was responding to the anonymous mudslinger, which your site permits.

  • http://twitter.com/garymsp Gary P

    Federal privacy laws prevent releasing or publishing personal information in govt databases maintained by a Federal Agency without written consent by the individual. State laws vary, it is interesting that New York and a few other States do not recognize publishing private information maintained by State agencies as a breach of confidentiality but other States do. They would not have been able to publish the ‘map’ in California for example, ironic isn’t it…..California…..

  • http://twitter.com/kstanlew Kyle S. Lewis

    The Associated Press requested similar data in Illinois via a FOIA in 2011, prompting the Illinois legislature to amend Illinois’ FOIA to exempt such info. I wonder what the AP would have used the data for…

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Your group is the expert on creating strawman arguments. I assume the statement you mention is the empty pledge to be “part of the solution.” Of course, the actual response only worsened the problem, which is what we should have expected.

  • atompkins

    John, I understand your frustrations but name calling is not terribly productive. Keep it classy- cheers
    al

  • atompkins

    Harry-I do and always have as well. I always think it is interesting that Bob Woodward still has a listed number. But I do understand it is not for everybody. I have TV friends who get crazy stalkers.

  • http://40yrs.blogspot.com Matthew Saroff

    If a child had been mauled by a pet tiger, and the paper had decided to publish the information on holders of exotic animal licenses, no one would be in the least concerned.

    Firearms are far more likely to do damage to the neighbors than are a tiger or a honey badger.

    The law says that it is public, the paper can publish it, and to my mind, the paper should publish it.

  • AnneHamilton

    I’m not sure I agree with the premise that gun licenses are “private” information. They’re a public record, for good reason. A more appropriate word might have been “sensitive,” not “private.”

  • harryeagar

    Really? My neighbor got burglarized. He’s a cop. You could tell by the blue-and-white parked outside.

    So, yeah, if what you say is true, coincidence? Yeah, most likely.

  • harryeagar

    I’m retired now, but for 45 years I was a newspaperman. My name and number was in the phone book every day. I post on the Internet with my real name.

    Do you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kehvan Kevin Burnett

    My group?

    As an HIV+ gay man, who votes libertarian, is left handed, with a personality type of INFP, you have no clue what my “group” is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kehvan Kevin Burnett

    You grasp of history and current events is pathetically poor at best and outright lies at worst, because in fact the NRA released a statement about it on Dec. 18th, which is less than a week… but whatever, because in reality, this is a red herring… a strawman argument at best for the sheer fact the NRA is just an organization made of people, and those people have been speaking up against nutjobs like you, who used this tragedy to go on your anti-gun tirades literally within hours of its occurrence.

  • Jay

    Agreed, we certainly don’t take it all from the courthouse. I often take calls from people who don’t want their information printed. Often I hear, “I understand it’s public record and I’m OK with that. It’s fine if people want to go to the courthouse and look at it but I don’t want it in the paper.” I tell them that people pay us to go to the courthouse for them. That said, as referenced in your response, there are lots of records I don’t want to be paid to supply. Personally, I think the gun permits might be one of them – I certainly wouldn’t do it as a one time shock value thing. However, our governments have decided they will decide who carries a gun – is it worth noting their endorsements on an ongoing basis? On a separate note, in response to Hunter John – I’ve worked at numerous mid-sized dailies – that has certainly not been my experience. These records often drive circulation as they are one of the few remaining items not handed out for free online by some media outlet.

  • http://sportsmyriad.com Beau

    But your response was completely overboard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jcskeet John Karlson

    Randi Weener and his publisher Janet Hasson have to be the two biggest A-Holes in town!
    In order to sell their rag newspaper, they have to throw innocent people under the bus. Do they realize they have let every thief know where they might be able to steal a gun! They just opened a Pandora’s box.If someone gets hurt with a stolen gun because of this stupid stunt,the blood will be on their hands.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Of course I didn’t say that. I would have remembered. As I just said, though, putting the information out there with no development or context was a bad idea.

