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article imageGawker publishes names of all 'a**h**e' gun owners in NYC

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 9, 2013 in Internet
Online news outlet Gawker raised the stakes in the controversy over Journal News' publication of an interactive map listing addresses of handgun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties by publishing the data of all licensed gun owners in NYC.
Gawker writer John Cook, refers to what he describes as a weird reaction from Ann Coulter when she told Fox News' Sean Hannity: "If we're producing lists of gun permit owners, I want them for Manhattan. I want to know how many rich liberals with their body guards have gun permits." He reacts to Coulter's "weird reaction" with the message: "You're in luck, Ann. I happened to have just such a list in my filing cabinet. Here it is."
The website presents a 446-page list of every licensed gun owner in New York City, obtained from the NYPD two-and-a-half years ago via a Freedom of Information Law request. According to Gawker, because NYPD "is more interested in raping and/or eating ladies and spying on Muslims than it is in honoring public records law, the list contains only the names, and not the addresses, of the licensees."
The website, however, refers to section 400.000 of the Penal Law of New York, entitled "Licenses to carry, possess, repair and dispose of firearms," that states: "The name and address of any person to whom an application for any license has been granted shall be a public record."
Beware, these guys 'pack heat'
Gawker, commenting on the uncertainty arising from the absence of addresses of the licensees in the NYPD list, said: "Fox News chief Roger Ailes, his mouthpiece Sean Hannity, Howard Stern, Don Imus, Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and Estee Lauder heir Ron Lauder appear to have permits to carry or own guns in the city—though the lack of addresses makes it difficult to verify that it's Howard Stern the radio personality as opposed to Howard Stern the accountant from Queens."
Cook then addresses Coulter, cynically: "If you want to have an intern scour it for 'liberals,' Ann, have at it."
Gawker speculates that Putnam County, N.Y. has been refusing to hand over permit data for Putnam County, N.Y. as requested by Journal News because one of the names on the list is Ailes' who has a home in the county. The website accuses Putnam County of flouting the law with the backing of state Senator Greg Ball, "a close ally of Ailes."
Gawker also reveals that the names of 1.2 million New Yorkers licensed to own handguns and the addresses of 300,000 of them have been available online for more than two years. According to Gawker, the databases listing all the handgun owners were initially posted online, anonymously, to a website called Who's Parking NY, in August 2010, but the website, for undisclosed reasons, is no longer up. But another website that replicates the data is up and working and may be viewed here.
Gawker explains that the New York state police provided the list of gun owners in two spreadsheets. The first called "new system" and the other called "old system." Only the "new system" data has addresses of the gun owners which include Ailes's and Hannity's. The website reveals that former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack also "packs heat."
Gawker explains that the NYPD's list consists of five categories of licenses:
"PR," or premises license, allows you to keep a gun in your home or business but no where else; "CB," or carry business—which Ailes has—allows you to carry it on your person; "CG," or carry guard, is for security guards; "SC," or special carry, is for businesses to let various qualified employees carry guns, and "CL," or limited carry business, is a carry business license with special restrictions.)
The website points out the irony in the fact that while many of the Rockland County and Westchester County gun owners were outraged at having their addresses published by Journal News, the information has been on Internet for many years without any consequences.
Gawker concludes: "And if anyone wanted to really stir some sh*t up, they'd grab those Who's Packing databases and throw them up on Google Maps."
The website, however, concedes that not all the gun owners on the list are "a**h*l*s," because "Some of them need guns for legitimate reasons for their jobs, like providing security for a**h*l*s."
Death threats
The Daily Mail reports that Gawker says it received the first death threats within an hour after it published the list. According to the Daily mail, one caller said: "You're f****** dead." Another caller reportedly told a female employee that "she better have protection when she left her workplace.
The site owners say they have contacted police about the threats.
Gawker raises the stakes
The action has further heightened the debate over whether the decision to publish names of gun permit holders is prudent. The debate now rages on Gawker.
According to a commenter, K-leigh: "The journal posted my address and name for my gun ownership. My past stalker saw this. I haven't heard from him in two years, because I disappeared. Now he is back and calling me... thanks to people like you bunch of a*******, looks like I will have to protect myself from becoming a murder victim. Gracias."
Another comment said: "Don't really understand the negative replies to this. It's public information that apparently the majority of New Yorkers didn't know was available that EVERY person who signed up for the permit knew was public info. Unless we're all going on the premise that if people know you own a gun you are less safe. Which if true pretty much defeats the entire non-sporting reason for owning one, doesn't it?"
Digital Journal reports that the entire controversy began when Journal News ( owned by Gannet, published an interactive map listing the names and addresses of every Licensed Pistol Permit holder in New York's Westchester and Rockland counties. The interactive map allows readers to zoom in on a location and have a gun owner's first, last names and address appear on a pop-up. The website obtained the information after it submitted a Freedom of Information request under the FOIA.
While some critics retaliated by posting addresses and other personal information of Journal News reporters and editors online, others responded with threats in a hail of angry emails and phone calls, forcing the paper to hire armed guards at its headquarters in West Nyack.
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