After the Journal News published interactive maps detailing where gun owners live in a number of New York counties in late December, people all across the nation decried the move as an invasion of privacy and a danger to the families.
A number of ex-burglars told Fox News that the list would prove invaluable to criminals, telling them which houses to avoid or rob, depending on what they wanted.
It was revealed on Sunday that one of the homes identified by the paper was targeted by burglars over the weekend, though a connection to the Journal News has not been proven.
New York’s Westchester/Rockland Newsday has noteworthy details on the break-in (all subsequent emphasis added):
A White Plains residence pinpointed on a controversial handgun permit database was burglarized Saturday, and the burglars’ target was the homeowner’s gun safe.
At least two burglars broke into a home on Davis Avenue at 9:30 p.m. Saturday but were unsuccessful in an attempt to open the safe, which contained legally owned weapons, according to a law enforcement source. One suspect was taken into custody, the source said.
The gun owner was not home when the burglary occurred, the source said. The victim, who is in his 70s, told Newsday on Sunday that he did not want to comment while the police investigation continues.
Neighbor John Mascia said he thought the gun permit database should not have been published.
“I could [not] care less what they have in their home,” Mascia said.
Police are investigating what role, if any, the database played in the burglars’ decision to target the home, the law enforcement source said.
Republican State Senator Greg Ball of New York released a strongly-worded statement on the matter Sunday, adding that he plans to introduce legislation to better protect the identities of gun owners in the future:
“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,” Senator Greg Ball said.
“The same elitist eggheads who use their editorial page to coddle terrorists and criminals are now treating law abiding citizens like level three sexual predators. These bills are critical to keep folks safe and fundamentally protect their inherent right to privacy… This is not about the Second Amendment; these bills are simply about commonsense and personal privacy. Publishing this information on a website, as we have evidently just witnessed in the recent attempted gun burglary, provides criminals with a map of where they can steal firearms from lawful owners for later use in the commission of crimes. This legislation is critical,” said Senator Greg Ball.
Ball wasn’t the only one to call out the Journal News in the wake of the robbery. Senator Ball’s office adds:
In addition to Senator Ball’s legislation, the Vice President of the Affiliated Police Association of Westchester County, Robert Buckley, said in a letter [that] publishing these maps online is jeopardizing the safety of residents and is irresponsible.
“The Affiliated Police Association of Westchester County Inc. is putting The Journal News on notice that we will hold [them] accountable for any incident where any of our over 25,000 members are involved with an incident where a criminal or ex-con presents themselves at the residence of one of our members as a result of their name being made public by [their] newspaper,” said Buckley.
Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro ripped into the Journal News over the weekend, noting that the “cowards” who publish the paper appear to be fiercely protective of their own privacy:
- Fury After Paper Publishes Names, Addresses of Legal Pistol Owners in New York
- Newspaper That Published The Names & Addresses of Gun Owners Hires Armed Guards
- Ex-Burglars: Newspaper’s Gun Owner Map ‘Exceptionally Stupid’, Helps Crooks