California gun owners 'horrified' after state DOJ data breach exposes identities: 'Alarming situation'

Gun owners in California sound off that the data breach is an 'alarming situation'

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California gun owners and advocates said they were left "horrified" after a data breach within the state’s Department of Justice exposed the personal information of thousands of gun owners who applied for a concealed carry permit over the last decade. 

"We are absolutely horrified," Sam Paredes, executive director of the Gun Owners of California, told KCRA 3. "The biggest concern is, now you have given a roadmap to anybody with evil intent."

The California DOJ confirmed the data breach on Wednesday and has launched an investigation. The breach followed an update to the state’s Firearms Dashboard Portal Monday, and exposed personal information for people who were granted or denied concealed carry permits between 2011 and 2021.

"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. The information exposed included names, date of birth, gender, race, driver’s license number, addresses, and criminal history," the state’s DOJ said in a statement. 

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California Attorney General Rob Bonta announces that the state is appealing a decision by a federal judge to overturn a ban on assault weapons during a news conference at Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco, Thursday, June 10, 2021.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announces that the state is appealing a decision by a federal judge to overturn a ban on assault weapons during a news conference at Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco, Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group via AP)

The breach reportedly did not expose Social Security numbers or financial information. The Reload was the first to report on the breach Tuesday and found in the LA County database that about 420 reserve officers and 244 judges were also among those who had their information leaked.

"This is an alarming situation," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, told KCRA 3. 

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"At the end of the day, I think that there's been a real loss of peace of mind on the part of many law-abiding citizens," Honea added. "Now, they have to be concerned about falling into the wrong hands and being used in a way that causes them harm."

Paredes told Fox News on Wednesday that Attorney General Rob Bonta should resign over the leak, arguing he "is either massively incompetent, incredibly negligent, or willing to criminally leak information that he does not have the authority to leak."

The United States has the most heavily armed citizenry in the world.

The United States has the most heavily armed citizenry in the world. (iStock)

"This is so egregious that he should resign. He has placed tens of thousands of abiding citizens in California in harms way. That is not excusable with an 'I'm sorry,’" Paredes continued. 

It is unclear how many people saw their personal information leaked, though some have said the figure is in the hundreds of thousands. The California Rifle and Pistol Association is urging people to get their state lawmakers involved with the investigation to ensure "someone’s held accountable."

"We're getting them to write letters to the AG, demanding a full investigation demanding that someone's held accountable, or somebodies are held accountable, and that we get to the bottom of this, and we make sure this never, ever happens again," California Rifle and Pistol Association legislative director Rick Travis told KCRA 3.

The group added in comment to The Reload that they are exploring taking potential legal action against the state. 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The Attorney General’s office directed Fox News Digital to Bonta's Wednesday statement when approached for comment. Bonta said in the statement that "this unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable."

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"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," he said. 

Republican candidate for California Attorney General Nathan Hochman called the breach "one of the many tremendous failings of the Attorney General and his office."

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"Having the private data of citizens, people who have been able to get the permits … these are judges, law enforcement, domestic violence victims who were able to get that permit," Hochman said, according to KTLA. "To then put that information on the internet and allow anyone to have access to someone’s private data and address? This is one of the many tremendous failings of the Attorney General and his office. The fact they tried to quickly tried to take it off didn’t erase the error. I hope there is an investigation of the department of justice and Rob Bonta to find out how this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again."

Fox News’ Aubrie Spady contributed to this article.