Outrage after NY newspaper publishes gun holders' names, addresses

Retired White Plains police officer Phil Nobile's name and address was revealed when the Journal News published a map showing everyone who owned a handgun permit as a response to the Newtown tragedy.
CBS News

(CBS News) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Do you know who owns a gun in your neighborhood?

The Journal News in White Plains, N.Y. published an interactive map which showed handgun permit owners' names and addresses. CBS News

After the tragedy in Connecticut, a newspaper in suburban New York wanted to answer that question for its readers. It published a map -- marked with dots -- showing the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in the area.

That sparked a battle pitting First Amendment rights against the Second Amendment.

"I felt almost like a victim, like why is my name so easily accessed?" Phil Nobile said. "We're not criminals, and we did everything correctly."

Nobile is among the 20,000 legal gun permit holders identified by the Journal News. He's also a retired White Plains police officer.

"We're all concerned because we put a lot of bad people away," he said. "A lot of these people are looking for an easy way to get back at us, and they just made it a lot easier."

Newspaper officials said that the information is public, and they have the right to publish it.

N.Y. county aims to keep gun permits from paper
Paper hires armed guards after mapping gun permits

His friend, retired police detective Tony Ciaramella is also on the newspaper's online map.

"They have the right to publicize that, but how morally right is it what they did?" Ciaramella said. "Are you putting people's lives in danger? They didn't think of that."

The Journal News declined CBSNews.com's request for an interview. But publisher Janet Hasson said in a statement: "We felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings."

"Under the First Amendment they had every right to publish this information. After all, it was in the public record authorized by the New York state legislature," ," Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, said. He was the editor of the Journal News in the early 1990s.

But Ciaramella believes that information could be dangerous.

"I have to be real cautious now," Ciaramella said. "The Journal News has made life very tough for me at this point, you know, it's like I can't feel safe leaving the house at times."

The Journal News says it has received threats since its story was published. The paper has now posted armed guards at its offices.

  • Elaine Quijano
    Elaine Quijano

    Elaine Quijano was named a CBS News correspondent in January 2010. Quijano reports for "CBS This Morning" and the "CBS Evening News," and contributes across all CBS News platforms. She is based in New York.