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Author Topic: National project by newspaper chain to publish list of gun owners in all states
Seneca
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This was a bit different from 3-D printing, so I thought it deserved its own discussion. Whatever your stance on gun ownership, everyone must admit that legal gun ownership is protected by the 2nd Amendment and nearly all state Constitutions. People who go through the trouble of lawfully trying to register their ability to own a firearm or in some areas register the firearm itself as well are upstanding citizens who are trying to follow the law. This tactic will simply discourage people from obtaining permits or registering firearms (in the few places where it is required) or obtaining them legally. Is that what we need?
This newspaper is attempting to take what happened in New York where gun owners were victimized and publicly shamed on the same level as sex offenders (these were the words that the offending newspaper used to justify their actions in that case, not their critics...) as well as set up for targets of burglary, harassment and discrimination.

quote:
A national newspaper chain with nearly 100 publications and 1.6 million readers is considering building “state-by-state databases” on concealed weapons permit holders, according to an internal e-mail.

The plan, laid out in an email from a top editor at North Carolina-based Civitas Media, could be similar to a controversial project a New York state newspaper carried out in 2012 which included an online map that identified gun owners in two counties by name and address. Civitas' database project was detailed the plan in a Jan. 19 e-mail to newsrooms in 11 states, including Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

The newest project "examines the explosion of ‘conceal and carry’ gun permits across the U.S.,” wrote Jim Lawitz, Civitas’ director of content, in an e-mail first obtained by the Buckeye Firearms Association. “Through public records act requests, we will attempt to build state-by-state databases that list those who have the right to carry a concealed weapon.”

"They’re saying they’re not going to publish the list, but once the list is compiled, what are they going to do with it?"
- Chad Baus, Buckeye Firearms Association

Lawitz downplayed the email when reached early Friday by FoxNews.com.

“In news organizations, a variety of ideas routinely are discussed, researched and planned, which may or may not result in published work,” Lawitz said. “Typically we do not publicly comment on internal proprietary communication. However, we have no plans to publish any lists or databases of people’s names on conceal and carry.”

Lawitz declined further comment.

Civitas Media, according to its website, employs more than 1,400 people and publishes 35 daily and 63 weekly publications for a combined circulation of more than 1.6 million.

Chad Baus, secretary of the Buckeye Firearms Association, told FoxNews.com he received the email from a confidential source within the company who was “concerned” about the media group’s plans. Whatever the intention behind the proposed databases, Baus said he wants the effort stopped.

“The goal is to raise awareness because each and every time a newspaper organization does this type of thing, the public reacts very strongly to it,” Baus said. “And yes, we do want it stopped. They’re saying they’re not going to publish the list, but once the list is compiled, what are they going to do with it?”

The database, if indeed created according to the internal email obtained by Baus, would be used to further “demonize gun owners,” he said.

“There’s no other purpose for creating these lists but to target and victimize gun owners,” Baus told FoxNews.com.

As a gun owner himself, Baus isn’t concerned with potentially becoming a target for would-be burglars, but others may not feel the same way, he said.

“There are many people who choose for that information not to be public, whether for employment reasons or family politics,” he said. “Many law-abiding people don’t want that information to be public.”

The New York project, by the Gannett-owned Journal News, angered Second Amendment advocates across the country, who said it was an effort to stigmatize legal gun owners. Some law enforcement officials also complained the interactive map, published with an article entitled "The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood," provided burglars with a roadmap of which homes to avoid and which ones to hit.

The newspaper nevertheless defended the decision to publish the material, obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.

"The massacre in Newtown remains top-of-mind for many of our readers," a statement said. "In the past week, conversation on our opinion pages and on our website, LoHud.com, has been keenly focused on gun control.

"Our readers are understandably interested to know about guns in their neighborhoods. We obtained the names and addresses of Westchester and Rockland residents who are licensed to own handguns through routine Freedom of Information law public-records requests."

Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for the Gun Owners of America, said he believes Civitas Media will ultimately publish the databases, despite Lawitz’s statement to FoxNews.com.

