- Address in White Plains, New York, appears on map of legally owned guns published by Journal News on December 23
- Thieves break into house and attempt to steal guns on Saturday
The thieves struck just three weeks after the address and home owner’s name, registered to a legal firearms permit, was published on the controversial gun map published by the Journal News.
The burglars couldn’t open the safe and the owner wasn’t at home. But this incident has led to speculation that the map is now being used by criminals for targeted gun theft.
The thieves broke into the property at 9.30pm on Saturday, using a ladder to enter through a second story window.
According to Newsday, the burglars then headed for the safe where the homeowner, a man in his 70s, stores his legally owned guns.
The intruders abandoned their attempts when they couldn’t crack the safe, and police say that one suspect has been taken into custody.
The home owner declined to comment while police continue their investigations but a New York state senator has again blasted the gun map after this incident.
Republican Senator Greg Ball has proposed legislation that restricts gun permit information to law enforcement authorities and he strongly criticized the Journal News.
‘It is reported that the burglar used the Journal News’ interactive gun map to target a home included on the map,’ Ball said in statement.
‘The Journal News has placed the lives of these folks at risk by creating a virtual shopping list for criminals and nut jobs.
‘If the connection is proven, this is further proof that these maps are not only an invasion of privacy but that they present a clear and present danger to law-abiding, private citizens.
‘Former convicts have already testified to the usefulness of the asinine Journal News ‘gun maps’ yet the reckless editors are evidently willing to roll the dice, gambling with the lives of innocent local homeowners,’ the senator continued.
The New York newspaper reportedly hired a team of armed guards to patrol the paper’s headquarters in West Nyack after publishing the names and addresses of nearby gun permit owners.
The paper caused a stir on December 23 when it listed thousands of pistol permit holders in suburban Westchester and Rockland counties just north of New York City in an interactive map.
The Rockland County Times reported that Journal News editor Caryn A. McBride hired gun-toting security guards to guard the paper’s offices amid a flurry of angry emails and phone calls in the following days.
Along with an article entitled ‘The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood,’ the Journal News map was compiled in response to the December 14 shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, editors of the Gannett Corp.-owned newspaper said.
The publication prompted outrage, particularly on social media sites, among gun owners.
‘Do you fools realize that you also made a map for criminals to use to find homes to rob that have no guns in them to protect themselves?’ Rob Seubert of Silver Spring, Maryland, posted on the newspaper’s web site. ‘What a bunch of liberal boobs you all are.’
The newspaper’s editor and vice president of news, CynDee Royle, defended the decision to list the permit holders.
‘We knew publication of the database would be controversial, but we felt sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings,’ she said.
Some critics retaliated by posting reporters’ and editors’ addresses and other personal information online.
Howard Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, called the critics’ response childish and petulant.
‘It doesn’t move the issue of gun control to the level of intelligent public discussion,’ he said. ‘Instead, it transforms what should be a rational public debate on a contentious issue into ugly gutter fighting.’
Good said the information about permit holders was public and, if presented in context, served a legitimate interest.
But media critic Al Tompkins of the Florida-based Poynter Institute wrote online this week that the newspaper’s reporting had not gone far enough to justify the permit holders’ loss of privacy.
‘If journalists could show flaws in the gun permitting system, that would be newsworthy,’ he said. ‘Or, for example, if gun owners were exempted from permits because of political connections, then journalists could better justify the privacy invasion.’
Tompkins said he feared the dispute might prompt lawmakers to play to privacy fears.
‘The net effect of the abuse of public records from all sides may well be a public distaste for opening records, which would be the biggest mistake of all,’ he said.
Incoming search terms:
- criminals target homeowners that paper published gun owners address (1)
- new york newspaper reveals gun owners (1)
- thefts after gun owners names published (1)