It was bad enough that a New York newspaper published the names and addresses of thousands of New York’s legal gun owners putting many of them in danger, but now it has been discovered that much of the information on the map was wildly inaccurate. Worse, the Journal News didn’t make any effort to verify the information it published.
When the Journal News posted the interactive, Internet map it was supposed to reveal the names and addresses of thousands of legal gun owners in the county in which the paper is published and that it did. But as it happens, the information provided by the county also contains much data that is years out of date.
As both Instapundit and HotAir reported on Tuesday, the gun permit holder information that Rockland County supplied to the paper is filled with addresses and names of people who may no longer even be among the living.
The Journal News was forced to admit this week that only some 3,907 of the nearly 17,000 names and address it published were current permit holders. The rest are what the county terms “historical” permit holders, many that have been on the books for years, sometimes decades. Some permit holder names even go as far back as the 1930s.
Gun permit holders in New York are supposed to update county records when they move and when a permit holder passes away, the family is supposed to report that to authorities so that information can be updated in county records. However, few gun owners ever follow up with these changes. As a result, many of the names and addresses on the Journal News map were of deceased permit holders, permit holders who have moved away, or those who no longer own guns or have let permits lapse.
Until recently, many counties in New York had issued permits that were good for the holder’s lifetime with no renewal period. New laws will require permit holders to renew their permits every five years.
After the Journal News posted its map of gun owners, a rash of burglaries tied to the map broke out putting homeowners and gun owners in danger. But if many of the addresses on the map were of homes where no guns exist because the information was out of date, that means thousands of homeowners were put in danger by the newspaper and didn’t even have the means to protect themselves.
With its map, the Journal News put thousands of gun owners at risk, but by not bothering to verify any of the information it published, the paper also put many more thousands of defenseless homeowners in danger. As Ed Morrissey says, the Journal News should dump the cheap activism and actually start producing journalism and objective news reporting.