Calif. DOJ data breach exposes ‘massive trove’ of private info on state’s gun owners

Registries have been cautioned against for a number of reasons, not least of which being the security of the data. So, after the California Department of Justice launched a new firearms dashboard and a technical error compromised the safety of law-abiding citizens, the incident was fairly summed up with the statement “this is really bad.”

California’s latest measure to “increase public trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve” was a resounding failure Monday when the OpenJusticeDataPlatform went live with the 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal. At its launch, the portal inadvertently provided access to the personal data of gun owners and permit holders throughout the state.

A review of a copy of the Los Angeles County database “found 244 judge permits listed in the database,” according to The Reload. “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.”

“This is really bad,” wrote firearms reporter and founder of The Reload Stephen Gutowski.

He went on to note, “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.”

“The detailed private information appears to no longer be accessible via the state’s dashboard,” Gutowski wrote. “However, it appears a lot of people were able to download it while the files were publicly available. California Attorney General Rob Bonta has not responded to my requests for comment.”

A spokesperson for Bonta’s office told The Reload, “We are investigating an exposure of individuals’ personal information connected to the DOJ Firearms Dashboard. 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 reporter also quoted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) as saying, “This is a shocking betrayal of trust by state officials, whether an act of corruption or incompetence. We must absolutely get to the truth of what happened and develop any legislative solutions that will ensure gun owners and their rights are protected.”

Chuck Michel, the president of the California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) reacted to the news and told The Reload, “Vindictive sore loser bureaucrats have endangered people’s lives and invited conflict by illegally releasing confidential private information. 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 outlet explained that, according to the California DOJ’s own dashboard, access to this information puts gun owners at increased risk to criminals for burglaries with a reported 145,377 incidents occurring just in the year 2020.

The information breach came only days after President Joe Biden signed into law the Safer Communities Act which has been heavily criticized for its funding of state red flag laws that open the door for gun confiscation while the Supreme Court reaffirmed the Second Amendment with a ruling on a New York state concealed carry law.


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Kevin Haggerty


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