BELLEVUE, WA – Attorneys representing the Second Amendment Foundation and its partners in a case concerning gun owner privacy in California have filed a respondent’s brief in the ongoing case of Barba v. Bonta, challenging the constitutionality of a 2021 law requiring the California Department of Justice (CAL/DOJ) to share extensive personal identifying information of gun owners in the state with a non-government research group.
Joining SAF in this legal action are the Firearms Policy Coalition, California Gun Rights Foundation, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, Orange County Gun Owners PAC, Inland Empire Gun Owners PAC and Ashleymarie Barba, for whom the lawsuit is named. They are represented by attorneys Bradley A. Benbrook and Stephen M. Duvernay at the Benbrook Law Group in Sacramento. The brief was filed with the California Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District, Division One.
In California, considerable personal information is required to purchase firearms or ammunition. This information is collected by CAL/DOJ. With passage of Assembly Bill 173 two years ago, CAL/DOJ now shares this information with the California Firearm Violence Research Center at UC Davis for non-law enforcement purposes. This has never been done before.
“It was an outrage when California lawmakers added this requirement to the state penal code,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “so we immediately sued to protect the privacy of millions of law-abiding gun owners in the state. AB 173 amounted to a radical change to the privacy previously afforded to California gun owners, and this cannot possibly be legal or constitutional.
“As we note in our brief,” he continued, “California assured gun owners for more than two decades their personal identifying information would only be used by CAL/DOJ and other government officials for law enforcement purposes. But with passage of AB 173, the Legislature went back on its word because the private social scientists at UC Davis wanted the data, which they can now share with other researchers. Gun owners were never informed of this change, let alone provided an opportunity to consent to this invasion of privacy.
“Politicians in Sacramento wonder why gun owners don’t trust them,” Gottlieb observed. “It’s because passing laws like AB 173 proves they can’t be trusted, and we’re asking the court to stop this outrage now.”