Evidence is mounting that the map of pistol permit owners, published by New York-based Journal News, could be causing unintended consequences as law abiding citizens are being put in danger, according to a NewsBusters report.
At least two media reports have surfaced with specific references to people who are most vulnerable as a result of the map.
Fox News reports that reformed criminals have said the map can help thieves in two ways. “Crooks looking to avoid getting shot now know which targets are soft and those who need weapons know where they can steal them,” the report says. Also in the report:
“That was the most asinine article I’ve ever seen,” said Walter T. Shaw, 65, a former burglar and jewel thief who the FBI blames for more than 3,000 break-ins that netted some $70 million in the 1960s and 1970s. “Having a list of who has a gun is like gold – why rob that house when you can hit the one next door, where there are no guns?
“What they did was insanity,” added Shaw, author of “License to Steal,” a book about his criminal career.
In a Newsday report, law enforcement officers are outraged that at least four groups of people have been put in danger with the release of the map. The consolidated list was outlined by NewsBusters:
1. Prison guards
… Inmates at the Rockland County jail are taunting corrections officers by saying they know the guards’ home addresses — information they got from the list published by Westchester (County)-based newspaper, Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco said.
2. Law enforcement in general
… Robert Riley, a White Plains police officer who is president of the department’s Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, agreed that the database is putting officers’ lives at risk. “My members are outraged,” Riley said, noting that the potential dangers to law enforcement extend beyond Westchester and Rockland counties.
3. Non-permit holders
… Legis. Aron Wieder (D-Spring Valley) called the publication of the list “irresponsible journalism” and said he now fears for his safety because the map broadcast that he does not have a gun license. At the news conference Friday morning, he handed a $150 certified check and a completed pistol permit application to Rockland County Clerk Paul Piperato. “I never owned a gun but now I have no choice,” Wieder said. “I have been exposed as someone that has no gun. And I’ll do anything, anything to protect my family.”
4. Ex-spouses and others who were in abusive relationships.
… “When I saw the list, I had an immediate flood of emotions that I cannot even describe to you,” said (Orangetown resident Charlotte) Swift. “I originally obtained a gun permit because I had previously been married to a man who attempted to strangle me . . . The first emotion I felt was, ‘Oh my gosh, he can find me.'”
Reformed thief Frank Abagnale, who was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2002 film “Catch Me if You Can,” called the newspaper’s actions “reprehensible.”
“It is unbelievable that a newspaper or so called journalist would publish the names and addresses of legal gun owners, including federal agents, law enforcement officers and the like,” said Abagnale, who noted that he grew up in the suburban New York area served by the Journal-News. “This would be equivalent to publishing the names of individuals who keep substantial sums of money, jewelry and valuables in their home.”
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