BELLEVUE, WA — A California appeals court panel has unanimously denied a request from state Attorney General Rob Bonta for an immediate stay of an injunction in a case brought by the Second Amendment Foundation in a challenge of the state law allowing the state Department of Justice to share personal information about firearms owners with private researchers.

Bonta claimed the law, AB 173, “does not create a serious invasion of privacy.” The trial court disagreed, granting a preliminary injunction to the plaintiffs, thus placing a hold on enforcement of the information sharing law. The case is known as Barba, v. Bonta.

SAF is joined in the lawsuit by the Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc., California Gun Rights Foundation, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, Orange County Gun Owners PAC, Inland Empire Gun Owners PAC and a private citizen, Ashleymarie Barba. They are represented by attorneys Bradley A. Benbrook and Stephen M. Duvernay with the Benbrook Law Group, PC in Sacramento.

“We’re delighted the appeals court panel unanimously rejected Bonta’s effort to set aside the preliminary injunction because the privacy of California gun owners is important, even if he thinks otherwise,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Bonta is determined to supply gun owner information to biased researchers who, we believe, will use it to promote additional restrictions on their Second Amendment-protected rights.”

Gottlieb dismissed arguments by Bonta that the researchers take steps to protect identifying information about gun owners.

“That’s not the point,” Gottlieb said. “The point of our challenge is that this information is being shared at all, especially with non-government entities. This isn’t just about Second Amendment rights. California’s law clearly threatens the privacy rights of gun owners.”

The lawsuit was filed because of a change in the California Penal Code that required the state DOJ to share private information on millions of gun owners in the state, with the California Firearm Violence Research Center and others.