February 27, 2013

Arkansas Business | Gawker

“I was stupid. Also naïve,” Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz writes about her decision to post, then take down, a list of Arkansas concealed carry permit holders’ names and ZIP codes.

After she posted the list “my name, my husband’s name, home address, phone and work phone numbers and pictures of my house — from the same Pulaski County tax records that Arkansas Business regularly mines for news — were posted all over the Internet,” Moritz writes.

Our home phone began ringing constantly, silenced only when we unplugged it in order to go to sleep. (This may be the prompt I needed to finally get rid of that landline.) My work email address filled up with requests, complaints, insults, veiled threats and, yes, quite a few messages of thanks and appreciation.

Moritz says it was “never my intention to make people who already live in fear more miserable” and that she hadn’t “received any actual death threats, not even from the people who thought it was a proportional response to posts directions to my house on the Internet.”

This remarkable fact underscores a point that gun aficionados have tried to make until they are blue in the face: They are not criminals. They posted my personal information all over the Internet in hopes that I would feel as vulnerable and exposed to criminals as they do. They seek to intimidate me as they feel they have been intimidated, to bully me in response to what they see as my bullying. They might think I deserve to become the target of crime because they feel I have made them targets. But the people who are angry with me do not seem to want to hurt me, because they truly see themselves as the good guys with guns. This, I think, may be the most valuable lesson I can share with the people who are concerned about my safety.

Reporting for Gawker, Sergio Hernandez found that the NRA, gun-rights groups and politicians often request gun-owner data “for their own political and fundraising gain.” Hernandez lists every person who’s made a gun-data request in Arkansas, Virginia, Tennessee, Maine, Kentucky, Louisiana and Michigan since 2003.

Related: FBI investigates threats against professor after NYT quoted him about gun map | Citing Journal News map, Arkansas senate passes stricter gun-records bill | NC editor resigns after rescinding request for gun records (Jim Romenesko)

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
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