    I also noticed that, as I expected, the list of employee addresses includes people who likely had nothing to do with publishing this information. I don’t expect people in the general public to understand how the system works, but Poynter and Tompkins should know. That should be criticized sharply, both in the context of the excessive response and the newspaper’s poor decision-making process.

  • BeverlyGue

    You still didn’t say it was “despicable” for The Journal News to drag gun owners’ kids into their personal vendetta against gun owners by putting the names and addresses of gun owners and their children out on the web in an interactive map. But you’ll say that I’m despicable for telling someone that I’m glad that people know where her children live. Caryn made sure everyone knows where gun owners’ children live by posting their addresses in her newspaper. You haven’t called Caryn despicable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Deflection isn’t owning it, sorry. I already said in one post that I didn’t think just throwing the information out there was a great idea. I would have compiled the names and then checked to see if people were getting permits when they shouldn’t have.

    However, none of that has anything to do with you telling someone you’re glad that people know where her children live. I’ve made my point on that issue now, so if you can live with that action, then go for it.

  • BeverlyGue

    atompkins, all of what you suggest is correct.

    But to have my home or anyone else’s home on a map going across the country showing my home where I have children as not having a gun so that any criminal that wants to stake out which house would be the easiest to burglarize without them getting shot at is a frightening thing.

    Now, I know a criminal can go that information just like The Journal News did. But most criminals don’t work that hard. That’s why they’re crooks. They THINK it’s easy to take from others. BUT to have the newspaper just hand them that information, well, no thank you. I’m very ticked off about it. The irresponsibility of this newspaper is beyond reproach. It’s despicable.

  • BeverlyGue

    Robert, do you think it’s “despicable” that The Journal News brought the gun owners’ kids into their personal vendetta against gun owners when The Journal News posted the gun owners’ home addresses where they reside with their children?

    I agree with you, Robert, I think it’s “despicable” that The Journal News drug the gun owners’ kids into their personal vendetta.

  • atompkins

    Phil this is really interesting. But that study and results have been the subject of debate for many years. It is often attacked as unreliable for example:

    “The gun debate’s new mythical number: How many defensive uses per year?” Journal of Police Analysis and Management, 1997

    “The myth of millions of annual self-defense gun use: A case study of survey overestimates of rare events” Chance – American Statistical Association, 1997

    “Defensive Gun Uses: New Evidence from a National Survey” Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 1998

    “The Relative Frequency of Offensive and Defensive Gun Uses: Results from a National Survey”, Violence and Victims, 2000

    “Myths about Defensive Gun Use and Permissive Gun Carry Laws” Berkeley Media Studies Group, 2000

    “Comparing the Incidence of Self-Defense Gun Use and Criminal Gun Use” Harvard Injury Control Research Center, 2009

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Not really. All sorts of sketchy stuff gets published. “Spiking” entire stories is a fast way for a copy editor to get on the s**t list.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    I’ll probably regret asking this, but what level of knowledge would you consider to be expertise? And how would this expertise be reached? Not many smaller or medium-sized dailies have the resources the Post does.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    You wrote here that you said on voicemail you were glad that people know where her children live. Did you not write that? At least have the courage to own up to it. If you want to feel tough by dragging kids into the agenda, then be tough enough to acknowledge that’s what you did.

    Just to clarify: I’m not simply implying that’s what you did. I’m saying that’s what you did (if you are telling the truth). There’s no implying.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    You’ve described your group to a T. Blinded by ideology? Check.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    You should be concerned. Your group’s proposal would actually expand government and hurt individual rights. Perhaps you’re still reaching that conclusion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    No reasonable person needs a week to figure out how to react to that event.

    The NRA needed a week to figure out how to react. This week of waiting came after a history of basically rubbing people’s noses in it right after other mass murders. The organization also has a history of presenting misinformation and half-baked logic (“Cars aren’t outlawed, but they cause deaths,” etc.) and then relying on poorly educated drones to repeat the information as fact.

