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CGF, CAL-FFL Letter to LA City Council re Electronic Data, Privacy

CGF, CAL-FFL Letter to LA City Council re Electronic Data, Privacy

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Published by Brandon Combs
Letter from attorney Jason Davis to the Los Angeles City Council on behalf of The Calguns Foundation and California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees regarding the proposed ban on firearm magazines
Letter from attorney Jason Davis to the Los Angeles City Council on behalf of The Calguns Foundation and California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees regarding the proposed ban on firearm magazines

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Published by: Brandon Combs on May 03, 2013
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 Law Offices of 
27201 Puerta Real, Ste 300, Mission Viejo, California 92691Direct (949) 310-0817/Fax (949) 288-6894 Jason
May 1, 2013The Honorable City CouncilOf the City of Los AngelesRoom 395, City Hall200 North Spring StreetLos Angeles, California 90012
Dear Members of the Los Angeles City Council,We write on behalf of The Calguns Foundation, Inc. and California Association of FederalFirearms Licensees, Inc. regarding the following City of 
Los Angeles’s
(the City) proposedordinance under review and listed on the City Council meeting, File Number 13-0113:AMENDMENT TO LOS ANGELES MUNICIPAL CODE, SECTION 55.11, TOINCLUDE THE ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF SALE OF RECORDS TO THELOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT.The proposed amendment presents serious privacy, identification theft, and public safetyconcerns. Specifically, the ordinance, if enacted, would require all ammunition transactions to be electronically
reported to the City’s Chief of Police. Reported information would include
(butnot necessarily be limited to):
The date of the transaction;
The name, address, and date of birth of the transferee;
The transferee’s driver’s license or other identification number and the state in which it
was issued;
The brand, type, and amount of ammunition transferred;
The name of the sales person who processed the transaction; and
The right thumb print of the purchaser or transferee.Such requirements have the potential to identify the very type of firearms possessed by the purchasers of the ammunition. For instance, a purchaser of .50 BMG ammunition is likely to
The Law Offices of 
 May 1, 2013
Page 2own a .50 BMG firearm. The ownership records of such firearms have been carefully protected by the State of California through restrictions placed on the dissemination and broadcast of suchinformation to protect the owner from theft and other criminal acts (
e.g. Penal Code §31105and The Firearm Owners' Protection Act (FOPA), Pub.L. 99
308, 100 Stat. 449, enacted May19, 1986, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 921
et seq
.).Unlike the state and federal records pertaining to firearm ownership, which expressly maintainthe privacy rights of the individual gun owner, the proposed ordinance provides no such privacy protections for firearm owners whose personal and firearm related information is contained inthe records required by the proposed ordinance. And, the state and federal protections againstthe disclosure of firearm owner information do not expressly apply to local records.Even so, if the City does take measures to amend the code and secure such data from public
disclosure, it is powerless to directly affect overriding state law; indeed, the public’s right of 
access to public records is enshrined in the California Constitution itself.The people have the right of access to information concerning theconduct of the people's business, and, therefore, the meetings of  public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.(Cal. Const. Art I, § 3 (b)(1).
See also
CBS v. Block 
(1986) 42 Cal.3d 646.)Moreover, the City does not require any encryption or secure storage for the reported data
(required to be held, also, by the seller for two years), only that the reporting occur “[w]ithin
five(5) calendar days
” and “in a method approve
d by the
Chief of Police.” In a place where
 worldwide distribution technology is not only a common but an intrinsic part of the culture andwhere
de minimis
privacy concerns can become front page headlines
, the City of Los Angeles isattempting to compile an extremely risky
and potentially life threatening
database with nosafeguards.
In fact, it could very well offer criminals a “who’s
who” list of gun owners to rob – 
  potentially providing criminals with easier access to information on the location of firearms andammunition.Moreover, the proposed ordinance does nothing to stop or deter crime, but does impose great penalties and burden upon local firearms dealers and ammunition vendors. Not only would thissenseless law increase the burden on dealers and be difficult to enforce, it would result inincreased passed-through costs to law-abiding consumers, thereby affecting a fundamental rightwithout a single fact supporting any connection with the reduction of crime.
Newspapers can access and publish firearm owner information (See http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/25/us/new-york-gun-permit-map) providing a roadmap for criminals to acquire firearms and ammunition and jeopardizing thelives and safety of the law abiding firearm owners and their families who reside within your City.

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