NRA seeks to block doxxing of California gun owners

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

I’m a fan of research.

I’m not talking about people hitting Google and reading a few articles. I’m talking about the search for discovery. Because I’m a fan of it, some might think I would be less than thrilled about an NRA lawsuit challenging a California law supposedly intended to facilitate research.

I’m not.

See, while research is good, a law that basically amounts to doxxing gun owners isn’t.

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.

I may love research, but this is ridiculous. There’s absolutely no reason for that particular data to be given to anyone.

See, researchers do need information, but why would they need names and addresses, much less things Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers?

Honestly, the state just giving this information to third parties should scare the crap out of each and every Californian. It shows just how little the state actually cares about your privacy.

Sure, they’re doing it with gun owners–a group that is generally not thought highly of in the state–but if they’ll do it to one group, they’ll do it to another.

Imagine if they did the same with everyone who had a traffic ticket or who has a dog license. Would that be any different?

Research is a wonderful tool, but the NRA is definitely right to file a lawsuit like this. There’s no bit of research that warrants such extensive personal information. Maybe race, age, sex, and neighborhood could be useful, but anything beyond that is an invasion of these gun owners’ privacy.

My hope is that the NRA wins and wins big.

Unfortunately, the vile piece of filth who voted to allow this won’t get punished for what they’ve done or, hopefully, just attempted to do.

The problem is that in California, gun owners are apparently seen as second-class Americans. Illegal immigrants get preferential treatment to gun owners, if we’re being honest about it.

It’s only too bad there aren’t enough of them in California to force that attitude to change.

Jul 03, 2022 8:30 AM ET