Guns and Gear

Map of New York gun owners’ addresses was inaccurate, newspaper admits

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Robby Soave Reporter
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The newspaper that created an online map showing the addresses of gun permit holders in New York admitted earlier this week that thousands of addresses on the map belonged to people who didn’t actually own guns.

After The Journal News used publicly available government records of gun permit holders in Rockland and Westchester, New York to create the interactive online map, many people complained to the newspaper that their addresses appeared on the map even though they did not own guns.

“Nobody ever called and verified the address,” said Mike Smith, whose address appeared on the map because his brother-in-law used it without permission when applying for a permit. “Could somebody else use my address?”  (RELATED: Slate publishes gun-death map)

While the map lists the addresses of nearly 17,000 permit holders in Rockland, only about 4,000 of them were up-to-date, according to County Clerk Paul Piperato. That’s because Rockland, like most counties in the state, doesn’t require gun owners to renew their permits. Many of the addresses on the map belonged to permit holders who had died or moved away.

The inaccuracy of the information is the latest criticism of The Journal News’ map, which already earned a considerable backlash from supporters of both gun and privacy rights. Some have argued that the map endangered the lives of Rockland and Westchester residents who don’t own guns, telling criminals exactly which homes to avoid targeting.

The Journal News took down the specific addresses, but still maintains a map showing the density of gun permits in given areas.

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Robby Soave