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N.Y. Website Posts Map Of People With Gun Permits, Draws Criticism

Dec 26, 2012
Originally published on December 26, 2012 2:49 pm

The website of New York's Journal News newspapers has posted an interactive map showing the names and addresses of people with licenses to own handguns in three counties just to the north of New York City — Westchester, Rockland and Putnam.

The data show permits have been issued to "about 44,000 people ... one out of every 23 adults" in the counties, according to the Journal News.

It adds that:

"The database, legally obtained from the County Clerks' Offices through a Freedom of Information Act request made after the shootings in Sandy Hook, Conn., that left 20 children and eight adults [including the gunman] dead, has been called irresponsible, dangerous and leaning toward intimidation by online pundits."

Now, the Journal News says it is coming in for strong criticism. "Thousands of people, many from outside Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, have taken to their computers and phones in rage," it reports. The critics say the database is "irresponsible, dangerous and leaning toward intimidation by online pundits."

Scott F. Williams, 41, of Haddon Heights, N.J., "called the newspaper's decision to link to the database 'highly Orwellian.'

" 'The implications are mind-boggling,' he said. 'It's as if gun owners are sex offenders (and) to own a handgun risks exposure as if one is a sex offender. It's, in my mind, crazy.' "

According to the Journal News, the map has also "been recommended more than 20,000 times."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.