    Waiting a week; weak tactics; misinformation; poor presentation after having A WEEK to prepare; getting pantsed by protesters after having a week to prepare; and on and on. Tells me all I need to know.

  • Szebran

    Nonsesne. Typical liberal nutcase. I live in a high crime state. My small neighborhood is fairly well armed. We’ve had zero breakins. Yet neghborhoods all around us have some crime problem from time to time. Coincidence? Not likely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Or to ignore the information.

  • Szebran

    Translation: U belive that posting the names and addresses of those which U hate is a good thing. HOWEVER, if this is turned against U and it is your name and address which is posted then its different. Typical liberal hypocrite.

  • Szebran

    U really are out in left field. It probably took some time for average citizens to get the information.

  • Szebran

    Its excellent of Mr. Fountain to publish the names and addresses of the media. All to often this pompous and egotistcal proffession beleves that they they are above everyone else and that they should control society. Journalist are a threat to free thought and free speech. If the media tries this stunt again – printing the names and addresses of those that they hate – I’m sure more citizens will be able to determine the names and addresesses of the journalists in question. The media still thinks its 1980 where only they control information.

  • Transam488 Solomon
  • http://www.facebook.com/kehvan Kevin Burnett

    You’re assuming you’re a “more-reasoned” person. Your very words prove you’re not, because…
    1. You’re making a “some equals all” argument. Some people waited a week to respond to the typical hysteria to ban guns that always occurs literally minutes after a tragedy of that nature, but some began to respond immediately.
    2. You’re making gross generalizations about both those who argue for gun control and those who argue against it. Not every gun control argument is reasonable, and not every pro gun argument is “thumbing” noses.
    and 3. Reasonable people disagree reasonably. They don’t attack the motives and courageousness of those they disagree. That’s called ad hominem.

    You’re not a a reasonable person. PERIOD.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kehvan Kevin Burnett

    When you’re blinded by ideology, of course arguments you don’t like become “crazy” and evidence suddenly doesn’t exist.

  • Phil Garner

    “I wonder if the homes without permits are bigger targets, there
    may be no guns there to fight back. In any case, I have seen nothing
    yet that leads me to believe publishing such data results in a higher
    incidence of burglaries.”

    Please look at the stats in paragraph 4: Granted this is older data but I am sure it no less shows relevance. If there is a newer study, I would be interested in knowing about it.

    http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2012a/commsumm.nsf/b4a3962433b52fa787256e5f00670a71/5de089825c00843e872579b80079912d/$FILE/SenState0305AttachB.pdf

  • atompkins

    I would hope Carolyn that we would be concerned about everybody’s safety, isn’t that what the whole gun debate is about? I know you agree, I just needed to say it with you. I wish no ill will on anybody. Just because you do not have a permit does not lead to the logic that you are unprotected. A well designed emergency alarm system, a solid neighborhood watch program and common sense alertness can be good protections. Plus it is not as if there is a huge crime wave sweeping New York. Let’s not overstate the dangers here. Best wishes-al

  • BeverlyGue

    Robert, in the off chance that you are implying that I am putting anyone’s kids into a personal vendetta, I’ll disavow you of that notion. My point to Caryn was that she and her newspaper put legal gun owners’ and their children at risk by posting their names and addresses in her newspaper and how does she feel now that it has happened to her. That is what I said to her over her voicemail.

    I think no one’s home addresses where children are living (gun owner’s either) should have been posted in The Journal News or online.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Only a despicable person drags someone’s kids into a personal vendetta.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Sort of like when gun advocates respond to every tragedy by thumbing their noses at more-reasoned people. This time, they had the tact to wait a week. Or the lack of courage to respond right away. Probably more the second than the first.

  • BeverlyGue

    I’ve called all of the numbers that are posted on the internet of the
    people that work at The Journal News who posted the names and addresses
    of the registered gun owners in two counties.

