Just last week, California gun owners learned they would get a fair chance at being licensed to carry firearms. The Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol v. Bruen applied nationwide, ensuring that those who meet their state requirements for a carry license shall be granted one, and will no longer be subjected to the whims of the local authorities. What was a celebratory moment for all who understand the value of practical self-defence is now a nightmare for those who already possess licenses in the Golden State. On June 27, California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) released the personal information of everyone in the state with a concealed carry card.
Along with a press release unironically titled “Attorney General Bonta Releases New Firearms Data to Increase Transparency and Information Sharing,” Bonta’s office posted updates to the “Firearms Dashboard Portal.” There sure was a great deal of transparency in the release. Per the California Department of Justice:
“[T]he incident exposed the personal information of individuals who were granted or denied a concealed and carry weapons (CCW) permit between 2011-2021. Information exposed included names, date of birth, gender, race, driver’s license number, addresses, and criminal history.”
One of the few things the government office didn’t hand out was Social Security numbers. Just in case, the state is giving a credit report monitoring service gratis for those affected by the data breach. Cold comfort to the victims of this outrage, no doubt. It’s perhaps one of the few benefits for which they won’t have to sue.
More Victims on the Way
That’s not the full extent of the damage; there is more to come. The California DOJ said on Wednesday, June 29: “Additionally, data from the following dashboards were also impacted: Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Safety Certificate, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards.” The department said it was investigating whether “any personally identifiable information could have been exposed from those dashboards” and that it would promptly report additional information if and when confirmed.
California Rifle and Pistol Association President and General Counsel Chuck Michel said the data was publicly available for at least 12 hours and was downloaded by an unknown number of users. He slammed Bonta’s reckless disregard for the private information of gun owners with carrying permits, saying:
“The Attorney General has put thousands of people in danger by essentially handing criminals a “shopping list” of homes to burglarize in search of firearms, a list of judges to murder, addresses of stalking victims for their stalkers to find, locations of battered women and rape survivors, and home addresses for police officers. Careers of individuals excising [sic] their right to self-protection may now be in jeopardy given this public disclosure as well.”
California law requires the state to notify those individuals whose data was exposed. Anyone whose closely held personal information was publicly revealed must now make extraordinary efforts to secure their safety and firearms access. More litigation from the victims of the breach is guaranteed.