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Don't Tell My Neighbors About My Firearm: Gun Owners

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(Article changed on December 27, 2012 at 20:32)


Once again, proud safe gun owners don't feel so proud and safe when their identities are revealed. This week's publication in the Journal News of the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in two New York counties has gun rights enthusiasts calling the news media what they are often called themselves: bullies.

Another Downtrodden Gun Owner by Martha Rosenberg

This is not the first time the issue has come up. The only thing the gun lobby loves more than the Second Amendment is an anonymous Second Amendment in which ownership is hidden and documents are sealed. Thanks to NRA lobbying, there is no automated central database of gun transactions with which to investigate gun crimes and get the "bad guys" the NRA always advocates apprehending.   Clerks at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives literally write records by hand, circa 1950, because the gun lobby says an automated database would "pose a threat to the Second Amendment." Retained background checks also pose a threat to the Second Amendment, so the NRA's 2010 Tiahrt amendment requires background checks be destroyed within 24 hours of approval including those of Jared Loughner (Tucson) and James Holmes (Aurora). Thank you NRA.

What Background Check? by Martha Rosenberg

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In 2011, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan tried to release the names of the 1.3 million people with Firearm Owners Identification cards (FOID) in the state, albeit without addresses, phone numbers or photos but she was blocked by the gun lobby. Madigan was "willfully" setting "citizens up as targets for crime by releasing their personal information to anyone who asks for it," said Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson as if firearms weren't weapons of"self defense. Chris Cox, then executive director of Illinois' NRA, repeated the charge that armed people were somehow potential "victims"--and wrote the newspaper that the decision was "dangerous."

Then and now it is hard to miss the irony. The same groups that declare no one would put a sign in front of their home saying NO GUN apparently also fear the opposite. In their paranoid worldview, criminals will target people because they have no firearms in the home or because they do. Let's buy guns to defend our guns! In addition to being afraid that criminals will steal their weapons (if government "gun grabbers" don't first) gun owners fear being stigmatized by their employers, neighbors, community, social groups and gun control advocates.

Since owning a firearm is legal, owners also resent the insinuation that they are somehow unsavory, like "registered sex offenders." Unfortunately when the Memphis Commercial Appeal   published a searchable base of state firearm permit holders in 2009, 70 of 154 state permit holders were unsavory types and had clear criminal records. One man, Bernard Avery, was arrested 25 times and had had a murder charge dismissed on mental competency yet still got a weapon permit. Another permit holder, Reginald Miller, was a felon who had 11 arrests. Oops.

As far as why neighbors should know if other neighbors are armed--one reason is that some parents don't want their children going into homes that have lethal weapons.   Many felt that way even before Sandy Hook.

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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In the Lithuanian outback unarmed farmers were bei... by Steven G. Erickson on Thursday, Dec 27, 2012 at 10:29:37 PM
It is an invitation to burglars looking for an opp... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 12:43:07 AM
One wonders if there has ever been an object in hu... by Jesse Sublett on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 11:36:15 AM
How is registering every gun sale and keeping list... by Stuart Chisholm on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 3:22:41 PM
Publishing this information brings you out of the ... by Tony Orlando on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 4:01:42 PM
Thanks for caring enough to write articles about w... by Tony Orlando on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 3:30:51 PM
If the newspaper published a list of people who ow... by Stuart Chisholm on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 3:39:57 PM
The addresses published by the newspaper were not ... by Stuart Chisholm on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 3:31:58 PM
When people buy guns, do they know that it makes t... by lwarman on Saturday, Dec 29, 2012 at 12:54:26 PM
Just like Jews with a yellow star, eh?   Yo... by Barry Hirsh on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 4:16:08 PM
A cop, go figure he supports guns and go figure he... by Tony Orlando on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 4:28:29 PM
There is so much to say here, it is not as as easy... by Tony Orlando on Friday, Dec 28, 2012 at 5:01:29 PM
..., I am willing to be flexible on the 2nd Amendm... by Tom Madison on Saturday, Dec 29, 2012 at 12:59:14 PM
What You Don't Know About the Agenda-Driven Journa... by Natalie Oberman on Sunday, Dec 30, 2012 at 4:13:34 PM