    They either ring and no answer or they have voicemails that are so full you
    can’t leave a message or their phones have been disconnected.

    Caryn’s was the only one I was able to leave a voicemail on her work and home
    voicemail both. I told her what a despicable woman she and her
    journalist co-workers are for putting out the names and addresses of
    registered gun owners thereby leaving those neighbors that don’t own
    guns open for criminals to know their home doesn’t have a gun.

    I told her that I was glad that her name and address is plastered all
    over the internet so that everyone now knows where she and her children
    live. I also told her that under ordinary circumstances I would not be
    applauding that because I can see the potential danger in that, but in
    this case since they don’t care about the danger to the people in those
    two counties by putting out that map I’m not all that concerned about
    her safety.

    I also told her that I hope the citizens stop
    buying their newspaper and The Journal News goes out of business and
    that it puts a big dent in the Gannett newspaper income stream.

  • harryeagar

    What’s the beef? It’s a free country, last I heard. A list that shows how many gun permits are in the community and where they are concentrated is in itself worth knowing.

    In the comments, we are told that now criminals will come to the houses that have guns. Most of the rest of the time, we are assured that criminals will not go where they think they are likely to be shot.

    Face it, 99% of gun nut arguments are crazy. That’s why we call them gun nuts.

    There is zero evidence that guns serve a useful purpose in an urban area. They are not used to repel foreign invaders, and they are seldom used to defend against domestic aggressors, against which set all the times they are used against innocent bystanders.

    Hic sunt leones.

  • atompkins

    Clinton, you are right, I do want journalists to self-regulate. I have NO interest in making public records more private than they are. The opposite is true, I would like to take driving records and DMV records fully public, as they once were. You should be able to look up my driving record if you wish. Wouldn’t you like to know if you are sending your kid on a ride with a three-time DUI offender? I once oversaw an investigation that proved repeat offender drunk drivers with more than a dozen convictions still had licenses. We did that because we had access to license information, which in many states, now, you do not. But we should have the good sense to put a journalistic purpose behind the publication of private harmful information. By the way, the Constitution has not always been thought of as a protector of a right to publish anything you wish. Take a look at the Sedition Acts of 1798 and again around 1918. They forbade journalists from writing anything critical of the President or other members of the government. Clinton-thanks for taking a few minutes to write and read-even if it resulted in a jab, it is still a worthwhile exchange. Al

  • BeverlyGue

    I’ve called all of the numbers that are posted on the internet of the people that work at The Journal News who posted the names and addresses of the registered gun owners in two counties.

    They either ring and no answer or they have voicemails that are so full you can’t leave a message or their phones have been disconnected.

    Caryn’s was the only one I was able to leave a voicemail on her work and home voicemail both. I told her what a despicable woman she and her journalist co-workers are for putting out the names and addresses of registered gun owners thereby leaving those neighbors that don’t own guns open for criminals to know their home doesn’t have a gun.

    I told her that I was glad that her name and address is plastered all over the internet so that everyone now knows where she and her children live. I also told her that under ordinary circumstances I would not be applauding that because I can see the potential danger in that, but in this case since they don’t care about the danger to the people in those two counties by putting out that map I’m not all that concerned about her safety.

    I also told her that I hope the citizens stop buying their newspaper and The Journal News goes out of business and that it puts a big dent in the Gannett newspaper income stream.

  • atompkins

    Thanks Erik- maybe I really want both the data and the explanation(s) behind it from multiple views of people smarter than myself. I can look at most any data table and conclude what I think is true, and I would think it would be normal to look for evidence of what I believe in data. I certainly think some journalists are quite well equipped to explain some stories more clearly than I could. Lots of them are real experts in their field of reporting about science, religion, business, economy, government, Supreme Court and City Hall. But I find darn few journalists have much expertise about guns. That is one reason I found the Washington Post project that I linked to so strong. It was real expertise that was backed up and underpinned by data. The data alone, without the reporting, would not have served me much new insight. Thanks, Erick, for taking the time to chime in (or is it chime up?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.knilands Robert Knilands

    Multiple issues are in play here. Just throwing the information out there was a bad idea. But the Tompkins-led Poynter cavalry seems eager to oppose attempts to try to report on these issues. Of course, those “concerns” are veiled in the usual ulterior motive of people needing to get the so-valuable training at the Poynter Institute.

