UPDATE: CA AG Admits Gun Owners' Personal Data Was Released Through Firearm Data Dashboard

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Wednesday afternoon, California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office issued a press release regarding the massive data breach RedState reported Tuesday which allowed the personally identifying information (PII) of numerous categories of gun owners in the state to be downloaded from its Firearms Dashboard. Bonta admitted that the breach occurred, and the press release detailed the types of personal information that were exposed and the categories of individuals affected – which turns out to be more widespread than first reported.


The California Department of Justice has announced that personal information was disclosed in connection with the June 27, 2022 update of its Firearms Dashboard Portal. Based on the Department’s current investigation, the incident exposed the personal information of individuals who were granted or denied a concealed and carry weapons (CCW) permit between 2011-2021. Information exposed included names, date of birth, gender, race, driver’s license number, addresses, and criminal history. Social Security numbers or any financial information were not disclosed as a result of this event. Additionally, data from the following dashboards were also impacted: Assault Weapon Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Certificate Safety, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards. DOJ is investigating the extent to which any personally identifiable information could have been exposed from those dashboards and will report additional information as soon as confirmed.

The press release doesn’t indicate exactly when the office was made aware of the breach, but states that the dashboard was shut down Tuesday morning and was publicly available for less than 24 hours.

It also included a statement from Bonta, who said an investigation into what happened is already underway:

“This unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable and falls far short of my expectations for this department. I immediately launched an investigation into how this occurred at the California Department of Justice and will take strong corrective measures where necessary. The California Department of Justice is entrusted to protect Californians and their data. We acknowledge the stress this may cause those individuals whose information was exposed. I am deeply disturbed and angered.”


An investigation is definitely needed, and corrective measures are welcome. However, in order for California gun owners to even have a scintilla of trust that when they abide by the state’s draconian gun control laws and necessarily provide the state with their personal information, that that information will be protected from public access, Bonta’s office must be transparent about how this breach occurred. Even with that transparency, California gun owners will still understandably be leery that the information they provide won’t end up being “accidentally” disseminated publicly or used by the state to harass them. But transparency is the right path, and it’s a good first step and would paint Bonta as a little more humane than former Attorney General Kamala Harris, who couldn’t have cared less about anything that would negatively affect the state’s gun owners.

And given that Bonta, a former Bay Area assemblyman who was appointed to this office and, therefore, has never won statewide office, is up for election in November, he needs to not appear to be an extremist. In the June 7 primary Bonta received 54.4 percent of the vote, but he knows he’s facing an electorate that’s not so keen on the state administration anymore. Newsom received 60 percent of the vote in the recall election, but that went down to 55.9 percent by the June primary. Two Democrat incumbents in statewide office (Superintendent of Public Instruction and Insurance Commissioner) received far less than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, and knowing that education and crime are two issues Californians are most angry about this year, Bonta doesn’t have a lot of ground to lose.


The Department of Justice will contact those whose information was exposed directly and provide instructions to sign up for free credit monitoring services.


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