On its face, this might seem like a ludicrous question, but a series of data breaches in high-profile “gun control” jurisdictions reveal that the release of gun owners’ private information is far more common than most are comfortable with.
On March 15, 2019, a deranged fool shot and killed 51 people and injured another 40 at two Christchurch Mosques.
In response, the New Zealand government banned a wide swath of legally-owned firearms and imposed a “gun buyback” scheme on the nation.
When the government database of firearm owners was “updated” by the software vendor SAP, private data of over 37,000 firearms owners – including home addresses, bank account information and the firearms they owned – was released to a network of firearm dealers across New Zealand.[i]
Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement said New Zealand gun owners “could still trust the gun buyback system” and they “did not need to be concerned” about their personal security and safety.[ii]
In another New Zealand data breach – this time through a theft from an Auckland Central police station – firearms licensing information and personal data was found in the thieves’ possession.
“Police would like to reassure the public that this matter is being taken extremely seriously and the protection of all people’s information is of the utmost importance which is why there is a significant ongoing investigation underway,” said Auckland City District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus.[iii]
On March 22, 2022, Western Australian police released maps containing the home addresses of every licensed firearm owner in Western Australia.[iv]
News outlets published the data, which caused panic and outrage among the licensed firearm owner community – with good reason.
Firearm owners are constantly told to keep their firearm possession a secret so criminals don’t find them, break into their homes and steal their guns. Yet the government intentionally published the home addresses of every licensed firearm owner in the state.
“There is something like 350,000 firearms out there, a hell of a lot of them are probably lying around, mostly unused, if not all, in a state that is very attractive for a criminal to steal,” said Police Minister Paul Papalia.[v]
Publishing maps with the home addresses of licensed gun owners will certainly help criminals turn that bizarre thought into reality.
On June 27, 2022, the California Department of Justice published private, personal data, including names, addresses and birth dates of gun owners who applied for concealed carry permits between 2011 and 2021.[vi]
“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,” said a statement by California’s DOJ.
This was not a mistake. This was the direct result of an “update” to the state’s Firearms Dashboard Portal.
The state took great pains to say that Social Security numbers were not released during this massive violation of privacy rights – as if handing criminals a shopping list of firearm owners’ home addresses was somehow mitigated by the lack of a Social Security number.
“We are absolutely horrified,” said Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta “is either massively incompetent, incredibly negligent, or willing to criminally leak information that he does not have the authority to leak,” Paredes said.
“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.’”
Here in Canada, Access to Information responses from the RCMP show that the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) is regularly breached by unauthorized individuals.
Between 1995 and 2010, CPIC was breached an average of 32 times per year.[vii]
A follow-up ATIP response showed the breaches have continued through the end of 2017.[viii]
“From 1995 to present (March 22, 2018) 6,926 possible misuses of the CPIC system have been reported. Of those, 269 have been investigated and founded, while 748 have been determined to be unfounded. The remaining 5,320 incidents are either still under investigation or the CPI Centre has not been advised of the results of the investigations.”
While it’s not rational to conclude these ongoing breaches of the RCMP’s computer system are intentional, there is a case to be made that the RCMP is unwilling to keep sensitive information private.
When the RCMP Canadian Police Information Centre doesn’t know and, worse, seemingly doesn’t care about the status of 77% of those data breaches, it’s impossible to believe the RCMP cares about the personal privacy or physical safety of Canadian gun owners.
Do you worry that your private information has or maybe exposed in CPIC breach?