The Google Play app store has stopped carrying an app designed to make it easier for angry gun-owners to stalk and harass anti-gun violence advocates. The app listed the names, addresses, social media aliases and other contact information along with a reason why they were included on the list.
Think Progress reported that the app “Gunfree Geo Marker” was designed to make it easier for pro-gun advocates to stalk, threaten and harass gun safety advocates. Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence said that people like himself are inevitably targeted by angry gun owners because of their work.
“Harassment is par for the course,” Everitt told Think Progress. He found out last week that his information had been posted on Gunfree Geo Marker and since then has been deluged with harassing emails and phone threats.
“This behavior is tolerated by the pro-gun movement and it’s not right, but unfortunately it’s something we have to go through,” he said.
He remains undaunted, however, saying, “There’s nothing these guys can do to intimidate me. But other people have been scared away from doing the work.”
Sarah Kessler of FastCompany.com reported on the app last week, warning that “your address and phone number are now weapons.”
“Gunfree Geo Marker, features a map pinpointing the home and work addresses of politicians, gun control organization employees, and ‘random anti-gun trolls,'” Kessler said, “who ‘push the anti-gun agenda in any way, shape or form.'”
The pro-gun app is not an original idea, however, it’s a response to an app called “Gun Geo Marker,” which allows users to mark locations on a map which they believe are unsafe. The app is intended as a safety tool, alerting users to areas with a high incidence of gun violence or where gun owners have irresponsibly discharged weapons in the past.
Kessler wrote, “Gun Geo Marker has been compared to a New York newspaper’s decision a few years ago to publish the names and address of 33,614 gun permit holders, an ethically dubious decision that many gun owners said made them feel targeted and vulnerable.”
“Regardless of how questionable those actions were, it’s inexcusable that the newspaper’s employees soon found themselves the targets of personally threatening messages. Many of their home addresses and phone numbers were also posted online,” she said.
Gunfree Geo Marker, she said, is an extension of that form of retaliation by gun advocates.
“But the more disturbing part is the logic,” said Kessler. “Both sides think it’s wrong to use personal information as a weapon—unless they’re the ones who are doing it.”