Posted: January 17th, 2013

Should the names of gun owners be disclosed?

Legislators in New York state and the governor think not. The state law that passed this week will prohibit the disclosure of gun owners names, which has sparked some debate about freedom of information as well as the public’s right to know.

According to Poynter.org, “In response to a controversy that erupted after The Journal News, a daily newspaper, published the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland (New York) Counties, the legislation would prohibit disclosure of the names in the new statewide gun-registration database, and would allow individuals to exempt their own names and addresses from being disclosed by counties that have such databases.”

The Poynter Institute is a journalism school and the website acts as a sort of journalism think tank. The decision by The Journal News to create a database that published the names and addresses of handgun owners has been criticized not only by the public, some politicians and the gun owners themselves, but by other newspapers and the Poynter Institute as well.

But should it have resulted in the caveat in the legislation to keep handgun ownership secret?

Some say as long as it doesn’t jeopardize law enforcement efforts and safety. Others say the change is taking New York down a slippery slope that won’t end with gun owners.

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