Home in The Journal News Gun Map Targeted for Gun Robbery
A home in New York's Westchester County (pictured above) that was identified in The Journal News' infamous interactive map outlining gun permit holders last month was burglarized on Saturday, local TV station WDEF reported. The thieves' target? The homeowner's gun safe, officials said.
The thieves reportedly used a ladder to enter a second-story window while the homeowner (pictured at left), a man in his 70s, was out. The thieves unsuccessfully attempted to break into the homeowner's gun safe, where he kept a number of legally-owned weapons.
According to a statement by New York State Sen. Greg Ball, "the burglar used the Journal News' interactive gun map to target a home included on the map." Ball adds that the local newspaper should be held entirely accountable for this burglary and that The Journal News has "placed the lives of these folks at risk by creating a virtual shopping list for criminals and nut jobs."
See WDEF's video here.
Ball's sentiments are echoed by former crooks, who said that the information published online by The Journal News could be "highly useful" for criminals, who now know where they are able to steal weapons.
Officials are still trying to determine whether the break-in was directly connected to The Journal News map. UPDATE -- 5:35 p.m. EST -- Officials told The Journal News that it was "premature" to say whether there was any connection between the newspaper's map of gun permit holders and the burglary. "We see no pattern of people breaking into homes based on the map, but we're certainly paying attention and monitoring that," said White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong. Three other burglaries occurred in the area Saturday, and police said that they did not appear to be connected to The Journal News' map.
It is possible for anyone to find out if neighbors own gun permits in their area -- but it depends on whether your state has a gun registry. In those states that do, you can file a Freedom of Information request to find out names and addresses listed on the registry. Only a minority of states have them, however, since most states do not require residents to obtain a permit to purchase a firearm.
And even in those states with registries, you can never know if your neighbor possesses a gun illegally. You also can't be sure if someone who has a gun permit actually owns a gun, because state registries only track the permits, not guns.
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