Doxing — the release of a person's private information to the public — may be illegal if the intention is to harass or intimidate the person who was doxed. Yet the state of California appears to be actively promoting the doxing of law-abiding firearm owners.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 173 into law last September, which requires the state to release private information of the state's gun owners to academics and researchers at the "California Firearm Violence Research Center at UC Davis for academic and policy research purposes."
The information to be disclosed includes "a gun owner's name, address, place of birth, phone number, occupation, driver's license or ID number, race, sex, height, weight, hair color, eye color, and even their Social Security number and types of firearms that they own," according to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA).
The identifying information describes law-abiding gun owners who legally acquired the weapons and have not been accused of committing any crime.
Last week the NRA filed a lawsuit on behalf of five unnamed California plaintiff-gun owners, identified only as Jane Doe and John Doe numbered 1 through 4. The lawsuit seeks to block the state attorney general from releasing the information in accordance with the provisions of AB-173.
The complaint alleges that "Turning over Plaintiffs' Personal Information to the University of California Davis or other accredited research institutions, within or without California, would greatly increase the risk of unauthorized and unwarranted dissemination of Plaintiffs' protected Personal Information to the public, putting Plaintiffs and their families at great personal risk."
Academics and firearm violence researchers are perhaps among the most hostile to the idea of private gun ownership, increasing the likelihood that, as the NRA lawsuit says, "unwarranted dissemination of Plaintiffs' protected Personal Information" would result.
This isn't the Golden State's first foray into limiting Second Amendment rights, according to Jason Ouimet, NRA-ILA executive director.
"California must be held accountable for its near-constant, unconstitutional assaults on law-abiding gun owners and the Second Amendment," said Ouimet. "This law strips privacy rights from anyone who has ever purchased a firearm, transferred a firearm, purchased ammunition, or obtained a concealed-carry license. This is an outright violation of our rights and must be reversed."
The NRA-ILA announced Tuesday that it had asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order to protect gun owners' privacy pending the final decision in the lawsuit.
This is "an unprecedented invasion of privacy of millions of Californians who purchased firearms and ammunition, or who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon," the motion argues. "The public release of Plaintiffs' Personal Information threatens Plaintiffs' personal privacy and physical security. Indeed, firearm owners often encounter concerted harassment, sometimes including violence, and they are frequent targets of criminal efforts to steal firearms from their homes and businesses."
The court scheduled a hearing on the motion for Wednesday, Jan. 19.
Individuals and organizations opposed to private gun ownership have increasingly attempted to dox gun owners, but each time they failed. They include:
• An editorial published last summer in the Boston Globe
• In 2019, a Maryland Democratic Party official
• The San Francisco Chronicle demanding lists of concealed carry permit holders
But California's AB-173 is the first time in memory that a state has actually set into motion a mechanism to promote doxing — apparently to address the "emergency" of gun violence.
But the violence isn't committed by law-abiding gun owners. It's committed by criminals. That's why they're called criminals.
Therefore it's pretty obvious that it's not gun violence the state is trying to eliminate. It's private gun ownership it wants to destroy and we can't let that happen.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter who can often be found honing his skills at the range. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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