California gun owners are once again under attack, this time by the California Department of Justice. Due to California’s strict gun laws anyone wanting to purchase a firearm within the state must first demonstrate safety proficiency by obtaining a certificate of training from the DOJ. It’s a common practice for gun shop owners across the state to employ instructors certified by the DOJ to ensure that potential clients are provided with the knowledge deemed necessary to safely operate a firearm.
However, those instructors may soon find themselves the victims of fraud, harassment, or even violence. In October the California DOJ inadvertently released the names of hundreds of instructors permitted to issue these certificates to an unknown individual while responding to a California Public Records Act request.
Late last month the State began mailing letters to those who may be affected. In the notification the California DOJ admitted to releasing birth-dates, drivers licence numbers, and other personal information about those in the registry. The DOJ was careful to note that a request was made for the information to be destroyed. What the requester intends to do with the information remains to be seen, many are worried that the information could be used in fraud attacks while other fear something far more sinister.
In the past local anti-firearms organizations have targeted California gun owners by destroying their personal property and sending harassing messages to their homes and work. In a recent publicity campaign one such organization sent a Christmas card to some California gun owners which contained graphic images of wounds allegedly caused by firearms.
“This should serve as the evidence that you simply cannot trust this bureaucracy with a public registry,” -Rep. Carl DeMaio
Local radio host Carl DeMaio, a former City of San Diego Councilmen, has been victim to both verbal harassment and vandalism attacks against his home. “All Californians should be outraged that our state department of Justice has failed to keep this information private and this should serve as the evidence that you simply cannot trust this bureaucracy with a public registry,” he said yesterday afternoon.
DeMaio spoke with Second Amendment advocate Wendy Haufman on his radio program on January 5th, 2016. During the interview Mrs. Haufman expressed concern about what may be done with the information. “This is really personal information. I don’t want my personal home address released to the public.” She said during the interview. Haufman and her husband both received copies of the letter and are now concerned for the safety of their family.
Some local Second Amendment groups fear that this may have been a deliberate attack by the state, raising new concerns for other about the upcoming implementation of SB-1446. This law will soon require the CAL-DOJ to maintain a database of those who own and purchase ammunition within the state. Some question whether or not the state is capable of maintaining such a registry with out further incident. One can only hope that the individual who received the information will do the honest things and destroy it. California has promised legal action against the requester if he fails to comply with the state’s orders.
In the meantime the state has provided those involved with a one year membership to a fraud and identity theft watchdog system. No word yet on whether or not this “generous” act is in lieu of an actual apology.