The gun owner next door

Is it in your best interest to know which of your neighbors has a gun in the house? Does it violate the privacy of gun owners?

New York’s Journal News has posted an interactive map showing the location of all gun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties, north of New York City.

My information “should be absolutely private,” said Triglianos, who is licensed to carry firearms and owns an AR-15 rifle, the same model of gun used in the Newtown massacre. “Why do my neighbors need to know that? I am not a threat to my neighbors. I don’t pose a physical threat to anyone.”

He’s got some support in surprising place, according to an accompanying article.

The comments section of the paper is worth reading. “I’d rather have a gun owner as my neighbor then a journalist, one is far more responsible then the other,” says one commenter.

“It’s not necessary for people to know who has what,” said Daniel Friedman, a Ramapo councilman and author of the book, “Saving Our Children: An In-Depth Look at Gun Violence in Our Nation and Our Schools.” “I think we need to balance people’s right to privacy with people’s right to safety and people’s right to legitimately own guns.”

The newspaper didn’t do anything illegal in creating the map. All of the data was available using a Freedom of Information request.

But NPR says the move has generated significant pushback against the paper.

And the journalism site, Poynter, says some gun owners and bloggers responded by posting names, home addresses and phone numbers of the paper’s publishers and the reporter who wrote the story.

Poynter’s Al Tompkins seemed perplexed over why a paper would do such a thing.

“I hope any journalist who does this is willing to be accessible and responsive. If it is unfettered openness you want, you jolly well better set the example,” he said.

The reporter of the story owns a .357.