In a piece titled, "The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood," the Journal News requested the names and adresses of local residents who are licensed to own handguns through Freedom of Information Law requests. The paper requested information from Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties. The paper was only given the names and addresses of those who have a license to own a handgun. The paper was denied its requests for the amount and type of guns owned by those who have licenses. Putnam County was still working on the request and has not yet released information to the Journal News.
The article includes an interactive map of Westchester and Rockland counties that allows readers to view those who have a license to own handguns around them.
The article also has an editor's note attached to it describing the type of gun the journalist who wrote the article owns. "Journal News reporter Dwight R. Worley owns a Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Magnum and has had a residence permit in New York City for that weapon since February 2011," it states.
Some critics felt the Journal News article put people in danger. "Do you fools realize that you also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob that have no guns in them to protect themselves? What a bunch of liberal boobs you all are," one commenter wrote on the newspaper's website. Others worried that the names would expose law enforcement officials. "You have judges, policemen, retired policemen, FBI agents — they have permits. Once you allow the public to see where they live, that puts them in harm’s way," Paul Piperato, the Rockland county clerk, told Journal News reporter Worley.
ABC News reached out to the Journal News for a statement. The paper told ABC that its readers "are understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods," after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The Journal News is owned by Gannett.
Blogger Christopher Fountain Hits Back Against Gun Owners' Map, Publishes Addresses Of Journal News Staff
Blogger Christopher Fountain retaliated against a New York newspaper, which recently published the addresses of local gun owners, by publishing the addresses and phone numbers of the newspaper's staff.
The Journal News published the names and addresses of legal gun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties. The paper has been criticized for allegedly putting people in danger.
On Monday, Fountain began publishing the names, addresses and contact information of the newspaper's publisher and editor, and staff members who worked on the gun owners' map. Readers came up with information for other staff members, and Fountain listed those employees as well.
The blogger explained why he did it, speaking on CNN Thursday. "Somehow, [The Journal News was] conflating legal gun owners with some crazed, tormented devil up in Newtown and putting the two together," he alleged. "And I was offended by that and I wondered how they'd like it if their addresses were published."
Journal News publisher Janet Hanson has defended the newspaper's gun map, saying that the information was "important" in the aftermath of the Newtown shooting.
Fountain disagreed on Thursday, and argued that she could have published the number of gun permits in the counties instead. “But the fact that they put the addresses — I’ve received emails from abused women who were under protective order and in hiding, and they’re terribly afraid that now their names and addresses are all over the Internet and accessible through that map,” he said.