    Even putting that belief aside, the demands here need to be placed on the other side, too. Al Tompkins mentions population density. The gun argument constantly sidesteps this issue. Clearly the alleged gun needs differ based on population density. Constitutional “intent” falls short here, as the document was written at a time when the largest cities were far smaller than today’s urban population.

  • Clinton Baller

    No. I’m not concerned. Strip away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hunter.john.92 Hunter John

    how private will the health records be when the government takes over healthcare?

    i am very concerned as a citizen living in a country where the government can hold its citizens without charge and without legal representation indefinently(NDAA-S.1867 Bill 93-7)

    where the government ignores the constitution.
    where the government tampers with the 2nd amendment.

    i am sure the 1st amendment wont be far behind……

    where citizens have to submit to strip searches in airports……….

    aren’t you concerned also?

  • Clinton Baller

    Al Tomkins, the author of this post, should be appointed to a commission that will review the First Amendment, with an eye toward limiting press freedom as it is done in so many European countries. Sarcasm? Not at all. There is information that is “public,” such as gun permits and marriage licenses, and there is information that is “private,” such as health records. If it is public, and we have Freedom of the Press in our nation, then have at it! Al seems to want to take “public” information and call it “private,” and then suggest that a constitutionally protected right to publish that information should be self-regulated. I suggest that Al ought to think more clearly on this subject, starting with his characterization of unquestionably PUBLIC information as private.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hunter.john.92 Hunter John

    Now, honest citizens will NOT register out of fear of being singled out.
    Career criminals would have paid good money for such a list ,where they could get names and address of gun owners.
    The criminals can save time and be more efficient knowing which houses will have guns for them to steal.I’m sure more ILLEGAL guns will be on the streets of new york now thanks to the “JOURNAL”.
    thank the “Journal” for saving the criminals time and money.they can use that free time to steal more effectively now.
    Please ask the “Journal” to publish lists of jewelry owners also……

  • Kaw_Liga

    In favor of the personal information being kept private.
    A permit holder has attended, and passed, a required class and a background check.
    Kentucky does NOT require any permit or registeration to OWN firearms.
    It is my understanding that a list containing ONLY name of permit holders may be released. But, no other personal information.
    L Albert in Kentucky

  • http://www.facebook.com/hunter.john.92 Hunter John

    marriage licenses,divorces,and bankruptcies are all printed in small print and buried deep within the paper. no one notices them and hardly anyone seeks them out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hunter.john.92 Hunter John

    i enjoyed this article and agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1289842787 Erik L. Nelson

    “Don’t just show us numbers, tell us what they mean, or we draw our own conclusions based on our own biases, which is dangerous.” This phrase struck a sour note with me. Are you saying journalists are better equipped to interpret data than the rest of us? In most cases, the opposite is true, in my humble opinion.

  • Kaw_Liga

    I am in favor of the lack of public access to addressd information.

    My nearby neighbors know of my gun ownership. I do not need this information being public to possibly target my home for a thief to come shopping.

    It is my understanding that a list of all names of permit holders in KY is available for release.
    No other personal information availabe to geneeral public.

    Of course law enforcement has access to all information.

