SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Attorney General Rob Bonta, the California Department of Justice, and several sheriff’s offices across the region are now warning concealed-carry permit holders and others that some of their personal information was publicly available online.
According to a release from the Office of the Attorney General, the information was available in a spreadsheet after a June 27 update of the portal.
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.
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 shut down the dashboard Tuesday morning.
The California Department of Justice is investigating how it happened, and the extent to which information could’ve been exposed from the dashboards.
They’re also working to notify people whose data was exposed, providing them with additional information, and offering credit monitoring services for anyone affected.
Matthew Larosiere, with the Firearms Policy Coalition, said the incident was a breach of trust.
“The simple fact is that these people have gone through flaming hoops to be able to get these permits. Why should you be exposing them to these additional risks? It doesn’t make sense. The only way forward, in my opinion, is stop holding lists of gunowners,” Larosiere said.
The advocacy group, which is focused on the right to bear arms, said it’ll continue to fight government policies that allow personal data leaks to happen.
Attorney General Rob Bonta said he was deeply disturbed and angered, and launched an investigation into how the breach happened.
"This unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable and falls far short of my expectations for this department,” Bonta said in a statement.
The California State Sheriffs’ Association (CSSA) issued an alert after learning about the data breach.
“It is infuriating that people who have been complying with the law have been put at risk by this breach,” wrote CSSA President and Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea. “California’s sheriffs are very concerned about this data breach and the risk it poses to California’s CCW permit holders.”
Honea said the risk of identity fraud is bad enough, but the added layer of gun ownership adds an extra sensitive layer. Some exposed permit applicants included judges and reserve peace officers.
“It alerts people who wish to them harm where they’re located,” Honea said.
Beyond that, he said any gun owner could be a target for theft, posing a risk to public safety.
"If this information falls into the wrong hands, people who might be inclined to break into someone's home have an address now they can target," Honea said.
The association said it will continue to monitor the situation while the investigation is underway.
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