The Journal News in White Plains, New York, posted an interactive map of all handgun permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties. The map gave the names and addresses of everyone who held a permit to own a handgun.
On January 2, 2013, I asked the question:
“If they [The Journal News] are willing to accept the legal responsibility and liability for any crimes committed against the gun owners identified in their online post?
In my article, I predicted that criminals would use the map to target homes with guns for the express purpose of stealing the guns and it appears my prediction has come true.
A seventy year old man in White Plains, New York had his house broken into while he was gone. The burglars put a ladder up to his back window, broke the glass and entered the house. Their target was his gun safe.
It just so happened that his name and address was one of the 44,000 handgun permit holders’ names that had been posted online by The Journal News back on Dec. 24, 2012. Police say they have one suspect in custody and are looking for another. They haven’t said yet whether or not the burglary was connected to the posting, however neighbors who have lived on the same street since 1997 say nothing like this has ever happened before that they are aware of. You can see a video of the news cast here.
The burglary has caught the attention of New York State Senator Greg Ball, who is trying to push legislation to make gun permit information private and not open to public record. In a statement made after hearing of the burglary, Ball said:
“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.”
I agree and if it is proven that the burglars used the information on the interactive map to select their target, then I would strongly encourage the seventy year old homeowner to file a lawsuit against the Journal News for placing him in danger and setting him up for a home intrusion and burglary. They need to be held accountable for their senseless act of endangering 44,000 law abiding citizens.