    It is my understanding that when Kentucky Highway Patrol calls in license plate number for a traffic stop, officer will be advised if vehicle owneer had been issued a permit. (Have been tod, but I have not checked this.)
    Larry

    28.425b. License to carry concealed pistol; application; review of application; disclosure and disposition of medical records and personal identifying information accompanying application; material false statement by applicant; fees; verification of eligibility–(1) To obtain a license to carry a concealed pistol, an individual shall apply to the concealed weapon licensing board in the county in which that individual resides. The application shall be filed with the county clerk during the county clerk’s normal business hours. The application shall be on a form provided by the director of the department of state police and shall allow the applicant to designate whether the applicant seeks a temporary license. The application shall be signed under oath by the applicant. The oath shall be administered by the county clerk or his or her representative. The application shall contain all of the following information: (a) The applicant’s legal name and date of birth and the address of his or her primary residence. If the applicant resides in a city, village, or township that has a police department, the name of the police department.
    Information received under this subdivision is confidential, is not subject to disclosure under the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246, and shall not be disclosed to any person except for purposes of this act or for law enforcement purposes.

  • atompkins

    Harry I am not sure the evidence is zero, although I suspect you were using that for dramatic effect. Officer deaths are down in 2012 http://www.chron.com/news/article/Police-deaths-decline-in-2012-nationwide-4149042.php but goodness there are so many, you are right about that. Do me a favor and elaborate on what you consider to be my gun nut arguments. I do not wish to debate you as much as understand how you read what I wrote and what you took from it. Thanks for taking the time… al

  • atompkins

    L Albert, how do you feel about those permits even for concealed carry, not being fully public?

  • atompkins

    which point mcd

  • atompkins

    Jay, you raise a worthy point. But the fact is there is much in a courthouse, to use your analogy, that they do not print. They don’t list personal information contained in divorce proceedings, no juvie names, crime victim names are usually redacted, undercover police officers go unnamed and so on. So even in public records reporting, there are editorial decisions being made. I am not against all such lists. Restaurant inspections, OSHA and EPA records, water quality records, land transactions even bankruptcy notices seem essential to me. WHy? Because the speak to safety, health and money. The permits do not. They are a partial look at weapon ownership, which is not illegal. I am happy to kick this one around with you if you would find it useful. Others may too. Thanks for raising it Jay.

  • mcd410x

    As a gun owner, I think Al’s point is bogus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SCRAP.METAL.BOMB Pan Mckracken

    Oh look at all the comments by employees of the Paper!!! It’s ok, there is a map going viral that shows where all you assholes live…

  • Jay

    Going by this – newspapers should stop publishing land transactions, marriage licenses, divorces, bankruptcies. Isn’t the idea that the newspaper goes to the courthouse so the reader doesn’t have to? It’s information – it doesn’t have to be a story. Agreed, there are stories to be found – but sometimes people just want the information – not our boring stories so we can list the information anyway. I don’t know that I agree with printing the gun list – but the above column seems against all such lists. Local government spends more on salaries and benefits than anything. Some states even mandate their publication. Just because you print information about a conviction doesn’t mean the newspaper is condemning the person – just like listing a salary — it’s really just information.

  • http://twitter.com/DaniGamble7 Danielle Gamble

    I really appreciate the sentiment that is at the heart of this article — don’t publish it if it isn’t necessary. Isn’t that the same mindset we use at the copy desk?

  • Kaw_Liga

    Great column. Thanks for writing it. Maybe it will help some see another side to the story.

    Here in Kentucky there is a specific limitation to FOI disclosure relating to owners of Concealed Carry Deadly Weapon permit holders. IIRC only names of permit holders and no other information may be released. Permit has unusual name since it includes numerous other deadly weapons, in addition to firearms.

    Public vs Private

    Collect license plate numbers in parking lot of a church that has prohibition against consumption of alcohol. Collect license plate numbers in parking lot of liquor store parking lot. Publish matching numbers. Public information that was in full view. But, what public purpose in publishing it?

    L Albert in Kentucky

  • harryeagar

    Almost entirely delusional gun nut arguments. There is zero evidence that criminals are deterred by the idea that one of their targets is or may be armed.

    If you read a, you know, newspaper, you’d have seen many, many stories about cops getting shot — 2 in Kansas just this month.