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Investigation finds release of California concealed-carry permit applicant information was unintentional

The investigation found the release was unintentional and caused by a 'number of deficiencies within DOJ.'

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An investigation into the June 2022 release of personal information of Californians who applied for a concealed carry weapons permit between 2012-2021 is over.

The California Department of Justice retained the law firm of Morrison Foerster to conduct the investigation, which ultimately found the exposure of data on the Firearms Dashboard was unintentional and caused by a ‘number of deficiencies within DOJ.’

According to the report, those deficiencies include lack of training, expertise, and professional rigor; inadequate oversight; and insufficient documentation and procedures.

Based on the results of the investigation, the DOJ says it will review all policies and procedures related to the handling of confidential personal data and supervision of personnel handling the data; improve training about the handling of confidential personal data; improve the organizational structure; and develop an action plan in the event of future events involving confidential data.

“This unauthorized release of personal information was unacceptable. This was more than an exposure of data, it was a breach of trust that falls far short of my expectations and the expectations Californians have of our department,” said Attorney General Bonta. “I remain deeply angered that this incident occurred and extend my deepest apologies on behalf of the Department of Justice to those who were affected. I thank the outside experts for this independent report, which is an important step in our work to build trust and transparency. While the report found no ill intent, this incident was unacceptable, and DOJ must be held to the highest standard. This failure requires immediate correction, which is why we are implementing all of the recommendations from this independent report.”

The data was briefly available at the end of June following an update to the dashboard. After discovering the data — which is required to be collected by law — was publicly available, the California Department of Justice removed it from public view and Attorney General Rob Bonta's office notified the public on June 29.

They said the information exposed included names, addresses, date of birth, race, criminal history and more for anyone who applied for a concealed carry weapons permit in the past 10 years. Financial information and Social Security numbers were not visible, though.

You can read the full 61-page report here.

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