A Republican state senator from New York is blaming a controversial handgun map for the recent burglary of a gun owner's residence in White Plains. According to Newsday, at least two burglars broke into the home on Saturday evening, as part of an effort to rob the owner's gun safe. Local police say the were unable to open the safe, and that one of the suspects has already been taken into custody.
The house in question was included on a map showing the locations of gun permit owners in New York, compiled through Freedom of Information requests. Originally published by The Journal News, the Google-powered map displayed the names and home addresses of people with pistol or revolver permits in several New York counties. The paper has come under fire from gun rights advocates, who see it as a violation of privacy and a potential threat to local security.
"A clear and present danger to law-abiding citizens."
White Plains police are still investigating Saturday's burglary and have yet to publicly comment on any connection to the gun database, but Senator Greg Ball seems convinced that The Journal News is to blame.
"The Journal News has placed the lives of these folks at risk by creating a virtual shopping list for criminals and nut jobs," Ball said in a statement released Sunday. "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."
Ball's office said "it is reported that the burglar used The Journal News' interactive gun map to target a home included on the map," though The Verge has not been able to find any outlet reporting this connection.
At this point, it remains unclear whether Ball is making these allegations based on intuition or insider information, or if he's simply using the burglary to gain political momentum. On Monday, the Republican will introduce three new bills that would implement stronger privacy protections for gun owners.
"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," Ball said. "These bills are critical to keep folks safe and fundamentally protect their inherent right to privacy."