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Newspaper hires armed guards to patrol headquarters after releasing names of gun owners

Published time: January 02, 2013 20:24
Edited time: January 03, 2013 00:24
Reuters / Shannon Stapleton

Reuters / Shannon Stapleton

A New York State newspaper has hired an armed security team to patrol their headquarters in the aftermath of a controversial decision to publish the home addresses of every local gun owner.

The White Plains Journal News made international headlines during the holidays for publishing an interactive map on their website showing the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties outside of New York City. Now as the paper continues to experience a volatile backlash in the new year, they’ve hired a private security firm to control the building.

New City, NY’s RGA Investigations "is doing private security at on location at the Journal News as a result of the negative response to the article," claims the Rockland County Times, a competing paper from nearby Nanuet, N.Y. The guards "are armed and will be on site during business hours through at least January 2, 2013,” the Times writes.

For relying on weapons for their own protection, the Journal News is quickly being called out in the media.

“Guns are good for the goose but NOT for the gander,” Rockland County Times Editor in Chief Dylan Skriloff writes. Skriloff adds that local police have confirmed that News Journal Editor Caryn A. McBride raised concerns with the volume of “negative correspondence” the paper received after the late-December article.

Although all of the information compiled by the paper was in the public record, the backlash — almost instantaneously — involved verbal attacks against the Journal News and its editorial board for allegedly putting those very gun owners in harms’ way.

"Hundreds of callers have complained, claiming publication of the database put their safety at risk or violated their privacy. Others claimed publication was illegal. Many of the callers were vitriolic and some threatened members of the newspaper staff,” the Journal News reported after the piece went public. Today, however, Skriloff says police have found that no viable threats have actually been made against her outlet.

“The controversial use of the Freedom of Information Act to create the interactive map may come back to bite the Journal News and others who would prefer that pistol permits remain public record,” writes Skriloff, who adds his own, competing paper has received “an influx of new subscribers who stated they cancelled their subscription to the Journal News due to the gun story.”

Just days after the map was published, a blogger began collecting the home addresses of the paper’s entire editorial staff and eventually went live with an interactive map of his own that advertised the personal details of journalists should angry gun owners want to voice their grievances face-to-face.

In one entry to the blog, the author opens up as much information as publically available about the paper’s editor, CynDee Royle, arguably while crossing some lines.

“Miss Royle’s married name is Lambert. She lives in White Plains and here is her Facebook page complete with pictures of her and her kids,” the blogger says.

Although the local police have apparently not found any credible threat made against the Journal staff, they have nonetheless hired armed patrolman until the attention dies down, it would seem. Meanwhile, they say they aren’t done just yet trying to advance debate on gun control: officials in nearby Putnam County say they will not comply with the Journal News’ request for pistol permit holders there, but the paper is expected to appeal.

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