“Why would a newspaper chain go to the trouble of compiling a list if they had no interest in publishing it?” he said. “Isn’t that what newspapers do? It’s clear that this newspaper chain doesn’t intend to do [gun owners] good.”

National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the project serves no journalistic purpose.

“There is no legitimate need for any news organization to compile a list of law-abiding citizens who have concealed carry permits,” Arulanandam told FoxNews.com. “There are serious security concerns. For example, some people who have carry permits have stalkers and these news organizations are essentially providing a lighted pathway to the homes of these individuals.”

I'm curious how people who think this is OK would respond to a newspaper trying to compile a list of all known doctors who have ever performed an abortion and publish it, or a list of anyone who has ever applied for a permit to protest and publish it, etc.

Will the Newspaper simply publish the whole thing or charge a fee for anti-gun employers and career burglars to access their database? Inquiring minds want to know!

[ January 24, 2014, 01:28 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
This tactic will simply discourage people from obtaining permits or registering firearms (in the few places where it is required) or obtaining them legally. Is that what we need?
Are you telling me that some percentage of these responsible gun owners you've been bragging about for years will stop being responsible if the alternative is having their name in the paper?
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scifibum
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Be fair. Seneca only registered 1 year ago.
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TomDavidson
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You're right. I'm presuming data not in evidence. In my defense, it's been a long and tiresome year.
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D.W.
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quote:
Are you telling me that some percentage of these responsible gun owners you've been bragging about for years will stop being responsible if the alternative is having their name in the paper?
Some percentage,Yes.
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D.W.
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I'm both interested to see a pretty graphic showing all the weapons and shocked that this falls under freedom of information requests.

Statistics or Anonymous information (stripping out address and names) would be very useful for informing the public. Including personal data is dangerous.

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Seneca
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There is no way to just get location statistics unless the governments are already set up to do that. I know of no state that is. They just keep permit holders' applications on file and whether they were approved or not. In some states, this information is excluded from FOIA requests and deemed confidential, but zealous anti-gun activists within those governments are attempting to obfuscate those laws and try to get the information out and out of state so even if the action is deemed wrong, the state has no authority to stop the release of the info or get it back. One example of this is a recent attempt by Seattle city attorney Pete Holmes who attempted to get Washington state CPL information removed from FOIA exclusion while he was on the "sunshine committee" by attempting to snow-job the people there that the law was vague and it wasn't actually protected, even though the law has been interpreted that way for decades.

There is a rather humorous video of the hearing where this occurred where the state Senator on the committee threatened to de-fund it, shut the whole thing down and expel him if he continued. Here is the hearing, the relevant section starts at time index 49:55: http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2013031063

[ January 24, 2014, 02:22 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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PSRT
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quote:
Some percentage,Yes
I think that means that they aren't actually responsible gun owners.
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Seneca
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How about a same sex marriage database and published registry with names and addresses. Any objections to that? I can think of a few...
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D.W.
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quote:
I think that means that they aren't actually responsible gun owners.
As with the desperation of poverty, there are thresholds which make breaking the law seem trivial by comparison. They are no longer lawful gun owners. Are they being responsible? That's subjective not objective.
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D.W.
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There are a lot of situations where sharing information could be damaging. I don't see them as being equivalent to firearm registries.

Maybe a close second would be a list released that indicates all the pharmaceuticals people are prescribed.

Something that would both color opinions of people and be a target for theft.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
How about a same sex marriage database and published registry with names and addresses.
Those already exist. Marriages are matters of public record.
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Seneca
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I think we need a public database for everyone's medical history while we're at it. If you have a bum leg I need to know where you live to make sure you don't come near my property and try to trip on it and sue me. Also, if you have any mental health issues I need to know where you live as well for safety reasons.
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LetterRip
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I find it kind of amusing, the desire for open carry is to discourage 'bad guys', so by extension of that logic publishing the names of gun owners should further discourage bad guys since now they will know whose house to avoid.

