Massive Trove of Gun Owners’ Private Information Leaked by California Attorney General

The Reload – by Stephen Gutowski

California gun owners have been put at risk by the Attorney General’s office after a new dashboard leaked their personal information.

The California Department of Justice’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal went live on Monday with publicly-accessible files that include identifying information for those who have concealed carry permits. The leaked information includes the person’s full name, race, home address, date of birth, and date their permit was issued. The data also shows the type of permit issued, indicating if the permit holder is a member of law enforcement or a judge.

The Reload reviewed a copy of the Lost Angeles County database and found 244 judge permits listed in the database. The files included the home addresses, full names, and dates of birth for all of them. The same was true for seven custodial officers, 63 people with a place of employment permit, and 420 reserve officers.

2,891 people in Los Angeles County with standard licenses also had their information compromised by the leak, though the database appears to include some duplicate entries as well.

A video reviewed by The Reload shows the databases with detailed information were initially available for download via a button on the website’s mapping feature. They appeared to have been removed from public access by Tuesday afternoon and replaced with spreadsheets without the individualized identifying information.

The office of Attorney General Rob Bonta (D.) confirmed private information had been exposed and said they are examining the situation.

“We are investigating an exposure of individuals’ personal information connected to the DOJ Firearms Dashboard,” a spokesperson for the office told The Reload. “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 California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) slammed the leak and said it was looking into potential legal action against the state.

“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.”

The Reload is not publishing the leaked data in order to protect the privacy of those affected by the leaks. However, posts across social media indicate many others were able to obtain the documents during the time they were live on the state’s website. There are also several social media posts that indicate similar identifying information from the state’s dealer record of sales database and its “assault weapons” registry were part of the leak, though The Reload was unable to review copies of those databases.

The leak comes just over a year after California moved to provide detailed personal information of all gun owners in the state to educational institutions across the country despite objections over concerns about data security and individual privacy. It also comes as a similar policy to California’s restrictive gun carry law was invalidated by the Supreme Court, which will likely result in many more Californians being added to the same database the state just leaked.

In a press release announcing the leaky dashboard, Bonta said the goal was “increasing public trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve.” He said the dashboard was about ensuring transparency to “better understand the role and potential dangers of firearms.”

Instead, the leaked private information of gun owners is likely to increase the risk criminals will target their homes for burglaries–something the state’s dashboard reports happened 145,377 times in 2020 alone.

The Reload

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