The shocking reports of 20 children and 8 people being shot dead by an armed 20-year-old Adam Lanza chronicle some of the deadliest mass shootings in the history of school massacres in the United States. The topic of mass shootings has clouded controversy on gun safety laws and the idea of encouraging members of the public to purchase firearms. Although the concept of self-protection is important in this debate, the topic of public safety must be prioritized. As witnessed in the case of Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, the lone shooter had more than enough time to massacre the children before any rescue team arrived. Astonishingly, days after the shooting occurred, a survey conducted to establish the information the members of the public had concerning law and knowledge those own the guns showed that public had little information and those who owned the guns wanted it to remain private. From the case it is apparent that the issue of invasion of privacy surface the argument of publicizing and the mapping the names of handgun owners; thus, the need for evaluation of the importance of such knowledge and how it can be used to control cases of guns getting into wrong hands and ending up in unwarranted killings.
The concept of publishing and mapping the names of those with handguns and their addresses is simply meant to keep the public and the government alert. With such information, vigilance is maintained especially among the members of the public who better understand the behaviors of their neighbors. As noted during the police interrogation of Adam’s brother, Adam was mentally disabled (McCathy “The Guardian” 2014). Unfortunately, the fact that the public did not have information regarding the family of Adam owning a gun; they did not anticipate any case of Adam carrying a gun and killing other people including his mother.
In light to publishing information regarding those who own guns, as much as it seems like a violation of privacy, I think this information should be put into the public domain. Having such information puts members of the public on the lookout. But again it pinpoints to potential criminals those who are not armed and ready for an attack which is not goods (Haughney, “New York Times” 2013). Hence, as for me I would have let the public access the information and assume that the government should assume its full responsibility of protecting the citizens who do not own handguns.
Furthermore, I believe that the publication was justified because the survey indicated that majority of the people did not have the information. Publicly displaying the information created the necessary awareness among the members of the public and raised the vigilance among the police force. Such awareness will help in averting possible future cases of mass killing especially those associated with mental illnesses since the neighbors will always be on the lookout. As noted by Maas and Levs (“CNN” 2012), guns kill more than they protect; thus, people must be protected through having the information necessary for their outlook.
Additionally, the publication did not violate the privacy of people since as the law requires the information was still available for the members of the public. It is only that majority of the people were not aware of the availability of the information. Through publicly publishing the information online, the hope was that the people would be aware of those with the guns and monitor any unusual behaviors that might result to endangering the other members of the public.
Conclusively, information is power and getting the information to the members of the public was an essential part of empowering them in recognizing potentials of dangers within their surroundings. The notion of privacy violation does not hold much strength when compared to putting people at risk of those who are legally allowed to own guns. The people deserve to know them to avoid any cases of getting caught up in a situation that might lead to violence. Furthermore, members of the public can warn the police if they notice anything suspicious among those who are licensed to own guns thereby averting cases violent acts.
Haughney, Christine. “After Pinpointing Gun Owners, Paper Is a Target.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Jan. 2013. Web. 14 July 2017.
Maas, KC, and Josh Levs. “Newspaper sparks outrage for publishing names, addresses of gun permit holders – CNN.com.” CNN. Cable News Network, 27 Dec. 2012. Web. 14 July 2017.
McCarthy, Tom. “School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut leaves 28 dead.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 14 July 2017.