An anonymous blogger who uses the pseudonym “Doe Publius” knew he would stir controversy when, in July 2016, he published a “tyrant registry” listing the addresses and home phone numbers of 40 California lawmakers who supported a new gun control law in the state.
“Isn’t that dangerous?” Publius asked rhetorically in a post on his blog, The Real Write Winger. “What if something bad happens to them by making that information public?”
In California, courts have ruled that similar dossiers targeting abortion providers are tantamount to death threats. Publius published his list anyway. “These tyrants are no longer going to be insulated from us,” he wrote.
The post was quickly picked up on another gun rights blog, and within days, several of the named lawmakers reported receiving threatening phone calls and social media messages. California’s legislative counsel responded by ordering that WordPress, the blogging platform Publius used, to remove the post, citing a state law, based on safety concerns, that restricts publication of government officials’ personal information.