Therefore by the above logic, this should increase the safety of gun owners by publishing their names. Since your professed intent in ownership is safety, and this should increase safety by your logic, then what is your objection?

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D.W.
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Publishing the number of lawful gun owners in an area WOULD discourage 'bad guys'. Publishing names and addresses would allow 'bad guys' to do 'bad things' preemptively.

I see no logic in your statement.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
Publishing the number of lawful gun owners in an area WOULD discourage 'bad guys'. Publishing names and addresses would allow 'bad guys' to do 'bad things' preemptively.

I see no logic in your statement.

Exactly.

There has already been one confirmed burglary connected to that map that was published in NY.

quote:
On Jan 13, New York State senator Gregory Ball announced that a burglary had been reported which appears to be a direct result of the Journal News' gun-owner-name-dump.
According to Sen. Ball's announcement, the burglar allegedly "used the Journal News' interactive gun map to target a home included on the map."
Said Sen. Ball: "The same elitist eggheads who use their editorial page to coddle terrorists and criminals are now treating law abiding citizens like level three sexual predators." To remedy this, he is pushing three separate pieces of legislation which protect inherent privacy rights of all citizens and also keep personal information of gun owners from being disclosed.
The Affiliated Police Association of Westchester County Inc., is also putting the Journal News on notice. They have made it clear that the newspaper and its owners will be held accountable for any crime against an Affiliated Police Association member if the crime can be tied to the Journal News' interactive map.


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LetterRip
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DW,

quote:
Publishing names and addresses would allow 'bad guys' to do 'bad things' preemptively.
How does this differ from OC? The logic has to be consistent either OC and knowledge of which households has guns both discourage bad guys; or they both give bad guys the opportunity to prepare.

Personally I think it is both. They discourage some would be bad guys - casual criminals who are looking for easy cash from easy marks, but they both encourage the bad guys that are the real problem - who see a gun as upping the value of the target.

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Seneca
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Last time I checked, no one who open carries walks around with their address and name and personal info printed on their shirt.
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D.W.
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Use Seneca's answer. I don't open carry.
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MattP
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quote:
There has already been one confirmed burglary connected to that map that was published in NY.
While I generally oppose any deliberate "outing" of people like this, whether legal or not, I had to chuckle at that. One of the arguments for greater gun ownership has been that it would dissuade would-be criminals because they couldn't be certain where they would encounter a gun owner, but here we have a case of someone going into a home specifically because it was known that the home contained a gun.
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D.W.
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Criminal decides he needs a gun. Criminal will never pass a background check to buy one in a gun shop. Criminal goes online, finds listing, picks one nearby. Criminal watches home and waits for occupants to leave. Criminal breaks into home, searches for and finds a gun. Criminal is now armed.

This scenario doesn’t occur to anyone who is trying to excuse the publishing of such information?

The failure to acknowledge or think of these scenarios coupled with some proposals rooted in misconceptions is why so many gun rights advocates mistrusts gun restriction proponents. We do them the courtesy of assuming duplicity rather than stupidity.

I realize that sounds rude. Couldn't see how to water it down though MattP. Sorry bout that.

[ January 24, 2014, 04:15 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
There has already been one confirmed burglary connected to that map that was published in NY.
While I generally oppose any deliberate "outing" of people like this, whether legal or not, I had to chuckle at that. One of the arguments for greater gun ownership has been that it would dissuade would-be criminals because they couldn't be certain where they would encounter a gun owner, but here we have a case of someone going into a home specifically because it was known that the home contained a gun.
Home sure, attacking a visible armed person? No. The burglar was most likely not anticipating that anyone would be home. Your logic is incorrect.
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MattP
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quote:
I realize that sounds rude. Couldn't see how to water it down though MattP. Sorry bout that.
I didn't feel like any of that was addressing me, so no offense taken. I was just amused in a distant, abstract way. Especially because of how often I've seen this particular meme: http://1.media.collegehumor.cvcdn.com/64/51/bb02ceac59aacc3d6b01c466012eaa38.jpg

Like I said, I don't support the publishing of the information.

