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On issue of gun control, what a difference a map can make

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: January 2, 2013

WHAT a difference maps can make.

This is not a reference to the flap over Apple substituting its own map app for Google's on iPhones and other products. That was an inconvenience and a business blunder. But it wasn't world-changing.

The map difference at issue today is how various parts of the country are responding to the Connecticut school shootings and subsequent gun control debate. In some areas, including Oklahoma, guns are flying off the shelves at weapons dealers. In others, gun buyback programs are going, well, great guns.

In New York, a newspaper published the names and addresses of handgun permit owners in two counties. While we defend the publication's right to access and disseminate public records, we question why the Journal News thought it prudent to identify people for complying with the law. Identifying where sex offenders live is legitimate. Sex offenders have been convicted of a crime. Identifying the residences where ex-cons who once used a gun in a crime is legitimate. They've been convicted of a crime.

Somehow, the Journal News equates holding a gun permit to having done something bad. If nothing else, this is exploiting a tragedy. Gun dealers also exploit tragedy with appeals to buy weapons ahead of a ban that may or may not happen.

In Los Angeles, the school shootings boosted interest in a gun buyback program, the schedule for which was changed to take advantage of publicity following the shootings. Offered on the day after Christmas were grocery gift cards in exchange for turning in weapons. The Los Angeles Police Department says gang-related violence dropped following previous buyback programs.

In Oklahoma City, interest in buying guns hasn't waned after events in Newtown, Conn. In fact, gun dealers report that sales have been fast and furious. An FBI system for doing background checks has been busy since the election, apparently over fears that a re-elected Barack Obama would restrict gun sales.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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