NEWSDAY: JOURNAL NEWS GUN PERMIT MAP USED BY BURGLARS TO TARGET WHITE PLAINS HOME?
By TIMOTHY O’CONNOR and MEGHAN E. MURPHY
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 police are doing a full investigation,” the man said through a partially opened front door.
There was broken glass in the backyard Sunday and a ladder leading up to a second-story window. Neighbors on the street of modest, Colonial homes said they had heard about the burglary.
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.
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.
White Plains police Lt. Eric Fischer confirmed that a burglary occurred but would not release further information Sunday.
The Journal News has been the target of sharp criticism from gun rights advocates and some media ethicists since running the story and interactive map Dec. 23. The story was published 10 days after the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting that claimed the lives of 20 young children and seven adults.
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 have complained the permit map could aid criminals.
State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson) in early January criticized the website as providing a road map for criminals to steal weapons.
“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,” Ball said Sunday in a statement.
On Monday, Ball will introduce a third bill into the state Legislature intended to keep the names of those who have gun permits private. (ARTICLE)