California

Patterson calls for state audit into Bonta’s CCW data breach

A few weeks after the California Department of Justice exposed significant personal information on all of California’s concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit holders, one Valley is pushing for an emergency state audit. 

As a member of the Joint Committee on Legislative Audit, Asm. Jim Patterson (R–Fresno) is able to request an emergency audit and just needs the support of a fellow Assemblymember, a State Senator and approval from the chair. 

“The responsibility of the Department of Justice and the Attorney General is to see to it that Californians are safe, particularly as from those who want to harm Californians. This dump of information does just the opposite. These individuals – many of them victims of domestic violence, stalking, rape, security personnel, 140 current and retired state and federal judges,” Patterson said Tuesday. 

In late June, the Department of Justice posted personal information of people who were both granted and denied CCW permits from 2011-2021 on its website before taking it down within 24 hours. 

The information included names, ages, addresses, genders, races, driver’s license numbers, criminal histories, Criminal Identification Index numbers and license types.  

With over 240,000 people being impacted, the California State Sherif’s Association said that the breached information was copied before it was taken down and posted elsewhere online. 

“It is inconceivable to me how something like this can actually happen. There is no more private information that the Department of Justice and the Attorney General has in their possession than information about people who thought themselves at serious enough risk that they were able to demonstrate an outright need for a CCW permit and to receive it,” Patterson said. 

“And then to have that privacy betrayed by the very department that collected the information is really a question of how did we get here, how serious is this. And we need independent eyes, and that’s what our auditor will provide.” 

Patterson has long been a proponent of the California State Auditor, often speaking of the trust and success he has in the investigations. 

Recently, Patterson spearheaded the push for the State Auditor to look into the California State University system and the investigations into sexual harrassment at multiple schools. 

“The California State Auditor should be the one that handles this independent from any political pressure with the tools necessary to dig into how in the world a technological dump like this happened in the first place and provide the kind of direct recommendations necessary to fix this,” Patterson said. 

“No other source of investigation, in my judgment, is sufficient except an audit by the State Auditor. Everyone who has worked with the State Auditor, anyone that has gone through as I have numerous requests for audits and seen the result of their work is a manner in which we can have high trust in the very audit investigation and how this took place.” 

On the other hand, Patterson said he has not spoken to Attorney General Rob Bonta or the Attorney General’s Office for one simple reason. 

“I don’t trust them,” Patterson said. “And that’s why I think we have to have an audit.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.