New California Law Attacks the Privacy Rights of Gun Owners

Gun owners in California will now be facing a new set of infringements on their right to bear arms and privacy  after the passage of a new law that allows gun violence researchers to have access to California gun owners’ personal information.

According to a report by Jake Fogleman at The Reload, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 173 into law on September 23, 2021.

Under AB 173, the California Department of Justice is ordered to identify individuals who purchase firearms and ammunition to a research center the University of California Davis recently created or any university that requests such information. Some of this information includes the purchaser’s name, address, birthday, the items they purchased, the date they bought the items, and where they bought the items, among other data points.  

According to the bill’s language, “This bill would name the center for research into firearm-related violence the California Firearm Violence Research Center at UC Davis.” It added,“The bill would generally require that the information above be made available to the center and researchers affiliated with the center, and, at the department’s discretion, to any other nonprofit bona fide research institution accredited by the United States Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, as specified, for the study of the prevention of violence.”

In effect, an anti-Second Amendment activist can obtain the sensitive private information of gun owners provided that they have “proper” academic credentials. Academia is already left wing so this legislation is very much designed to use academic institutions as a way to harass gun owners and violate their privacy rights.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association firmly criticized the bill after the California State Legislature approved it and demanded that Governor Gavin Newsom veto it. Nevertheless, the bill ended up being signed into law. Though the CRPA did suggest it has a legal strategy up its sleeve to challenge the law once it goes into effect. Their statement read as follows:

The identities and confidential personal information of individuals should only be provided by DOJ or other state entities to law enforcement agencies when conducting an investigation that has a specific need for it. No other entity – not even research institutions – has sufficient justification to have access to an individual’s private information. Research conducted by the California Firearm Violence Research Center and other institutions to prevent violence should not be about individuals and their personal information, rather about a broad-based study about the prevention of violence, where an individual’s specific personal information is irrelevant.

Most importantly AB 173 is in direct violation of the California Constitution which states in Article 1, Section 1, “All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.” In all, the California Constitution names “privacy” as a fundamental right of all Californians five times!

California is an anti-gun cesspool. It’s currently ranked in 47th place according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s Best States for Gun Owners rankings. The only way out for gun owners in the Golden State is through sanctuary counties that nullify statewide control, litigation, or just flat out leaving the state for more pro-gun states such as Nevada, Arizona, or Texas.

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