House on newspaper's gun map targeted for robbery
WHITE PLAINS, New York — A house on the now-infamous Journal News gun map was burglarized over the weekend, and burglars' target was the homeowner's gun safe, according to officials.
At least two burglars broke into the home at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and attempted to break into the safe, in which were stored legally owned weapons, according to News 12. The station said there was broken glass in the homeowner's backyard and a ladder leading up to a second-story window.
The burglars were unsuccessful at breaking into the gun safe and one man was taken into custody. Police said it is unclear whether the suspects knew what was in the safe when they tried to open it. They are currently trying to determine whether the Journal News' map had anything to do with the crime.
The homeowner, a man in his 70s, did not wish to comment while the investigation is ongoing. "The police are doing a full investigation," he said.
New York Sen. Greg Ball said in a release Sunday the burglary could be tied to the Journal News' map of homeowners with guns, calling it 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," he said.
The Journal News made headlines in December after publishing an interactive map featuring the names and addresses of handgun permit holders in two New York counties.
The paper released the map as a part of a story headlined "The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood."
The story and map were in response to the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six staff members before taking his own life.
The Journal News has been criticized for publishing the map, and many have suggested the information puts the highlighted homeowners in danger. Some responded by publishing the home addresses and phone numbers of journalists at the paper and senior executives of the paper's parent company, Gannett.
The paper has stood by the decision, saying it published a similar list in 2006.
"Frequently, the work of journalists is not popular. One of our roles is to report publicly available information on timely issues, even when unpopular," Janet Hasson, president and publisher of The Journal News Media Group, told The Associated Press in an emailed statement. "We knew publication of the database (as well as the accompanying article providing context) would be controversial, but we felt sharing information about gun permits in our area was important in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings."
Ball said he disagrees with the release of the names and will introduce legislation Monday to keep the names of those with gun permits private.
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