BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Officials say a massive data breach leaked the personal information of hundreds of thousands of gun owners in California, including thousands right here in Kern County. If you have a concealed carry permit in California, your personal information could have been exposed this week.
The California Dept. of Justice scrapped its new gun information dashboard Tuesday, after the website publicly showed the names, addresses and license types of everyone with a concealed carry permit in the state. You can’t visit this website anymore … but some local gun owners say they still feel unsafe.
“You obviously get your concealed carry weapons permit for protection. To protect yourself, protect your family. The whole purpose of it is to be concealed,” said Juan Corona, a concealed carry permit holder. “Once it hits the internet, it’s out there.”
Law enforcement says it’s unclear how the information was released, how long it was visible, or whether personal data was posted elsewhere online before the site went down.
“We don’t have information that there was a hack,” said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. “What could have happened is that access was approved when it shouldn’t have. That particular part of their database should have been hidden when in fact it wasn’t.”
This issue hits close to home in Kern County. In 2020 the Kern County Sheriff’s Office issued 4,558 concealed carry weapons permits. By comparison, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he has issued just 904 permits in total since taking office in 2018.
The website Cal Matters reports the recently deleted website allowed users to download the personal information of more than 240,000 people granted or denied concealed carry permits around the state.
“There are a lot of people that don’t like weapons,” said Corona. “What are they going to do with that information, now that it’s out there?
Attorney General Rob Bonta says the state is investigating the scope of the data breach, and forming a plan to help anyone whose information was leaked. 17 News reached out to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office for this story, but the department says it’s waiting to comment until the Attorney General releases a report about the issue.