Click here for gun owners! Fury as NY paper shows where gun folk live

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

December 27, 2012 | 4 min read

A newspaper in an upmarket area of New York state has caused a storm by publishing an interactive map with the names and addresses of handgun permit owners in New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties.

The offending map, clickable in the paper's online version

Gun owners raged at the map published by the White Plains Journal News and the accompanying story. They felt it was "the liberal declaration of war they widely feared" following the Newtown massacre, said the Washington Post .

In retaliation, some conservative blogs published the names and home addresses of the paper’s publisher, Janet Hasson, and its reporters and editors.

One blogger’s headline“Merry Christmas, Eva Braun/Janet Hasson!” read . “So. You want to use your liberal rag to publish the names and addresses of legal conceal carry gun owners in your area? Okay. But don’t whine squeal like a little stuck Gestapo agent when the tables are turned, Ms Hasson.”

Angry Web reaction to even the most mild political stories is now par for the course in US journalism, said the Post.

The Journal News story went viral, in part because of links from conservative sites such as the Drudge Report, Memorandum.com, Breitbart.com and Instapundit.com.

The listings of the journalists also went viral, withhundreds of angry responses from gun owners already reeling from talk of resurrecting the assault weapons ban.

Next to be revealed was the home phone number and address of Gracia Martore, chief executive of the paper’s parent group, Gannett.

“House is loaded with highly valuable easily transprtable [sic] items,’’ a poster wrote on a Web site for assault rifle enthusiasts.

“As a promonent [sic] liberal from suburban D.C. she probably goes to a lot of well publisised [sic] funerals, during which her house would be empty.”

In a statement, Janet Hasson said, “Frequently, the work of journalists is not popular. One of our roles is to report publicly available information on timely issues, even when unpopular.

" We knew publication of the database (as well as the accompanying article providing context) would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings.”

Hasson would not say how much traffic the gun permit story drove to the site. But her paper followed up with a reaction piece, noting how “Social media played a big part in the exponential spread of the story” and suggesting that the reporters had been inundated with phone calls.

The piece quoted one caller, Scott F. Williams, a former Marine of New Jersey, as saying “It gets us all talking about gun control. That people are at a heightened concern makes sense to me.”

But he said the newspaper’s decision to link to the database was “highly Orwellian. The implications are mind-boggling,” he said. “It’s as if gun owners are sex offenders.”

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