Reason Roundup

California Accidentally Leaked the Personal Data of Thousands of Licensed Gun Owners

Plus: America's falling murder clearance rate, the Fed wrestles with inflation, and more...


The government of California inadvertently made public the names, birthdates, and addresses of hundreds or perhaps thousands of licensed concealed-carry permit holders who live in the state.

California's Firearms Dashboard Portal was launched earlier this week by Attorney General Rob Bonta. Its purpose, according to The Wall Street Journal, was to "improve transparency on the fraught topic." Bonta's office wanted residents to use the portal to obtain details on the number and locations of concealed-carry permit holders.

But on Wednesday, the government acknowledged that the dashboard had accidentally leaked some specific information on Californians who obtained—or were denied—permits between 2011 and 2021.

"Information exposed included names, date of birth, gender, race, driver's license number, addresses, and criminal history," said the California Department of Justice in a statement. "Social Security numbers or any financial information were not disclosed as a result of this event."

Several gun owners alerted the National Rifle Association (NRA) that they had obtained screenshots of the leaked information:

As of Tuesday afternoon, the California DOJ had removed the Firearms Dashboard Portal from its website.

However, on Tuesday an attorney for a firm that works with the NRA California state affiliate, California Rifle & Pistol Association, made clear that he had been provided with video evidence of the breach.

Likewise, firearm news outlet The Reload reported Tuesday that "[a] video reviewed by The Reload shows the databases with detailed information were initially available for download via a button on the website's mapping feature.

The attorney general called the leak unacceptable and vowed to get to the bottom of it.

"This unauthorized release of personal information is unacceptable and falls far short of my expectations for this department," said Bonta in a statement. "I immediately launched an investigation into how this occurred at the California Department of Justice and will take strong corrective measures where necessary. The California Department of Justice is entrusted to protect Californians and their data. We acknowledge the stress this may cause those individuals whose information was exposed. I am deeply disturbed and angered."

As he should be. Inadvertently or not, the state of California has violated the privacy rights of its citizens: not just concealed-carry permit holders, but countless people who sought to become permit holders and were denied over the course of the last decade. That no one's Social Security numbers were leaked is a relief, but the leaking of names and addresses could have any number of ill effects—including, potentially, the harassment of legal gun owners and firearms enthusiasts.

This breach calls into question the very idea of making even granular data about concealed-carry permit holders available to the public. Governments need to be transparent, but not at the expense of citizens' privacy. If the state of California cannot be trusted with such data, then it should not gather them in the first place.


The murder clearance rate in the U.S. has plummeted. In the 1970s, cops claimed to solve roughly 75 percent of all murders. Today, about half of murder cases are cleared, according to CBS News:

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson wonders if the earlier, high clearances rates were a "total farce." There's also some evidence to suggest that gun crimes constitute a higher proportion of murders now, making them harder to solve:

Some are blaming the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona decision, which clarified certain rights enjoyed by the accused, and nominally could have made it more difficult for cops to score convictions. (Miranda also made it more difficult for cops to score wrongful convictions, so even if it corresponded with a lower murder clearance rate, the tradeoff might have been worth it.) But several studies suggest this isn't the case:

Watch CBS's report on unsolved murders here.


Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said he is doing everything he can to bring inflation under control. CNBC reports:

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell vowed Wednesday that policymakers would not allow inflation to take hold of the U.S. economy over the longer term.

"The risk is that because of the multiplicity of shocks you start to transition to a higher inflation regime. Our job is literally to prevent that from happening, and we will prevent that from happening," the central bank leader said. "We will not allow a transition from a low-inflation environment into a high-inflation environment."

Speaking to a European Central Bank forum along with three of his global counterparts, Powell continued his tough talk on inflation in the U.S. that is currently running at its highest level in more than 40 years.

In the near term, the Fed has instituted multiple rate hikes to try to subdue the rapid price increases. But Powell said that it's also important to arrest inflation expectations over the longer term, so they don't become entrenched and create a self-fulfilling cycle.

"There's a clock running here, where we have inflation running now for more than a year," he said. "It would be bad risk management to just assume those longer-term inflation expectations would remain anchored indefinitely in the face of persistent high inflation. So we're not doing that."

Since the Fed started raising rates in March, market indicators of inflation expectations have fallen considerably. A measure of the outlook over the next five years that compares inflation-indexed government bonds to standard Treasurys fell from nearly 3.6% in late March to 2.73% this week.

"We're strongly committed to using our tools to get inflation to come down," said Powell. "The way to do that is to slow down growth, ideally keeping it positive. Is there a risk that would go too far? Certainly, there's a risk. I wouldn't agree that it's the biggest risk to the economy. The bigger mistake to make…would be to fail to restore price stability."


• Washington Examiner: Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony proves yet again that former President Donald Trump is unfit for office.

• NASA is confused about a "mystery rocket" that crashed into the moon.

• "Without a federal right to abortion, questions about how states can regulate speech about it suddenly become much murkier," says The New York Times.

Andrew Giuliani, son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, lost his primary election to become the Republican contender for governor of New York.*

• Top White House COVID-19 adviser Anthony Fauci is taking another round of Paxlovid to help mitigate his recurring symptoms.


*CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated that Andrew Giuliani was running for mayor of New York City.