Honestly, I thought this week was going to be a bit slower than last. In the wake of the first major Supreme Court Second Amendment ruling in over a decade and the first new federal restrictions on gun ownership in several decades, I thought the news might slow down a bit. That wasn’t the case.
Instead, we broke the news that California leaked the private information of every concealed carry permit holder in the state. And now it turns out the leak was even larger than that encompassing data from dealer sales records, the “assault weapons” registry, and even information on “red flag” orders. The state says it is going to contact everyone who was affected and offer them credit monitoring. As you might imagine, gun-rights advocates want much more than that.
Of course, there was also a significant reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. States affected by the ruling scrambled to come up with a response. Gun-rights groups filed for a preliminary injunction against New York City’s restrictive gun carry licensing.
Wake Forest University Professor David Yamane also took a critical look at a pair of recent studies that claim some pro-gun reforms lead to statistically-significant negative outcomes. Contributing Writer Jake Fogelman did a rundown of the next big gun cases running through the federal court system, all of which were remanded on Thursday as he predicted.
Plus, National Review’s Charles Cooke joins the podcast to analyze Bruen and new federal gun ownership restrictions.
California gun owners have been put at risk by the Attorney General’s office after a new dashboard leaked their personal information.
The California Department of Justice’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal went live on Monday with publicly-accessible files that include identifying information for those who have concealed carry permits. The leaked information includes the person’s full name, race, home address, date of birth, and date their permit was issued. The data also shows the type of permit issued, indicating if the permit holder is a member of law enforcement or a judge.
The Reload reviewed a copy of the Los Angeles County database and found 244 judge permits listed in the database. The files included the home addresses, full names, and dates of birth for all of them. The same was true for seven custodial officers, 63 people with a place of employment permit, and 420 reserve officers.
California Plans to Alert Gun Owners Whose Information it Leaked
By Stephen Gutowski
Attorney General Rob Bonta (D.) said California is trying to limit the damage of its gun owner data leak.
Bonta confirmed on Wednesday the leak affected more than just concealed-carry permit holders. While all permit holders in the state were affected, data from the state’s “assault weapons” registry and dealer sales records was also leaked. Information on gun violence restraining orders, the state’s handgun roster, and firearms safety certificates were also part of the breach. The state said “names, date of birth, gender, race, driver’s license number, addresses, and criminal history” were included in the information that was made available on the state’s website for about a day.
The California Department of Justice (DOJ) said it would contact everyone affected by the breach.
“This unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable and falls far short of my expectations for this department,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “I immediately launched an investigation into how this occurred at the California Department of Justice and will take strong corrective measures where necessary. The California Department of Justice is entrusted to protect Californians and their data.”
The comments come after The Reload broke news of the leak on Tuesday. Concealed-carry permit records from Los Angeles reviewed by The Reload showed thousands of people had their personal information leaked. The list of data identified where the permit holders lived, their race, and whether they were members of law enforcement. The release put judges, celebrities, police officers, and regular citizens alike at risk.
The United States Supreme Court decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen was not surprising to many, but neither was the response by those opposed to it.
Of note are comments by New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D.) about how “the insanity of the gun culture that has now possessed everyone all the way up to even to the Supreme Court.” She called the decision “absolutely shocking” and “frightful in its scope,” which “could place millions of New Yorkers in harm’s way.”
Here Hochul connects the expansion of lawful gun carry with increases in accidental or intentional gun injury. In doing so, she is taking a side in a political debate over whether civilian gun carrying is a net positive or negative for society that is as old as gun carry laws themselves.
Since the concealed carry revolution of the late 20th century, this has become an empirical question. John Lott’s book, More Guns, Less Crime, is a touchstone in an ongoing back-and-forth among scholars with no resolution in sight.
Much of this academic debate takes place over my head statistically, but when new studies are published on the topic, I do try to understand the empirical basis for their claims. That’s why I want to discuss two such recent studies: “Analysis of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Self-defense Laws and Statewide Rates of Homicides and Firearm Suicides” by Michelle Degli Esposti, et al. and “Officer-Involved Shootings and Concealed Carry Weapons Permitting Laws: Analysis of Gun Violence Archive Data, 2014–2020” by Mitchell L. Doucette, et al.
Both of these studies examine the effect of liberalized gun carry laws on adverse societal outcomes.
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Gun Groups Ask Federal Court to Block NYC Carry Law
By Jake Fogleman
Less than a week after the Supreme Court struck down New York state’s “proper cause” requirement for issuing gun-carry permits, a pair of gun-rights groups are back in court seeking to block any further enforcement of the requirement in New York City.
The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), joined by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), filed a motion for preliminary injunction in federal court on Wednesday. The motion seeks an order permanently blocking the city from enforcing its discretionary permitting law.
“In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling that New York State’s ‘good cause’ mandate is unconstitutional, we felt compelled to file this action because the city’s ‘proper cause’ requirement is just as bad if not worse,” Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder, said in a press release. “Two of our plaintiffs previously held carry licenses in New York City for decades, but in 2020, both were denied renewal on the grounds they lacked ‘proper cause’.”
Officials across the country are gearing up to counteract the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn New York’s restrictive gun-carry licensing scheme.
Last week the Court struck down New York’s “special need” requirement for attaining a carry license on the grounds that it violated the Second Amendment, and the backlash from many Democrats was immediate and resolute. The ruling will force New York and a half dozen other states with similar laws to reexamine and replace their policies, but some lawmakers have already indicated a desire to push back against the judgment and maintain tight strictures.
Governor Kathy Hochul (D., N.Y.) was quick to decry the ruling as “reckless and reprehensible.” She announced her intent to bring the legislature back into session to address the subject. Hochul’s aim is to limit where firearms are permitted to be carried by blocking the ability to carry on private property unless explicitly stated otherwise by the owner.
“We’re going to protect the rights of private property owners; allow them to not have to be subjected to someone walking into their workplace or a bar, restaurant with a concealed weapon,” Hochul said in a press conference.
Two of the biggest gun stories in decades came to a head this week. The Supreme Court’s anticipated Bruen decision invalidate “may issue” gun carry permit laws nationwide just before the federal government passed its first new gun restrictions in a generation. These shifts are monumental.
That’s why this week we’re joined by one of the top pro-gun thinkers out there: National Review’s Charles Cooke.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman explains a new lawsuit against Colorado police who killed a concealed carrier after he stopped an active shooter.
Video of the show is also available on our YouTube channel.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court issued the most significant Second Amendment decision in more than a decade when it struck down New York’s restrictive “may-issue” standard for gun-carry permit issuance.
Justice Clarence Thomas, writing on behalf of the Court, found that allowing government officials broad discretion in determining when an otherwise law-abiding person can be issued a carry permit is unconstitutional. The ruling essentially establishes “shall-issue” permitting as the constitutional floor for gun carry nationwide. But beyond confirming a constitutional right to bear arms, the opinion explained the test lower courts will be expected to review Second Amendment cases by moving forward.
“When the Second Amendment’s plain text covers an individual’s conduct, the Constitution presumptively protects that conduct,” Thomas wrote. “The government must then justify its regulation by demonstrating that it is consistent with the Nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Only then may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.’”
This test, reliant on the text and informed by history, will have jurisprudential implications far beyond the right to bear arms outside the home. And with four other Second Amendment cases currently awaiting Supreme Court review, we could see the extent of those implications very soon.
Here’s a review of those cases awaiting a cert grant and what their fate might look like in a post-Bruen world.
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.