New York’s Lower Hudson Valley Gun Owner Controversy, by the Numbers

Gun Owners in Three Counties Revealed by Newspaper

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The Westchester, N.Y., Journal News published the names and addresses of gun owners on its website Dec. 22. Less than a week later, Fox News notes the newspaper posted armed guards outside of its offices in West Nyack, N.Y. The reason for the armed guards is because several groups have used similar tactics to get back at the newspaper for what Republican state Sen. Greg Ball calls the media outlet's "virtual shopping list for criminals and nut jobs," according to Fox.

The numbers behind the story offer an interesting take on the continuing controversy.

50: The number of journalists who worked on the project in which an interactive map shows the names and locations of gun owners in three counties north of New York City. A blogger posted the names and addresses of some of the journalists, prompting the guards. The newspaper obtained the gun owner information through Freedom of Information Act requests.

10,000: The number of online subscribers to the Gannett newspaper. The Fox News piece reveals hackers claimed to have broken into the Journal News' online subscriber database. The hacker supposedly is publishing the names and addresses of those subscribers. The Rockland County Times, a competitor publication, also told Fox that revenue has increased due to "an influx of new subscribers who stated they canceled their subscription to the Journal News due to the gun story."

50.78: The number of percentage of people in an NPR public opinion poll who felt it was unfair of the newspaper to publish the addresses. There were 3,268 clicks saying the map and database was unfair versus 3,168 clicks (49.22 percent) that believed the newspaper did a "fair" thing.

6: The number of days, minimum, the Journal News hired armed guards at their West Nyack offices. The Rockland County Times reveals the armed guards were supplied by RGA Investigations from Dec. 28 through Wednesday, Jan. 2.

75: The number of Journal News advertisers identified by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association for possible boycotts. The list includes 33 national chains and 42 local businesses from car dealerships to craft stores.

5: The number of years in which gun owners are required to renew permits, according to the Journal News. The data and map includes historical data and current gun permits.

44,000: The number of handgun owners in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties. The Journal News reveals that's one out of every 23 residents in a three-county area.

11,000: The number of pistol permit holders in Putnam County, according to the Associated Press. Officials in Putnam County are considering legal options in the battle between public information and the newspaper's publication of the data.

William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics.

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