What we're going to show you here at AFA is something
unusual: a document just filed by the Second
Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org)
to the heads of the California Department Of Justice
Firearms Division. This document requests public records
regarding Carry Concealed Weapons permits issued under
this state's "discretionary" system.
This is part of a battle that's been raging for years
over access to this data; despite one winning trip
to the California Supreme Court, no solid accounting
has ever been done to expose the level of racism,
gender bias and county-by-county links between permitholders
and the sheriff's campaign fund.
The full text and a short synopsis of the California
Supreme Court CBS vs. Block (1986) decision is here:
There is an ongoing legislative battle over access
to these records, as the California DOJ tries to pass
AB1044, a bill to eliminate DOJ's copies of the records
and help block access to local copies. More on that
fight, including a 14-minute video of a legislative
session, can be found at:
So far, we have partial info on the extent of wrongdoing
in permit issuance on Jim March's site:
- look under the "Expose Project" for case
reports of corruption, racism and general illegality
in permit handling.
The reason this California fight matters on a national
level is that while "discretionary gun permits"
are not unique to California, this state has better
access to the records than any other, despite the
obvious problems being encountered.
With that out of the way, and knowing that THIS BELOW
is giving some bureaucrats an Excedrin[tm] headache...enjoy
PUBLIC RECORDS ACT
This is a PRAR by the Second Amendment Foundation of Bellevue,
WA for records associated with the California “CCW” (Carry
Concealed Weapons) program.
Firearms Division, California Department of Justice
P.O. Box 820200
Sacramento, CA 94203-0200
Attention: Randy Rossi or Tim Rieger
This request is designed to be easy to respond to, based
on access to and electronic transfer of a subset of the
Firearms Division’s database of CCW issuance. We have crafted
this request in a fashion that should require no more than
an hour or two of a single competent database analyst’s
time, and probably well under an hour.
We are aware that there will be some debate over the release
of these records. To reduce the odds that this matter will
require litigation, we have included our legal analysis
of the situation as an addendum after the actual info request.
It is not our intent in this or any follow-up
PRAR to gain access to any genuinely confidential records,
which would include any of the following:
a) Criminal, medical/psychological records or records of
b) Phone numbers (personal or business);
c) Street addresses (personal or business);
d) Driver’s license numbers;
e) Social security numbers;
f) Information on the guns permit applicants own, including
weapons make, model, serial number and caliber. (As this
information is a partial duplicate of the state’s handgun
registration database which is confidential by statute,
a good case can be made that it is confidential information
in the CCW records.)
If any request below appears to ask for the above items
“a” through “f”, it is accidental on our part and we do
NOT want any of that sort of information.
We are, however, requesting the material below:
Public Records Requested(electronic
1) We are aware that the California DOJ Firearms Division
maintains a database of current permitholders. We are generally
aware of the contents of that database, as a description
of it was reported to our California associate Jim March
on 6/18/02 by DOJ staff. We want a copy of that database,
prepared and redacted in the following manner:
a) Export it out to Microsoft Excel (preferred) or to a
similar “flat file database”. This may require exporting
the data to a Comma Separated Value (.CSV) text file from
it’s original source and then importing that into Excel
or another simple database.
b) Strip out each database field containing confidential
information, leaving behind only that data we ask for below.
In Excel, that would mean eliminating specific columns of
data, which takes one mouseclick per column to highlight,
and then one press of the “delete” key to eliminate. We
don’t care if there are “empty gap columns” in the final
c) We are asking DOJ staff to leave in place the following
columns (or “database fields”) of information:
* Permitholder name
* Issuing agency;
* Date of application;
* Permit type (judge/reserve/standard/90-day);
* City of residence;
* Country of citizenship;
* Occupation of permitholder;
* Permitholder date of birth.
IF any of these “database fields” (or Excel columns) are
NOT present in the ordinary central database of permitholder
info, let us know and we will omit the request for that.
