New app tracking "unsafe gun owners" creating concern - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

New app tracking "unsafe gun owners" creating concern


How would you like your neighbors tracking whether you own a gun? What about being able to call you an unsafe owner? A recently launched app is letting people do just that. How it works has some gun owners concerned.

Kodiak Firing Arm and Range instructor John Pemberton says the new Gun Geo Marker App, available for Android phones, is ridiculous and he won't be using it. "I can see that it can be used against people if it's put in the wrong hands," said Pemberton.

The app invites users to mark homes of "suspected unsafe gun owners." The app uses crowd-sourced information, meaning anyone can use the free app to mark locations. The app's creator says information submitted is anonymous, something that concerns gun owners like Pemberton.

"It's potentially unsafe for people especially law abiding gun owners and their families," Pemberton says. "I mean a lot of the folks that own guns aren't always home so like me personally, I'm married, I have a small child at home, now I'm worried if someone marks me on this list, are they going to attack my family?"

South Bend Police Department Captain Phil Trent says guns are a hot commodity right now and if criminals get information on where guns are located - whether it's true or not - trouble could occur. "I think this is very dangerous in the sense that it will point potential home invasion suspects or burglars to target specific residences," said Trent.

He says others may use the app for revenge. "Something like this would be easy to abuse. It would be so easy to use something like this to simply get even with someone you have a vendetta against."

Since there's no way to confirm the information, he says it wouldn't be a useful tool for law enforcement. "It's completely subjective data that's just uploaded by anyone," said Trent. "Although we're interested in serious violations of gun laws, there's a method to do that, that's mainstream and law enforcement effective."

And Pemberton doesn't find it effective either. "No I will not be using this app."

FOX28 reached out to Brett Stalbaum, the man behind the app. He didn't get back with us, but in an interview with he says he is a gun owner himself and wants gun rights preserved. He says that without Congress taking action to enact reasonable laws to reduce gun violence, neighborhoods have to take their safety into their own hands. "It is a shame that this kind of "tattle ware" is necessary, but it may be the only option that many hardworking parents and busy community members have available to them to easily and anonymously increase safety within their own neighborhoods," says Stalbaum.

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