When The Journal News published the identities of handgun permit owners in two New York counties a few days ago, its reporters and editors must have known their handiwork would be torn apart by gun-rights advocates.
So it wasn’t at all surprising that, during an interview on CNN, National Rifle Association president David Keene called the Journal News‘ maps pinpointing pistol and revolver permit locations in Westchester and Rockland counties “unconscionable.”
“These are all upstanding citizens who’ve passed rigorous tests and owned their firearms legally,” said Keene, who warned that information published so publicly could pose a risk to public safety. ”If you’re a criminal looking for a gun, you’ve just been handed a map,” he said. “You have, in essence, a catalogue.”
Keene admitted the maps are “probably not legally actionable.”
CNN host Carly Costello’s questions about the Journal News‘ work were pretext for a wider discussion about the burgeoning, tenuous debate in America about what kinds of firearms reform are appropriate. A couple of weeks after the Newtown massacre, Keene’s perspective is probably best described as undeterred. He wouldn’t give an inch to Costello, who spared few punches.
As the interview wore on, Costello’s reaction to Keene’s perspective was probably best described as bemused. At one point, she tried to corner him with questions about whether or not the NRA supports the enforcement of gun laws already on the books. Keene said the NRA does support the enforcement of existing laws. She then aired this clip.
That’s David Gregory, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, holding a 30-round magazine that’s illegal to possess in Washington, D.C.—even if it’s not armed. D.C. police have said NBC asked permission to display the clip on-air, were denied, and the incident is now under investigation.
So, Costello asked, does the NRA think Gregory should be indicted? Keene said he doesn’t think Gregory should end up behind bars, and added that the stunt simply illustrated “the craziness of some of these [gun] laws.”
Keene also argued against the maintenance of a national gun registry in the United States. He said, historically, they don’t do a lot to help police fight crime. Among his examples was America’s neighbour to the north. “Canada maintained a long-gun registry that cost upwards of a billion dollars and solved no crimes,” he said.