The Gannett-owned newspaper that caused a stir by printing the personal information of registered gun owners in New York’s Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties has discovered that it’s no fun having your personal information exposed to the entire world.
Responding to a national backlash over their decision to publish an interactive map with the names and addresses of registered gun owners, the editorial staff at Gannett’s Journal News has hired armed guards to watch over their building.
“A Clarkstown police report issued on December 28, 2012, confirmed that The Journal News has hired armed security guards from New City-based RGA Investigations and that they are manning the newspaper’s Rockland County headquarters … through at least tomorrow, Wednesday, January 2, 2013,” the County Times reports.
Journal News Rockland Editor Caryn A. McBride said she was genuinely surprised to discover that publishing a map with the names and addresses of gun owners would result in “negative correspondence,” that is, an “avalanche” of angry phone calls and emails, police reports note.
“Due to apparent safety concerns, the newspaper then decided to hire RGA Investigations to provide armed personnel to man the location,” the County Times report adds.
But even though they’ve successfully outraged thousands of private citizens, there have been no problems reported at the Journal News headquarters “despite the massive influx of phone calls and emails,” Private investigator Richard Ayoob told the Clarkstown Police Friday.
“McBride had filed at least two reports with the Clarkstown Police Department due to perceived threats. However, the police did not find the communications in question actually threatening,” the report adds. “Incident-Report 2012-00033099 describes McBride telling police she was worried because an email writer wondered ‘what McBride would get in her mail now.’”
The email did not “constitute an offense” and didn’t have an actual threat, police said.
It all started after Journal News decided to publish a map with the names and addresses of legal gun owners in two New York counties.
The map was included in an article entitled “The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood,” that was released shortly after a shooting spree in Newtown, Conn., claimed 26 lives, including 20 children.
“Some 44,000 people are licensed to own pistols in the three counties, the newspaper said. Owners of rifles and shotguns do not need permits,” Reuters notes.
And even after a pro-Second Amendment blogger retaliated by publishing the personal information of Journal News staffers, the Gannet newspaper decided to double down and release even more personal information on New York permit holders.
“Further names and addresses will be added as they become available to a map originally published on December 24 in the White Plains, New York-based Journal News,” the newspaper announced last week.
Sen. Greg Ball (R-N.Y.) has announced plans to introduce legislation that would keep the names and addresses of gun owners private except to law enforcement.
“The asinine editors at the Journal News have once again gone out of their way to place a virtual scarlet letter on law abiding firearm owners throughout the region,” the senator’s website reads.
No word yet on whether Journal News plans to release the names and addresses of its armed guards.
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Featured image courtesy AP.