NEW YORK - Gawker, a Manhattan-based gossip site, has posted a searchable list of licensed gun owners in New York City, following a move last month by a newspaper in nearby Westchester County to publish a map of pistol permit holders.

The information was obtained from the New York Police Department via a Freedom of Information Law request in 2009, Gawker writer John Cook said Tuesday in a posting on the blog, which is owned by Gawker Media. The 446-page list dates from 2 1/2 years ago and contains names but not addresses.

The move thrusts Gawker into a growing debate over gun control and the privacy rights of firearms owners, sparked by the shooting deaths of 20 children at a Connecticut elementary school on Dec. 14.

The White Plains, N.Y.-based Journal News drew an outcry last month when it published a map showing the names and addresses of area handgun owners, seeking to better inform readers about firearms in their neighborhoods.

Other community newspapers have criticized the Journal News for singling out people who have obtained permits legally and putting them at risk.

"What they've done is point out all these homes to criminals and burglars," William J. Pape II, publisher of the Waterbury, Conn., Republican-American, said in an interview.