SAN DIEGO, CA (January 28, 2022) — The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) filed a new lawsuit today challenging California Assembly Bill 173, which requires the state’s Department of Justice to share the personal identifying information of millions of gun and ammunition owners with other parties for non-law-enforcement purposes. The complaint in Doe Brandeis v. Attorney General Rob Bonta, along with case information and documents, can be found at FPCLaw.org.
“Disclosure of Plaintiffs’ personal identifying information constitutes a severe privacy intrusion that is not adequately tailored to or justified by the state’s purported research interest,” the complaint states. “By forcing citizens to sacrifice one constitutional right (privacy) in order to exercise another (the right to keep and bear arms), AB 173 is unconstitutional.” Additionally, the complaint says that “the Legislature exceeded its power by eviscerating Proposition 63’s voter-mandated privacy restrictions and amending the statute to make personal information in the Ammunition Purchase Records File available to researchers on the same terms as [Automated Firearms System] data.”
“The right to privacy is deeply rooted in American tradition and the California Constitution. But the State of California has purposely created what may be the most insane and dangerous data leak in history,” said Adam Kraut, FPC’s vice president of programs. “It defies the bounds of logic and the state and federal constitutions for the government to require that an individual forfeit one right in order to exercise another. California’s AB 173 strikes directly at both the right to privacy and the right to keep and bear arms by providing all gun owner data to anti-gun academics against the will of the people in those databases. FPC looks forward to challenging this outrageous policy in court.”
The plaintiffs are seeking relief, including:
- A declaratory judgment stating that sharing gun owners’ personal identifying information violates the right to privacy secured by article I, section 1 of the California Constitution;
- A declaratory judgment stating that the Legislature’s amendment of Penal Code section 30352 is inconsistent with Proposition 63;
- A declaratory judgment stating that sharing gun owners’ personal identifying information violates the right to keep and bear arms secured by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution;
- Injunctive relief necessary to preserve the rights of gun owners;
- An injunction directing the DOJ to (1) cease providing any personal identifying information to researchers, (2) identify all information that DOJ, (3) identify all parties that DOJ has shared information with, and (4) direct the California Firearm Violence Research Center and any other research institution that has received personal identifying information to destroy all such information in their possession, custody, or control; and,
- Costs of suit, including reasonable attorney’s fees.
The lawsuit is helmed by attorneys Brad Benbrook and Stephen Duvernay of the Sacramento-based Benbrook Law Group, PC. In addition to being co-counsel, Duvernay is the Chief Senior Research Fellow at University of California, Berkeley School of Law’s California Constitution Center, where he has co-authored several published journal articles and provides commentary on state constitutional law. Duvernay also co-authored a forthcoming law review article on privacy law in California, entitled California Constitutional Law: Privacy, to be published in the University of San Diego Law Review.
Individuals who would like to join the FPC Grassroots Army or donate to support pro-Second Amendment programs to protect and restore the right to keep and bear arms should visit JoinFPC.org. For more on FPC’s lawsuits and other pro-Second Amendment initiatives, visit FPCLaw.org and follow FPC on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube.
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org), a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization, exists to create a world of maximal human liberty, defend constitutional rights, advance individual liberty, and restore freedom. FPC’s efforts are focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and adjacent issues including freedom of speech, due process, unlawful searches and seizures, separation of powers, asset forfeitures, privacy, encryption, and limited government. The FPC team are next-generation advocates working to achieve the Organization’s strategic objectives through litigation, research, scholarly publications, amicus briefing, legislative and regulatory action, grassroots activism, education, outreach, and other programs. FPC Law (FPCLaw.org), is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the leader in the Second Amendment litigation and research space.