The name, date of birth, and address of every single concealed carry permit holder in California were leaked this week by the state’s Department of Justice (DOJ).
The data breach came as the DOJ was rolling out a new Firearms Dashboard Portal that was created to increase “transparency and information sharing” amongst communities while also protecting “personal identifying information.”
“Transparency is key to increasing public trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” said Attorney General Bonta on Monday in a press release. “As news of tragic mass shootings continue to dominate the news cycle, leaving many with feelings of fear and uncertainty, we must do everything we can to prevent gun violence.”
“One of my continued priorities is to better provide information needed to help advance efforts that strengthen California’s commonsense gun laws. Today’s announcement puts power and information into the hands of our communities by helping them better understand the role and potential dangers of firearms within our state,” Bonta said.
On the dashboard, visitors could find data from the past decade for all of the following:
- Dealer Record of Sales
- Gun Violence Restraining Orders
- Carry Concealed Weapons Permits
- Firearms Safety Certificates
- Assault Weapons
- Roster of Certified Handguns
However, users who visited the platform on Monday during its initial launch quickly noted that the DOJ was not living up to its promise to protect personal info.
As Fox40 reported:
Sheriff’s Office officials say the information released included the CCW holders’ name, age, address, Criminal Identification Index (CII) number and license type (Standard, Judicial, Reserve and Custodial). The information included every CCW holder in the state.
In response to the error, the DOJ released a statement.
“We are investigating an exposure of individuals’ personal information connected to the DOJ Firearms Dashboard,” the DOJ said. “Any unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable.”
“We are working swiftly to address this situation and will provide additional information as soon as possible,” the agency continued.
Gun-rights groups, specifically the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the National Rifle Association (NRA), claim the data breach was inevitable following the enactment of AB 173, the gun-control bill that paved the way for the portal.
Both groups filed lawsuits (Doe v. Bonta and Barba v. Bonta) to protect gun owners’ privacy and to stop something like this from happening.
“We knew that somehow this private gun owner information would get leaked or misused and that is why the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit against the state of California,” said SAF Founder Alan Gottlieb in an email to GunsAmerica. “We have been proved right.”
“This is a disgusting violation of the right of privacy,” Gottlieb added.
During an April 5 hearing of Doe v. Bonta, a representative for the DOJ explicitly said that it would keep the sensitive information confidential and that any breach could even lead to criminal prosecution.
We acknowledge that the information is confidential. AB 173, I think, is quite clear that the information can’t be shared publicly. It’s our position that, if there is a disclosure, that those whose information is disclosed would have various remedies including – there might be criminal implications for someone who disclosed the information knowingly. There is civil remedies under various state laws. And so the information is confidential…
Clearly, the DOJ did not hold up its end of the bargain. The question now is will anyone be held accountable for this gross violation of privacy?
Stay tuned for updates.
is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.