We suspect this may be the case for the “Country of citizenship”
and possibly “date of birth” – we do not want to force you
to access paper records to fill that material in.
Once anything confidential is stripped out of the database,
please perform an Excel “export” function (or equivalent
in the database of your choice) to a Comma Separated Values
(.CSV) file. This file should then be small enough to transport
as a standard Email attachment – please send it to the following
two Email addresses:
The California Public Records Act ensures electronic access
to electronic records. Sending us the .CSV text file result
by Email will be cheaper and faster for both parties than
printing it and mailing it to us.
(Note: obviously, if your primary database program where
the records are initially stored is sophisticated enough
to export only certain fields to .CSV, this is perfectly
acceptable. But it’s usually easier to “massage it in Excel”
versus trying to get a “big iron database program” to jump
2) We want to know how many records of CCW denial your
agency has, for the following law enforcement agencies:
2A: Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department
2B: Jan Joaquin Sheriff’s Department
2C: Sacramento Sheriff’s Department
2D: Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department
2E: Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department
2F: San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department
2G: Alameda Sheriff’s Department
2H: San Diego Sheriff’s Department
2I: San Jose Police Department
2J: Culver City Police Department
This is only a request for the total denials for each,
for now – this request is to enable us to prepare a follow-up
PRAR that will cause the least impact on your department.
If collecting this denial information will take longer than
the “database with confidential field information stripped
out” request #1, please deal with request 1 first and let
us know how much time request #2 will take.
We also need to know what form the denial data is in –
paper records only, or is it in database form?
Please send this “denial summary data” to us in Email to
the addresses noted previously.
Addendum - Legal Analysis:
We believe that each of these items is public record per
CBS vs. Block 230 Cal.Rptr. 362. We are aware of your department’s
position on release of this information from your agency,
based on your testimony on AB1044 and your prior “squabble”
with March. Our legal staff has performed an analysis of
Penal Codes 11105 and 11106 and while this is an unusual
step, we are going to share our analysis with you so as
to attempt to avoid further litigation and expense for both
parties. You may, however, view this PRAR in large part
as a pre-litigation demand letter.
The first sentence of PC11105 reads:
11105 (a) (1): The Department of Justice shall maintain
state summary criminal history information.
As you are aware, 11105 goes on to define exactly what
“criminal history information” is; this is in part a “negative
(B) "State summary criminal history information"
does not refer to records and data compiled by criminal
justice agencies other than the Attorney General, nor does
it refer to records of complaints to or investigations conducted
by, or records of intelligence information or security procedures
of, the office of the Attorney General and the Department
So first, we feel that CCW records, in addition to being
clearly public by other statutes and case law, are “records
and data compiled by criminal justice agencies other than
the Attorney General” and hence “not criminal records”.
In addition to that argument:
PC11105 provides a means for sharing “criminal history
data” with law enforcement and other specified recipients
electronically, provides for the confidentiality of such
criminal records, and goes on for miles about exactly who
can get them – law enforcement, DAs, nuclear power plant
security managers, etc.
Penal Code 11106 came later. The first paragraph reads:
11106 (a): In order to assist in the investigation
of crime, the prosecution of civil actions by city attorneys
pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (c), the arrest
and prosecution of criminals, and the recovery of lost,
stolen, or found property, the Attorney General shall keep
and properly file a complete record of all copies of fingerprints,
copies of applications for licenses to carry firearms issued
pursuant to Section 12050, information reported to the Department
of Justice pursuant to Section 12053, dealers' records of
sales of firearms, reports provided pursuant to Section
12072 or 12078, forms provided pursuant to Section 12084,
reports provided pursuant to Section 12071 that are not
dealers' records of sales of firearms, and reports of stolen,
lost, found, pledged, or pawned property in any city or
county of this state, and shall, upon proper application
therefor, furnish to the officers mentioned in Section 11105,
hard copy printouts of those records as photographic, photostatic,
and nonerasable optically stored reproductions.
