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Should the Names and Addresses of Gun Holders be Published?

In light of recent mass shootings, there have been many questions raised regarding gun laws.

New York’s Journal News took things to a new level recently in an effort to inform the public regarding how many people hold handgun permits as well as their exact geographic location. The Journal News published a map of two New York counties with the names and addresses of each individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun.

According to the Journal News, the map was created by obtaining the names and addresses of handgun permit holders through a Freedom of Information request, which is public record by New York state law.

Closer to home in Ohio, according to the National Rifle Association, a permit is not required to purchase shotguns or handguns. In the State of New York, a permit is required in order to purchase a handgun, but not a shotgun. These requirements vary by state. Additionally, having a permit to purchase a gun does not necessarily mean that a gun has actually been purchased.

Some argue that knowledge of names and addresses of gun holders being published is reassuring and can protect against future violence. Others contend that this is a dangerous move that provides criminals knowledge where “legal guns are kept.” Additional criticism is that gun owners’ privacy has been violated.

As a result of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, many states and municipalities are reassessing their gun control laws. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is considering new gun control measures such as “confiscation and mandatory sale to the state.”

Amid deep anti-gun sentiment across the country, Ohio Governor John Kasich is making a stance for gun rights. In December 2012, he signed into law a bill that would require Ohio residents to demonstrate competency with the weapon only once, rather than each time the permit expires. In addition, the bill will allow people without conceal carry licenses to carry loaded ammunition magazines in their vehicle, as long as they are stored in a separate compartment from the unloaded gun.

Would you feel safer if you knew the exact location of licensed handgun owners in Ohio? Or do you think this is unnecessary information that does more harm than good? Would you feel safer with stricter gun laws or more gun friendly laws?

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