Criminals Apparently Targeted Gun Permit Holder Exposed in NY Newspaper's Interactive Map

A White Plains, New York home included in an interactive map of gun permit holders published by the Lower Hudson Valley's Journal News shortly before Christmas was burglarized on Saturday. According to a local CBS News report, in what was either about the oddest coincidence one can imagine or a direct result of that map's publication, "the burglars' target was the homeowner's gun safe."

The odds are clearly with the latter. A more detailed report filed by Timothy O'Connor and Meghan E. Murphy at Newsday on Sunday and updated on Monday provides more details (HT to an e-mailer; bolds are mine):


Journal News gun permit map used by burglars to target White Plains home?

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.

... The homeowner's name and address were included recently on the controversial interactive map of gun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties published on The Journal News' website.

... A call for comment to The Journal News was not immediately returned.

Although some good-government groups have come to the defense of the White Plains-based newspaper, some elected officials, including State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson, have complained the permit map could aid criminals.

"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," Ball said Sunday in a statement.

I would suggest that a "group" forfeits its right to be characterized as "good-government" when it defends a newspaper which has clearly jeopardized the safety of area residents to push an agenda.

Thank goodness no one was at home at the time.

A search on "Davis Avenue" (not in quotes) at the Journal News at 10:20 ET returned no relevant results. It thus appears that the Journal News's map is also impeding its willingness to report on area crime which might be traceable to its egregious act.

When the two-county map was published, I also predicted that criminals would also likely identify non-permit holders as "soft targets" for home invasions, personal assaults -- or worse. That element of danger the Journal News created with its action will of course be harder to track, and arguably puts more residents of the two counties at risk. Reformed criminals share that concern.

Meanwhile, as I noted on January 4, Connecticut legislator Stephen Dargan has drafted a bill to make handgun permit holder information reachable through Freedom of Information Act requests. The Nutmeg State Democrat apparently wishes to let snoops do to his state's citizens what the Journal News has done to those who live in Westchester and Rockland Counties in New York. What a guy.

Will anyone in the press ask Dargan to comment on this latest development?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.