Q: You have disabled comments on this site. How can I ask a question?
A: All questions are answered through this F.A.Q. Please leave a polite message at the project offices: (225) 267-7346 and I will consider answering it here.
Q: “How can I tell if a marked site is a serious concern?”
A: All site markings are the responsibility of users whose anonymity is protected by this software. There is no way for anyone to check the veracity of marked sites beyond living in and understanding your own neighborhood where marks might be found. Use your experience to determine if a mark makes sense or not. For example, if somebody has marked a site as under the category “frequent unlawful discharge” with the message “They are n!&&**s. And guns r bad dood.” (edited to remove racial epithet, this was a real mark placed by racist joker), then you should be able to deploy basic common sense to determine that this is probably a fake mark by an angry anti-gun-safety type. But if the category is “unlocked/loaded/unsafe storage” and the message is “My child was shown an unlocked handgun by his playmate”, then you may or may not draw an entirely different conclusion about the site. Please see the gun marking guide for more useful tips!
Q: “I downloaded your App and I was enjoying it, but I just accidentally marked my own home… How do you unmark a location?”
A: I’m going to implement a delete feature. Hang tight.
Q: “Is this kind of like websites like Yelp! that allow people to post anonymous information about businesses?”
A: Kind of, more or less, although Gun Geo Marks disappear automatically after a period of time to avoid stale data. But the Gun Geo Marker is protected by the same legal precedent, and its users are protected by the same first amendment.
Q: “What about my second amendment rights? Aren’t you just using the first amendment to violate the second amendment?”
A: No. First of all, it is the users of the App who are the speakers here. The App just provides them with an anonymous forum for that speech. For the rest of your answer, please see the next question.
Q: Why are you against the second amendment?
A: I’m not. Brett Stalbaum, the primary project developer is a gun owner and pro second amendment activist. The project itself is designed to help neighbors understand their geography of risk from gun violence or unsafe uses. This project is intended to protect and preserve the reputation of the second amendment. To the degree that the American people come to equate gun ownership with an absolutist attitude of total inflexibility regarding any type of legislation that would increase firearms safety and help protect average citizens to the degree permissible under the Constitution, support for the second amendment declines. The promotion of laws that both meet constitutional standards and protect the public also protect the second amendment. Until we can pass some more reasonable laws like closing the background check loophole, this is all we have.
Q: “Let me ask you, doesn’t this constitute and invasion of privacy that will lead criminals to the doorstep of legal gun owners?”
A: No to both questions. First, the Second Amendment and Constitution of the United States does not protect anonymous gun ownership (unless you built it yourself, all respect, and keep it hidden your house and not telling anyone.) Nor does the First Amendment allow for gun owners to stop others from speaking freely about dangerous sites they know of in their neighborhood. If a gun owner wants anonymity from any neighbors who they think might mark their locations (that is a already quite a bit paranoid), then it is the responsibility of the gun owner to keep their gun ownership a closely held personal or family secret. Second, given the specific purpose of this app, which is marking unsafe locations where guns are in improperly or carelessly used, you should clearly understand that an intelligent (or lazy) thief would certainly look for softer targets (like houses with NRA bumper stickers or logos) for purposes of “casing” a home for a potential robbery. So don’t be silly – the theft idea was promoted by an aggressive “gun rights” web site in the first place. (And was very nearly libelous at that, also directing a lot of threats of violence my way.)
Q: “Why would you publish an App that allows anyone in the United States look and see if I have a gun?”
A: Your presumption is incorrect, the App does not do that. It is a “local use only” application, good only for examining citizen supplied reports a number of miles around your present location.
Q: “Your app does not allow pinching for zooming in or out. Also, you cannot change the center of the area you are looking at, which marks your current location. Why?”
A: See previous answer. The Gun Geo Marker is for use by local residents who want to protect their persons, children and property. It is not intended for global browsing, and only works where you stand.
Q: “Why is the Android App only available in the United States?”
A: The main developer – Brett Stalbaum – was motivated to create this App to address a social problem that is specific to his own country, political culture and constitution. This does not mean that the App could not be adjusted to apply to other problems in other places. This issue will be addressed via Open Source, soon.
Q: “Why only Android?”
A: Because the Walkingtools laboratory is primarily an Android shop. We spec out experimental Apps. We would be interested in working with a trusted group or individual within the University of California on porting to other platforms, especially iOS and Windows Phone.
Q: “Who is responsible for this?”
A: Brett Stalbaum is the primary author. He is the co-director of the Walkingtools.net Labortory at UCSD, where this project is based.