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Outing Gun Owners: A Game Many Can Play

by Robert W. Hunnicutt   |  January 9th, 2013 9

Gawker is a website aimed at young liberal urban hipsters. Even though I’m old, rural, unhip and a proud member of what has been called the “hard gun right,” I look at it every day. That’s because it is a great place to see what people whose habits and ideals are 180 degrees from my own are thinking and talking about. It’s a sort of online Bizarro World where everything seems backwards and upside-down. One of its editors, while covering the Republican National Convention, proudly proclaimed, “everything these people believe, I mock.” It’s good to keep a close eye on people like that.

Today, Gawker published a list of New York City pistol permit holders, under a profanely disparaging headline I won’t reproduce here. This, it seems, was in support of the Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., which touched off a firestorm by publishing on its website an interactive map showing the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in Rockland and Westchester Counties.

Gawker’s point seems to be that permit information is by state law public, and indeed has been printed before in other forms. The idea that putting the same information in an interactive map might be a different matter doesn’t seem to resonate with the hip young editorial staff there.

So be it. The information’s out there, and if your name is part of it, you’re going to have to check the deadbolts and hope for the best. It can be a lesson to those in less benighted precincts that registration is a very, very bad thing, and not just because it makes it convenient for the government to find you.

What interested me more than the commentary was the list itself, which apparently occasioned no soul-searching by the Gawker staff, which is prone to characterize gun owners as essentially the cast of Deliverance.

If gun ownership is strictly the province of WASP inbred, how come we see names like Aleksandrivicius, Alhariri and Ashmawi? Bakoussis, Benfante and, yes, Bizarro. Chau, Chang and Chen are on there, too, along with Darwish, Dashefsky and De Loca. You get the picture. People of all ethnic groups have pistol permits in New York, not just toothless, knuckle-dragging white guys who read SHOTGUN NEWS.

My guess is that if the Gawker staff looked through the list, it was solely in hope of finding high-profile personalities to out as gun owners. That’s too bad. If they’d have looked closer, they might have had to ask themselves how many crimes in New York are prevented by guns in the hands of hard-working Greek café owners or Korean grocers.  Nah, couldn’t happen.

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