On Monday, the California Attorney General’s office confirmed that it leaked thousands of gun owners’ private information, including their full names, races, and home addresses.
According to firearms publication The Reload, who first reported the leak, the California Department of Justice launched its 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal, which included 3,625 files with the personal information of concealed carry permit holders. The database revealed names, races, home addresses, dates of birth, and dates that a permit was issued.
The information also revealed the type of permit that was approved and whether the holder was a police officer or a judge.
The Reload reported that the public could initially download the private data, but the information was apparently no longer publicly accessible by late Tuesday.
“We are investigating an exposure of individuals’ personal information connected to the DOJ Firearms Dashboard,” a spokesperson for Attorney General Rob Bonta told the outlet. “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 leak comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that it is unconstitutional to require gun owners applying for concealed-carry licenses to prove they have a worthy need to carry guns in public.
“We know of no other constitutional right that an individual may exercise only after demonstrating to government officers some special need,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his opinion. “That is not how the First Amendment works when it comes to unpopular speech or the free exercise of religion. It is not how the Sixth Amendment works when it comes to a defendant’s right to confront the witnesses against him. And it is not how the Second Amendment works when it comes to public carry for self defense.”
The California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) suggested that the leak was intentional, slamming the Attorney General’s office as “vindictive sore loser bureaucrats.”
“Vindictive sore loser bureaucrats have endangered people’s lives and invited conflict by illegally releasing confidential private information,” Chuck Michel, CRPA President, told The Reload. “CRPA is working with several legislators and sheriffs to determine the extent of the damage caused by DOJ’s doxing of law abiding gun owners. Litigation is likely.”
Earlier this week, Bonta asserted in a press release that the dashboard was created to “improve transparency and information sharing for firearms-related data.”
“Transparency is key to increasing public trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” Bonta said. “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,” he continued. “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.”