Outrage as newspaper publishes map with names and addresses of New York gun owners

Posted at 5:59 PM, Dec 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-27 18:07:14-05

(WESTCHESTER COUNTY) —  After telling PIX 11 News that there needs to be more talk  about “nut control,” State Senator Greg Ball on Thursday expressed his frustration over a controversial report on guns in the Journal News, the primary newspaper in Westchester County.

“It’s just absolutely ridiculous that the Journal News would do that and they’ve done a lot of boneheaded things in the past.”

What Ball is referring to is the paper’s request for pistol permit records in Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties.  All were filed via the Freedom of Information Act: “You know this isn’t the first time that this editorial board has done this,” said Ball prior to a youth hockey event in Brewster.

According to the report released days before Christmas, there are approximately 44,000 legal gun owners in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, which means that one  out of every 23 adults are licensed to own a handgun.  Then to provide an illustration, the paper pinpointed the locations where the guns were registered on Google Maps.  It is this act that has  Ball and others up in arms.

“To take these people who are just good tax-paying people and to put their names out there to basically create a Christmas wish list for any criminals or nut jobs that want to go door to door and take those weapons and to think that very private people are exposed in a very public way, this has to got to be made illegally.”

Which is why Ball, who represents all three counties in the report, plans to reintroduce proposed legislation to make the disclosure of such information illegal.

“This isn’t only about the second amendment, this is about privacy and it’s actually boneheaded for this editorial board to take law abiding firearm  owners and treat them no less than a level 3 sexual predator.”

PIX 11 News walked the streets of one family neighborhood in White Plains, knocking on the doors of those residences where a red dot indicated a gun was at that location.

We came up empty a few times, and  one woman who did not want to go on camera was upset that they popped on the map.

Meanwhile another woman Vicky, who did not want to provide  a last name, was startled to know that a number of neighbors around her had guns.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to have a gun in the house unless they’re with the military and it’s absolutely necessary.”

PIX 11 News put calls into the Journal News but did not hear back.

The PBA for Yonkers, the fourth largest city in the state and the biggest in Westchester County said that the report, “does more harm than good,” and it would have been more productive to see the addresses of those arrested for illegal gun possessions in the past.