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Seneca
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I've never seen that particular sign before. However, I do recall seeing a video investigation of anti-gun activists refusing to put "gun free zone" signs on their front lawn, with one not realizing he was on camera saying "well, it might make someone want to break in and rob me."
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D.W.
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It's a pretty old joke. Yet to see one in person though. [Smile]
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Seneca
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Much funnier: http://dailycaller.com/2013/01/15/james-okeefe-goofs-on-gun-grabbers/
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TomDavidson
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James O'Keefe has never been funny, I'm afraid.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Be fair. Seneca only registered 1 year ago.

Don't let the facts get in the way of Tom's arguments. [Big Grin]
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
There has already been one confirmed burglary connected to that map that was published in NY.
While I generally oppose any deliberate "outing" of people like this, whether legal or not, I had to chuckle at that. One of the arguments for greater gun ownership has been that it would dissuade would-be criminals because they couldn't be certain where they would encounter a gun owner, but here we have a case of someone going into a home specifically because it was known that the home contained a gun.
Since it's well known that burglars target homes to steal guns, the publishing of the list looks to me like solicitation to commit a crime.

It also validates longstanding NRA fears about governments compiling such lists in the first place.

But Matt, this doesn't invalidate the argument about uncertainty. Uncertainty over whether there's a gun, would deter burglars. Certainty, one way or the other, makes burglary more likely.

[ January 27, 2014, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Wayward Son
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Would it matter if the newspaper chain wouldn't publish the list of gun owners?
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Seneca
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They already did once before. Why wouldn't they do it again? They defended their previous publishing by comparing gun owners to sex offenders and saying both needed registries and public shaming.

[ January 27, 2014, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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D.W.
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quote:
It also validates longstanding NRA fears about governments compiling such lists in the first place.
Pete I think this is just concealed carry permits. They already HAVE this list. [Wink] Lost battle if it ever was one. NRA fears a list of owned weapons. No government list yet for the press to FIA out into the light of day.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
They already did once before. Why wouldn't they do it again?
1. It was not this newspaper chain, IIRC.

2. They said they wouldn't.

3. It's pretty much moot anyway, since obviously this is public information, and anyone who wants to compile such a list can do so if they have the time. There's nothing to stop some internet wacko from compiling his own list and publishing it.

Blaming the newspaper group is silly, since they have all ready said that they won't publish it. What needs to be done is change the laws so that no one can compile such a list.

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D.W.
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quote:
3. It's pretty much moot anyway, since obviously this is public information, and anyone who wants to compile such a list can do so if they have the time. There's nothing to stop some internet wacko from compiling his own list and publishing it.
In SOME states. Not public in MI. [Big Grin] Though nothing stopping someone from releasing it illegally I suppose...
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
quote:
It also validates longstanding NRA fears about governments compiling such lists in the first place.
Pete I think this is just concealed carry permits. They already HAVE this list. [Wink] Lost battle if it ever was one. NRA fears a list of owned weapons. No government list yet for the press to FIA out into the light of day.
Exactly. If this can be done for concealed carry, it could be done for lists of owned weapons, with even more devastating harm.
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D.W.
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THIS, can't be done (by the press) unless the states / fed manages to compile this list first is all I meant Pete.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
THIS, can't be done (by the press) unless the states / fed manages to compile this list first is all I meant Pete.

Exactly what I meant too. The publishing of the first list justifies NRA's argument against the feds compiling the second list.
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D.W.
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And here I thought the NRA was worried about the goverment having the list. The press having the list, and what they would do with it, is a much more recent concern.
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Pete at Home
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Here what the government did was release the list to the public. For what if not malice?
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D.W.
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Freedom of Information act ties the hands of the state. If state law did not specifically protect this information and exempt it from FIA requests, I don't think it requires malice. Just sloppiness or a belief, as stated by many here who would not accept the characterization as malice, that the public "has a right to know."

You'd know better than I Pete. The only law I know well tends to be related to accessibility routes and fire code in new construction. [Razz]

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