Last week a newspaper up in New York created quite a stir as they decided to publish the names and addresses of all citizens who have handgun permits in two local counties.
Imagine the reasons, for a moment, that many in that particular neck of the woods would go to the trouble and expense of getting a gun permit.
Hey, good news Mr. Ex-Boyfriend Criminal Stalker. That cutie pie you scared into moving, and then getting a handgun permit so she could protect herself from you, she lives in Apartment 5-C, 1004 East Elm Street. Tell her we said “Hello!”
Everyone loves a reunion! Imagine the fun when a former gang member, who turned informant, gets reintroduced to his old buddies as they arrive at his 234 Smith Avenue residence next Halloween. Trick or Treat!
And the TV newscaster who was tormented by a deranged fan five years ago. His name is on the list as well, and looky loo, the special fanmail has already started arriving at his fashionable 651 Oakwood Drive condo. Goody goody!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the press has a right to publish such lists. They also have a right to stand on their head in a vat of cow poop. While neither can be defended as a particularly bright thing to do, as least the latter provides entertainment and, unlike the former, puts no one in harm’s way.
While there is a legitimate public interest in how many privately held handgun permits have been issued in a given area, one would be hard pressed to define the value in law-abiding citizens knowing exactly who those people are and exactly where they live. Of course, there are plenty of reasons for bad guys to want to see that list. According to police statistics, guns are the one of the most sought after items in a burglary, ranking only behind cash and jewelry in popularity.
Chances are if you have gone to the trouble to get a gun permit in NYC, you are going to have some valuable hardware to go with it. Thanks to the list, burglars now have a map to that booty.
Thank goodness right here in Georgia and South Carolina we have no such hideous permit requirements. Ironically, truth be known, in most southern homes where there are items worth stealing, there are guns to be found. Southerners love their guns.
One of the comments in support of the newspaper’s public outing of the permit holders came from a parent who proudly proclaimed, “The list is a great idea… my child will not be allowed to play in a house where guns are kept…”
Too bad the parent apparently allows his child to play in houses where he is so unfamiliar with the reputation and habits of the owners, that he must get such information on them from the media. How about walking over and introducing yourself to the people who occasionally host your child?
Perhaps you will find that the reason they have no guns in the house is that their four Rottweilers kept gnawing on the shoulder stocks. Or maybe there are no guns because there was so much caustic gas in the air from the illegal meth lab in the bathroom it was damaging the finishes on the barrels.
And of course, you can always find peace in the knowledge that your neighbor has no guns in his house, because as a convicted felon he is, by law, not allowed.
In this neck of the woods, you might have more reason to be suspicious of someone with no guns in their home.
While I am sure there were one or two exceptions to this rule, I swear I cannot think of one single home that I spent any amount of time in as a child that was not housing at least two or more, and in some cases many more, guns.
My house, the homes of both sets of grandparents, every aunt and uncle, every good friend, every neighbor, everybody had a gun.
So while I have no interest in seeing a list of my neighbors who have gun permits, I sure would love to see a list of my neighbors who are not allowed to have guns. And while you are at it, could you list those with criminal records, bankruptcies, school discipline issues (who wants their kid around bullies?), people with bad driving records, alcoholics, drug addicts, habitual residential code violators, loud people, people with dangerous pets, people with idiot kids, teenagers with high performance vehicles, and slobs.
Oh, and Muslims. (Or Jews, Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, etc.)
Everybody has a right to know who and what lives around them. But when it comes to issues that are not related to documented criminal activity and history, usually only a-holes asks for lists. You Might Also Like:
How About Publishing These Names?
Posted in Austin