The Journal News submitted Freedom of Information requests for the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties. It used Google Maps to pinpoint specific locations and included the names and addresses of permit holders.With all due respect to Alex Jones, rather than invading the privacy of gun owners,* the Journal News has done them a massive favor. I would be thankful to have my name on such a list and might even write the Journal News a little thank you note. Why? The "animosity of officialdom" is certainly not the reason.** Rather, the Journal News has provided criminals with a wonderful interactive tool for locating potential targets, and due to my inclusion on the list, I am less likely to be one of them.
The Gannett owned newspaper did not specify a reason for invading the privacy of handgun owners. However, considering the animosity of officialdom in the state toward the Second Amendment and the right to own firearms, the reason for outing legal handgun owners should be obvious.
Imagine you're a commission-only employee of a start-up removing company,*** looking for new customers in an exclusive Putnam County neighborhood. The street is dark and quiet as your van rolls up in front of two McMansions, side by side. House A and House B have the same ornately-manicured lawn, the same tear-shaped pool in the back, the same Audi parked in the driveway. In fact, there is really only one distinction between them - House A has three people living at that address who are licensed to carry pistols, which you know from the interactive Journal News app on your stolen iPhone. These three people have undergone shooter training, paid innumerable fees, and jumped through all manner of bureaucratic hoops in order to carry a handgun. A quick double-check confirms that the folks living in House B are not on the Journal News list.
In the past, choosing between such similar houses has been difficult and even dangerous. However, thanks to the Journal News, the decision is now easy. After you are finished robbing House B and raping or killing whomever you found in it, you should send them a nice thank you card for making your job safer and your company more successful. After all, providing accurate information that reduces the uncertainty inherent in running a small business is surely one of the more valuable services the press can provide.
* Any time you sign up for a government license, you have (or should have) no expectation of privacy in the transaction. Getting a pistol license is no more private than getting a drivers license or a marriage license.
** They already know who's on the list for the simple reason that it's their list.
*** Those being the people who break into homes and remove valuables.