California ‘Accidentally’ Leaks Gun Owners’ Personal Data
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is threatening to sue the state of California after an “accidental” data leak exposed the names and addresses of thousands of residents who were either issued or denied a concealed carry permit between 2011 and 2021.
This information hit the Internet Monday when California’s Department of Justice launched its 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal and was available to download for nearly 24 hours though the site’s mapping feature.
As confirmed by DOJ officials on Wednesday, the leak also exposed gun owners’ gender, race, DOB, DLN, and criminal history. Included in the leak was personal data belonging to 420 reserve officers and 244 judges.
“It is infuriating that people who have been complying with the law have been put at risk by this breach,” argues Butte County Sheriff and President of California State Sheriffs’ Association Kory Honea. “California’s sheriffs are very concerned about this data breach and the risk it poses to California’s CCW permit holders.”
Indeed, the leak is a veritable treasure map for anyone seeking to steal a firearm or harm a police officer and is particularly concerning for individuals who obtained a weapon for protection after suffering abuse.
“The actions by the California DOJ are completely despicable and unacceptable,” said NRA exec. Dan Reid. “They have placed lives at risk including vulnerable individuals with abusive exes and stalkers.”
The NRA sought legal action against California last year when the state enacted a nonsensical law that gave personal information about gun owners to researchers. “Rest assured, the NRA will be taking further legal action in light of the recent leak to ensure accountability whether the actions by [the] DOJ were the result of malice or extreme negligence,” vowed Reid.
The data leak prompted Gun Owners of California chief Sam Paredes to demand the resignation of Attorney General Rob Bonta, who he describes as “massively incompetent, incredibly negligent, or willing to criminally leak information that he does not have the authority to leak.”
Bonta himself said the leak was “unacceptable,” but fell short of a full apology. His office launched an investigation to find out how the leak occurred and Bonta has promised to take strong corrective action if necessary.
“The California Department of Justice is entrusted to protect Californians and their data,” said Bonta. “We acknowledge the stress this may cause those individuals whose information was exposed. I am deeply disturbed and angered.”
Bonta and the DOJ may also face legal action from the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA), whose president Chuck Michel accused ‘vindictive sore loser bureaucrats of endangering lives and inviting violence by illegally releasing confidential information.’
California’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal was designed to provide users with information on gun sales, safety certifications, concealed carry permits, restraining orders linked to gun violence, and other information. The leak was discovered by two sheriffs who were using the site.