A California appeals court panel has denied a request from state Attorney General Rob Bonta for an immediate stay of an injunction granted in a case challenging AB 173, which allows the state Department of Justice to share information about firearms owners with private researchers, according to the Second Amendment Foundation.
SAF is a plaintiff in the case, along with the California-based Firearms Policy Coalition, Inc., California Gun Rights Foundation, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, Orange County Gun Owners PAC, Inland Empire Gun Owners PAC and a private citizen, Ashleymarie Barba. They are represented by attorneys Bradley A. Benbrook and Stephen M. Duvernay with the Benbrook Law Group, PC in Sacramento.
In his request for the stay, Bonta contended AB 173 “does not create a serious invasion of privacy.” But that argument hit a sour note with SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, who thinks any invasion of privacy is serious.
“That’s not the point,” Gottlieb said Thursday. “The point of our challenge is that this information is being shared at all, especially with non-government entities. This isn’t just about Second Amendment rights. California’s law clearly threatens the privacy rights of gun owners.”
SAF and its partners filed the case earlier this year in San Diego County Superior Court. The concern then as it is now is about gun owner privacy. In a prepared statement, Gottlieb expressed concerns that Democrat Bonta “is determined to supply gun owner information to biased researchers who, we believe, will use it to promote additional restrictions on their Second Amendment-protected rights.”
“In their zeal to treat California gun owners as second- or even third-class citizens, anti-gunners in Sacramento forget that those citizens have rights including the right to privacy,” Gottlieb said earlier this year when describing AB 173. “More than 4 million California gun owners have a reasonable expectation that their personal information is protected by the law and the state constitution. We will not stand idly by while their privacy is violated under the guise of research that has nothing at all to do with law enforcement.”
California is one of a handful of states directly impacted by the Supreme Court ruling in the Bruen case, striking down New York’s law requiring good cause in order to get a concealed carry license in the Empire State. The law had been in existence for a century, but was finally nullified in June.