It appears to be DOJ’s position that 11106 somehow “seals”
the records of CCW issuance referred to as Penal Code 12050
and 12053 data.
We don’t see that at all. The various types of data in
this paragraph can of course be shared with law enforcement
across the same “channel of electronic communication” first
created in 11105 for criminal history records.
But we do not believe the nature of each type of data is
thereby “transformed”. Some of the records in this opening
paragraph are of course confidential, but the CCW records
(PC 12050 and 12053) clearly aren’t.
Support for our position can be found in the remainder
of Penal Code 11106. Section “b” of PC11106 bans the DOJ
from maintaining long-gun records and is not relevant to
this analysis. “Section “c” however is relevant, as it creates
a handgun (“concealable firearm”) registry and then places
specific data-access limits on that information, but not
on CCW records:
11106 (c) (3): Information in the registry
referred to in this subdivision shall, upon proper application
therefor, be furnished to the officers referred to in Section
11105, to a city attorney prosecuting a
civil action, solely for use in prosecuting that civil action
and not for any other purpose, or to the person listed in
the registry as the owner or person who is listed as being
loaned the particular pistol, revolver, or other firearm
capable of being concealed upon the person in the form of
hard copy printouts of that information as photographic,
photostatic, and nonerasable optically stored reproductions.
Note the use of the term “solely” as a limit on the access
of the handgun registry data, plus it allows the specific
release of individual data to that individual (presumably
so that they can check the accuracy in their own case).
If the first paragraph of PC11106 had acted to “seal”
any records from the public, much of the later 11106 provisions
regarding the privacy of firearms ownership records would
be unnecessary as they’d have been sealed in 11106 paragraph
#1. CCW records (12050/12053) are not mentioned again
in 11106 except for the first paragraph. As a result, 11106
as a whole acts to preserve the confidentiality of some
records in 11106’s first paragraph, but not others and specifically
not CCW data, as that has been declared public elsewhere
(GC6254(u) and CBS vs. Block).
Since there clearly is confidentiality in handgun ownership
data later in PC11106, we are not asking for the gun ownership
records held within the CCW data as that is a “subset” of
the confidential “whole”.
We do not believe that the “occupation” and “permit type”
(judge/reserve/standard) fields fall into the protection
in Government Code 6254(u) on “information that would reveal
the time and/or place of vulnerability” of the applicants
or permitholders. Instead, they reveal “general trends”
in issuance practice, specifically:
* Tendencies towards “issuance to government officials
ONLY” by some agencies in violation of Salute vs. Pitchess
61 Cal. App. 3d 557;
* Trends towards issuance solely for “business reasons”
that will tend to create racial and economic disparity in
* The “permit type” and “occupation” data can also be used
to identify situations where women and/or people of color
are only getting permits when they are connected with government
employment, another common trend we believe results in equal
protection violations under the 14th Amendment. The Contra
Costa County sheriff has issued 179 permits last we checked;
one went to a female and she is a judge. We suspect that
sort of thing is common and will use the resulting database
to do a more comprehensive and statistically valid analysis.
In short, we believe there are compelling public policy
implications in the release of this data, which dovetail
perfectly with the California Supreme Court’s mandate for
public oversight in this area of law for the purpose of
ensuring impartiality and legality.
We ask for your prompt and professional response to this
Executive Director, Second Amendment Foundation
CC: All members of the California Senate Public Safety
Assemblywoman Gloria Negrete McLeod
The Second Amendment Foundation is the nation's oldest and
largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal
action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage
to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974,
The Foundation has grown to more than 600,000 members and
supporters and conducts many programs designed to better
inform the public about the consequences of gun control.
SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits
against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San
Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against
the cities suing gun makers & an amicus brief &
fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as
an individual right. On the web: www.saf.org
Armed Females of America E-mail Us
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