PUBLIC RECORDS ACT REQUEST
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
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 restraining orders;
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 form):
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 results.
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:
email@example.com (Alan Gottlieb, Executive Director, Second Amendment Foundation)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim March, California CCW consultant, SAF)
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 through hoops.)
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 definition”:
(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 of Justice.
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:
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:
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 permit issuance;
* 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 request.
CC: All members of the California Senate Public Safety Committee;