Class Action Lawsuit Against CA Attorney General Bonta Over CCW Leak

The National Foundation for Gun Rights (NFGR) filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 600,000 Californian gun owners whose sensitive private data was leaked by the state. Names, race, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, gender, addresses and criminal histories of anyone who applied for a concealed carry permit in California over the last decade were published on CA’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal, publicly available to anyone a with a phone, and the ability to wander near a Starbucks or McDonald’s.

If a government is going to maintain a list of its citizens private information, then it should be for an objectively good purpose. Some might argue about the value of such a list, but to be frank, concealed carry permit holders are one of the least dangerous demographics in the United States, regardless of their race, sex, or class. This is the narrowest possible end from which to attempt to fight crime. A 1999 study of Texas CHL holders compared them to the general population and found that they were 7.5-7.9 times less likely to be arrested for commission of a violent crime. Of the few who were arrested, nearly half had the charges dropped.

So we have a list of people who are nearly an order of magnitude more likely to be law abiding, and if they do get arrested, it’s about a 50/50 chance they walk. Doesn’t sound like the group law enforcement should be devoting time and money to monitoring does it? Well, so long as nothing bad happens, it’s just kind of a waste of time, and not actively harmful.

Except that’s precisely what happened. There is no objective good to be had from these de-facto registration schemes, ignoring the fact that they are illegal federally. So that leaves potential harm, and in this case, that harm was realized as hundreds of thousands of law-abiding gun owners had an electronic flag planted in their front yard announcing the presence of a highly prized item for violent felons, for anyone willing to do something about it. And that ignores the potential social impact of neighbors being able to look up who in the neighborhood might be one of those “Crazy gun nuts”.

Initially, we were told this leak was limited to concealed carry permit holders, but later they admitted it was data they’d stored from every application, rejected or approved. Given that concealed carry permits are an indicator of ownership of valuable weapons, and are often acquired by scared, vulnerable people (along with restraining orders and attempts to erase their public presence to evade stalkers, rapists, or violent ex’es), this is more than just an inconvenient violation of privacy. This could kill people at worst, and lead to robberies, or home invasions at best. So it’s no surprise that someone took up the mantle of forcing government accountability on this issue.

Lars Smith
Lars is one of Gat's Wordmancers, having come to the company after years of experience in biology, agriculture, management, marketing, and writing. He found the gun community through prepping, and after realizing where he was on the Dunning-Kruger scale, jumped into the self-defense community with both feet. Since then, the 80 hours of professional firearms instruction he's taken has only made him hungry for more.