Shocker: Notorious “Gun Map” Was 77% Inaccurate


The very premise of a newspaper printing a database of the home addresses of gun owners is offensive. It’s an affront to individual privacy, it puts people in danger and serves no public interest at all.

And, it seems, it was almost entirely inaccurate:

The newspaper map of one New York county’s pistol permits was riddled with problems, thanks to inaccurate data in official records, acknowledges the paper that published it. Just 3,907 of the 16,998 permit-holding households displayed on the Journal News‘ Rockland County map were current; the rest were classified as “historical,” with no updates in the past five years, explains Rockland’s county clerk. Some permits were issued as long ago as the 1930s; owners could have moved, ditched their guns, or died since then.

So how did the Journal News, which published the map, respond to this news? They blamed the gun owners for not updating their gun registration data more often even though the law only requires it to happen once every five years:

Until this month, only Westchester, Suffolk and Nassau counties required permits to be renewed every five years; New York City requires an update every three years.

Every other county in New York — including Rockland — issued permits that were good for a person’s lifetime, and though it was the responsibility of the permit holder to update his information, many simply did not, Piperato said.

Maybe some didn’t because they died. Or moved away. Regardless, wouldn’t good journalists have verified the accuracy of the data before they ran the story?

We can be happy that the map was mostly inaccurate, rendering its utility to criminals and others significantly diminished, but the apparent inaccuracy made this sorry chapter in American journalism even sorrier.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • mikemc1970

    What do liberals care if innocent people die needlessly for their brain dead causes. The end always justifies the means.

    • George Boosh

      STFU with lib bashing. I’m a liberal gun owner. Your generalizations are exactly what is wrong with the GOP.

      • Onslaught1066

        Liberal gun owner, eh?

        Apply directly to the forehead.

        Apply directly to the forehead.

        Apply directly to the forehead.

        Apply directly to the forehead.

        Apply directly to the forehead.

      • mikemc1970

        I can’t wait for them to throw you out on your @ss. I bet you thought identity politics only held towards racial minorities. How precious.

      • two_amber_lamps

        And if/when the libtard gun-grabbers finally get their wish, yours shall be the first guns sacrificed on the great alter of the bolshevik nanny state. Heil Obama!

  • SigFan

    It would be supremely ironic if some fool targeted a homeowner that by this map wasn’t supposed to be able to protect themselves – and, oops! He got a gun!

  • flamemeister

    I moved a couple of years ago & went in to change the address for my CC permit as one is supposed to do. They looked at me quizzically & said “Don’t worry about it.”

  • Thresherman

    It is indicative of the state of modern journalism that when they made a major mistake in getting the facts straight, they blame others rather than their failure to properly edit their work. But what really is at play here is that we are not really talking about journalism but political propaganda and in that sphere truth and facts hardly have a role, so editing to get that right fails to matter very much.

  • yy4u2

    I bet that five year rule is adhered to religiously by criminals. Another law to see who has guns and where to get them should the powers that be feel the once innocent should no longer possess them.

  • cylde

    So some of the burglars using the map to find high value guns to steal were sent to the wrong house. I am sure the victims will forgive them for their mistake. After all that is the democrats goal to take guns away from law abiding people, and get them into the hands of criminals is politically correct.

  • George Boosh

    The first time ANY of those houses are robbed, the newspaper will be sued, if it hasn’t occurred already.