Hubris or stupidity? Probably both.
A suburban New York newspaper that sparked an uproar among gun enthusiasts by publishing names and addresses of residents holding pistol permits is now planning to publish even more identities of permit-toting locals.
Further names and addresses will be added as they become available to a map originally published on December 24 in the White Plains, New York-based Journal News, the newspaper said.
The original map listed thousands of pistol permit holders in suburban Westchester and Rockland counties just north of New York City.
Along with an article entitled "The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood," the map was compiled in response to the December 14 shooting deaths of 26 children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut, editors of the Gannett Corp.-owned newspaper said.
The next batch of names will be permit holders in suburban Putnam County, New York, where the county clerk told the newspaper it is still compiling information.
Some 44,000 people are licensed to own pistols in the three counties, the newspaper said. Owners of rifles and shotguns do not need permits, the newspaper said.
The publication prompted outrage, particularly on social media sites, among gun owners.
"Do you fools realize that you also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob that have no guns in them to protect themselves?" Rob Seubert of Silver Spring, Maryland, posted on the newspaper's web site. "What a bunch of liberal boobs you all are."
There has been a lot of back and forth about whether this is illegal or not. Since the information is publicly available, it may be legal to publish it. In order to prosecute, however, you would need a district attorney willing to do it.
Efforts are underway to keep permit holder's information private. But it will be too late for the residents of Putnam County and elsewhere in New York where an irresponsible newspaper editor is putting people's lives at risk.