California gun owners can relax. It appears unlikely that someone can do here what the Journal News did Saturday in New York state: Post an interactive map showing the names and addresses of every licensed handgun owner in two counties. [Read the Journal News article.]
That brought a violent reaction—mostly against the outing of the owners. One blogger posted the addresses and home phone numbers of newspaper staffers.
In California, the Public Records Act exempts home addresses of certain licensees from disclosure. In other words, the tool used by the New York paper wouldn’t work in California.
Individuals in California can inquire about their own license record, but “This form cannot be used to request firearm records for another individual,” says the online form. As well: “Please be advised that the [California] Department of Justice does not retain information regarding sales of rifles or shotguns. As a result, records of rifles and shotguns that are not assault weapons are limited.”
Whether an online map was right or wrong, would you be interested in knowing who in your neighborhood had a license to possess a pistol or revolver?