In the aftermath of the shootings at Newtown, Conn., a New York newspaper published the names and addresses of all gun permit holders in Westland and Rochester counties.
The names and address were published by The Journal News on Dec. 24 in an article on their website. The article includes an interactive map that allows readers to view who owns a gun in both Westland and Rochester counties. The newspaper’s decision to publish this information has received harsh criticism across the country.
The paper’s publisher, Janet Hasson, defended her decision to release the names because she said it was her company’s job to report public information on timely issues.
Even though it is a journalist’s job to inform the public, I think Hasson may have overstepped the boundary between her duty to report and the citizens’ right to privacy. Legal gun permit holders aren’t registered sex offenders, and their identity doesn’t need to put on display for the entire world to see.
Almost nothing positive can come from Hasson’s careless decision to reveal this information. All it does it give criminals a gigantic mapping tool to help them identify which homeowners have guns. I’ll be very interested to see the percentage increase in home robberies in Westland and Rochester counties in 2013.
I know it sounds harsh, but I believe Hasson should be fired for such a careless and irresponsible decision. She abused her power as a journalist and published controversial information with reckless disregard. The consequences of her actions are going to pose a threat to many innocent people who merely own a gun for self-defense or sporting purposes and an even bigger threat to those without a registered gun.
Just as one of the comments in the CNN article suggest, perhaps The Journal News could spend their time more wisely and search for the illegal guns in these two counties instead of putting law abiding citizens at risk.