California gun owners’ personal information wrongfully made public

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Sacramento, Calif. ( Associated Press) — The California Justice Department acknowledged Wednesday that the agency falsely publicized the personal information of perhaps hundreds of thousands of gun owners in six state-run databases, a wider risk than the agency initially disclosed the day before. .

Rob Bonta, the Democrat who heads the agency and is running for re-election in November, said he was “deeply upset and angered” by the failure to protect the information submitted to his department. He ordered an inquiry and promised to address any problems.

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

The California Rifle and Pistol Association noted that the release came days after the US Supreme Court struck down a New York requirement that those seeking to carry concealed weapons are a reason. It also derailed California’s similar requirement, though state lawmakers and Bonta are working to implement the new requirements.

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The association said the “subliminal” release contained information about law enforcement officials, including judges, as well as others who sought permits “like rape and domestic violence victims”.

The department said name, date of birth, gender, caste, driving license number, address and criminal history were exposed for those who were allowed or denied to carry concealed weapons between 2011 and 2021 . Social Security numbers and financial information were not disclosed.

In addition, the state’s Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearms Certificate Safety and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards were affected, the department said. Officials said an investigation was underway to determine the extent to which personal information was exposed in those databases.

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Officials said concealed carry permit information was publicly available on a spreadsheet for less than 24 hours, from the time the department updated its firearms dashboard portal on Monday afternoon until the website was shut down on Tuesday morning. .

Butte County Sheriff Cory Honia, president of the California State Sheriff’s Association, said, “It is outrage that law-abiding people have been put at risk by this violation.” He said sheriffs are concerned about the risk to permit holders.

Bonta’s office could not immediately say how many individuals are in each database, what data was downloaded and how often, and when the public website would be restored. According to information on the State Department of Justice website, California officials issued nearly 40,000 hide-and-carry permits last year, up from 100,000 during the peak year of 2016.

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Republican State Sen. Brian Dahle, who is running for governor against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, said that many women who want to carry concealed weapons “do so because they fear for their lives and safety. As a result, those Women now have to worry that the person they least wanted to see again might have found their address through this reckless act of bureaucratic stupidity.”

Bonta said in a statement that the unauthorized release “is unacceptable and falls far short of my expectations for this department.” He said he immediately began an investigation into how the release took place “and will take strong corrective measures where necessary.”

He said he was aware of the tension caused by the release, and that the department would notify those whose information was exposed. It will also provide credit monitoring services for those individuals.

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