Well, it’s about time! According to the Associated Press, The Journal News has taken down the names of the gun owners and their addresses. AP says:
The suburban New York newspaper that outraged gun owners by posting the names and addresses of residents with handgun permits removed the information from its website Friday.
The Journal News took down the data just three days after the state enacted a gun control law that included privacy provisions for permit holders.
The provisions were a reaction to interactive maps the newspaper published on LoHud.com that pinpointed thousands of permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties.
Gun-rights activists had immediately complained that permit owners' privacy was being violated. They said the map could guide burglars to their homes while police groups claimed the map could lead ex-convicts to the officers who had put them away.
The addresses of some Journal News staffers were posted online, and threats were called in to the paper's offices. The newspaper hired armed guards in response.
Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group, said in an emailed statement, "While the new law does not require us to remove the data, we believe that doing so complies with its spirit."
She said the maps had been viewed nearly 1.2 million times since they were published Dec. 23. The newspaper sought the records under the state Freedom of Information Law after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The maps remained online late Friday but could no longer be manipulated to find names and addresses.
A call to state Sen. Greg Ball, the most vocal opponent of The Journal News' posting, was not immediately returned. A spokesman for Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who had also called for the data to be removed, said, "It's the right thing to do."
On Tuesday, as part of a gun control bill, the state Legislature passed and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed new regulations that give permit holders several ways to opt out of the public record.
Applicants can ask to be exempted because they are police officers, or served on a criminal-case jury, or are victims of domestic violence. They can also just say they might be subjected to harassment.
Hasson said Friday, "One of our core missions as a newspaper is to empower our readers with as much information as possible on the critical issues they face, and guns have certainly become a top issue since the massacre in nearby Newtown, Conn."
Although this new law doesn’t require them to take down this information, it is good to see that the publishers have finally come to their senses.