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California Released Gun Owners Names, Addresses, Other Personal Info To The Public

Sacramento, CA – Californians are furious after the California Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Wednesday that it had disclosed to the public a trove of personal information belonging to anyone who had been granted or denied a gun permit in the state between 2011 and 2021.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who is up for re-election, acknowledged the error and promised to launch an investigation to see how the data breach had happened, the Associated Press reported.

Bonta told reporters that he was “deeply disturbed and angered” by the irresponsible release of personal information that his agency had been entrusted to protect.

“This unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable and falls far short of my expectations for this department,” the attorney general said. “We acknowledge the stress this may cause those individuals whose information was exposed.”

DOJ said the information exposed on the agency’s website included the names, dates of birth, gender, race, driver’s license numbers, addresses, and criminal histories for everyone who was granted or denied a concealed-carry permit between 2011 and 2021, the Associated Press reported.

The state also acknowledged that similar data had been exposed for anyone listed in its Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Certificate Safety, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards.

DOJ said that no Social Security numbers or financial information were exposed, the Associated Press reported.

Officials said the information was publicly available on a spreadsheet for less than 24 hours after the department updated its Firearms Dashboard Portal on Monday afternoon.

DOJ shut down the website on Tuesday morning and began damage control, the Associated Press reported.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association noted the data exposure came shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out New York’s requirement that those seeking to carry concealed weapons must provide “proper cause.”

California’s concealed-carry permit law has a similar requirement that was also derailed by the high court’s decision, the Associated Press reported.

Bonta and state lawmakers are working to establish new requirements.

Law enforcement officials have said that releasing the names and addresses of gun owners to the public may have jeopardized the public’s safety.

There is concern that thieves may target those homes, KCRA reported.

“It is infuriating that people who have been complying with the law have been put at risk by this breach,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea, who is president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, said.

Sheriff Honea said sheriffs were worried about the risk the exposure created for permit holders, the Associated Press reported.

California State Senator Brian Dahle, a Republican who is running for governor against California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, pointed out that many women who apply for concealed-carry permits “do so because they fear for their lives and safety.”

“Consequently, those women will now have to worry that the person they least wanted to see again may have just been given their address by this careless act of bureaucratic idiocy,” Dahle added.

Bonta’s office did not immediately know how many individuals were in each affected database, whether the data was downloaded and how many times, or when the public website would be back up and running, the Associated Press reported.

California officials issued about 40,000 concealed-carry permits last year.

The DOJ website said the state issued more than 100,000 concealed-carry permits in 2016, the Associated Press reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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