The Journal News decided to create and publicize an interactive map of addresses of gun permit holders. Critics were quick to point out that those maps provided an easy to use tool for criminals looking to steal guns. One of the homes publicized on the map, located in White Plains, NY, has been burglarized but the thieves couldn’t break the gun safe.
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.
In response State Senator Greg Ball has proposed new legislation that has garnered bi-partisan support.
Senator Ball will be publicly unveiling three separate pieces of legislation, all with bipartisan support, among them (S2132), to protect the privacy rights of ordinary citizens; including: law enforcement personnel, victims of domestic violence and private citizens. Let it be clear however, that under Ball’s legislation that has garnered bipartisan kudos and support, law enforcement and all related agencies would continue to have full access to permit information. Senate bill (S2132) would protect lawful gun owners, including thousands of retired and active law enforcement and victim of domestic violence survivors, from having their information publicly disclosed.
Senator Ball has a few choice words for the editors at the Journal News.
“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. I hope all of these bills will be brought to the floor for an up or down vote, and allowed to fail or pass on their own merits and not as part of a large, overarching gun-control package. 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.
There’s a great roundup of reactions at Twitchy.
There are a few other criticisms of the map published by the Journal News. For example, a permit holder might be a domestic violence victim who needs the gun for protection against someone with a propensity for violence – who now knows where they live. The map also shows the addresses which do not have gun permit holders residing there, thus making those homes potential targets for a different brand of thieves.
A competing local newspaper, the Rockland County Times, published a roundup of the strong negative reaction to the interactive gun map published by the Journal News and included the home addresses of editors, publishers, and even the CEO.
Legislator and County Executive Candidate Ed Day had this to say, “This action is mind boggling and indefensible. As a law enforcement professional who has seen the human pain and suffering caused by gun violence up close and personal, I join every clear thinking individual who shares the same concerns we all have. However, focusing on and publishing the names and addresses of citizens who are law abiding, have no criminal record, withstood an investigation, and had a judge authorize their authority to possess a handgun defies logic on many levels. All that has been accomplished is that there is now a ready ‘burglar’s menu’ available for criminals to more easily add to the number of illegal guns on the street, as many holders of Rockland full carry gun permits are not allowed to bring that weapon with them to New York City, thus leaving it at the potentially unattended location, or worse still a place where there may be a family with children, as identified by the Journal News. Of course, that burglar is also now likely armed ‘just in case.’”
The map was led into on the front page of Sunday’s Journal News under the provocative headline “What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood.”
The Rockland County Times shares in the community’s frustration with the tactics of the Journal News, particularly the seeming attempt to draw a moral link between law abiding gun owners and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The only remedy for this is for the editorial board of the Journal News as well as executives at Gannet to receive a taste of their own medicine.
Then there is the final bit or irony in that when the executives at the Journal News felt threatened they immediately decided to get protection – in the form of armed guards.
Take the Journal News executives who decided to publish the gun map. The newspaper was so inundated with complaints that shortly after Christmas it took extra security precautions and hired security guards — who were armed — to patrol its Rockland County headquarters. The executives reported no incidents of any kind at the building, but they turned over at least two e-mails they found troubling. The local police said they didn’t find the e-mails threatening and concluded that they “did not constitute an offense.” The Journal News chose not to share with its readers the information that it had hired armed security guards. That revelation came from a competing newspaper, the Rockland County Times, which concluded that the Journal News conducts itself according to the double standard: “Guns are good for the goose but not for the gander.”