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It's a public record. The Journal News says neighbors have a right to know in case they feel insecure about living next to a gun owner. (Screen grab of the Journal News map)

Gun owners - outed in New York!

There it is - on the website of the Journal News, which covers New York's Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties. An interactive map with red dots, which you can click on to see the names of people with gun permits and where they live. Not the number and types of weapons, just that they have a permit.

It's a public record. The paper says neighbors have a right to know in case they feel insecure about living next to a gun owner.

I checked out a gun owner I know in Westchester, Sure enough - she has a permit. Which makes sense because I know her to be a law-abiding citizen.

That's the bottom line here - this is a map of law obeyers, not law breakers. Now - if I knew that a neighbor had guns, and saw there was NO red dot indicating a permit, that's what would worry me.

The newspaper's gotten flak from people worried that outing gun owners like this will just help bad guys steal guns. Maybe - if the bad guy could be sure the owner wasn't home. But it seems to me a crook would want to avoid the homes with the red dots, right?

As for how this might affect our current gun debate: When you look at the map of Westchester (where I grew up, by the way) and you see those 16,000 dots in just the one county - you realize gun confiscation is not going to happen. What you DO hope is that under the dot is a responsible gun owner who's been trained, who has a safe, and is in a good mood today.

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
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