“The hatred was intense,” notes Glenn Reynolds in USA Today, referring to the backlash against gun owners and gun rights advocates in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. “Nor were reporters, who are supposed to be neutral, much better.”
Threats against the NRA, and NRA members, have been a common theme since Adam Lanza murdered those kids, and it is in that context that a Gannet-owned newspaper in Connecticut took it upon itself to publish an interactive map showing the home addresses of registered gun owners in the paper’s region.
“Anyone can find out the names and addresses of handgun owners in any county with a simple Freedom of Information Law request,” explains the newspaper in their report accompanying the map, “and the state’s top public records expert told The Journal News last week that he thinks the law does not bar the release of other details.”
Gun owners, as a group, are people who take self-defense pretty seriously and so by definition are a bit less vulnerable than your average citizen. Even so, it is extremely irresponsible to pour this information into what has become a charged and ugly debate over gun ownership.
With threats being leveled against gun owners and gun rights advocates, this newspaper publishes the home addresses of registered gun owners? What’s next, publishing a database of registered Republicans or Democrats after a tough election loss so that they can be targeted for political reprisals? No newspaper would do that, but setting gun owners out as a target apparently doesn’t seem nearly so problematic to the oh-so-objective professionals in the mainstream media.
Let’s hope nobody is harmed or murdered as a result.