sutter county sheriff barnes
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sutter county sheriff barnes
Courtesy Facebook

By Larry Keane

If law-abiding gun owners needed another reason to be dubious of why their firearms ownership should be made public, the San Francisco Chronicle provided it. Fortunately, Sutter County Sheriff Brandon Barnes was strong on the side of gun-owners and did right.

Earlier this year on Jan. 10th, the San Francisco Chronicle sent a public records request to Sherriff Barnes demanding to know personal information about concealed carry permit applications and current permit holders. No surprise here, but the newspaper did not say why the info was needed. However, the Chronicle felt that information was crucial to the 22 million monthly readers it reaches as one of the top-five largest newspapers on the West Coast.

Pound Sand

Sheriff Barnes balked, sticking to his guns (and gun owners) as a strong protector of law-abiding American citizens’ Second Amendment rights. The county council advised against withholding the information and said he needed to provide some of the data. Sheriff Barnes did one better.

He sent a proactive letter to concealed carry permit applicants and permit holders that some of their information was given to the press, even though he “personally declined” to do so.

This is a poignant reminder why gun owners should be leery of public registries of their gun ownership.

Doxing Gun Owners – Again

This incident smacks of the time when the New York Journal News published an interactive map showing the home locations of concealed carry permit holders following the passage of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s disastrous SAFE Act. That article was taken down after a massive national backlash.

The San Francisco Chronicle has yet to disclose why they “need” the names and detailed personal information of concealed carry applicants and permit holders. Instead, when confronted, they resorted to deflection and virtue signaling in their response stating they were, “deeply disturbed by how some sheriffs have handled the common request” by a “respected and established news outlet.”

Fortunately for the law-abiding firearms owners in California, Sheriff Barnes said he’ll continue to give proactive notice to permit holders and applicants when these requests are made.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. From what I have read, the same FOIA was sent to every one of the 58 Sheriffs in the state. We suspect that the information will be used in a hit piece to suggest that “some” sheriffs (it is actually a majority) issue for no more “good cause” than “self defense” and that this is intolerable and their power must be reigned in. The Chron may want to do their own background checks to try to find people they will argue really shouldn’t have CCWs, and that to correct this “problem” (as a bill introduced last year proposed) the power to issue should be taken away and given to the DOJ. Of course, the DOJ has neither the money or the manpower to establish a new CCW licensing division (hell, they can’t handle the business with AW registrations much less the new ammo background check law) , but that is “a good thing.” And of course, the Democratic Party AG is seriously anti-gun, and probably will decide that no one but cops, part time cops, and judges have “good cause.” Along with the law banning the open carry of firearms in all urban areas, the public running around the streets will be completely disarmed.I cannot conceive of a more effective way to ban guns in public.

    The only fly in the ointment is that the Ninth Circuit decided that there is no right to carry a concealed weapon, it is a license granted at the discretion of the police. But with the law banning open carry the Ninth has painted itself into a corner on “and bear” arms provision of the Second Amendment. Logic demands that there must be some way of exercising the right, and if CCW is not the right, then open carry must. All cases seeking to resolve this issue have been stayed pending NYRPA v. NYC. Although I wouldn’t put it past the Ninth, the only way out of its conundrum is to declare all urban areas “sensitive places” where the government can ban guns. but the NYRPA case may stifle such an attempt.

    • “The only fly in the ointment is that the Ninth Circuit decided that there is no right to carry a concealed weapon, it is a license granted at the discretion of the police.”

      I’m no lawyer (painfully obvious!) but I can’t help but believe a very neat and orderly way for the Court to rule on the NYRPA v. NYC case would be to declare the right to bear exists outside the home, with only a very few narrow exceptions. It’s obvious they intend to disrespect the right, and Thomas may be eager to give the 2A the respect he believes it deserves. I think he’s quite aware that he’s not immortal, and may be interested in getting as much done as he possibly can with the time he has remaining.

      But then again, I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night…

  2. If the feds can make a HIPPA law they can sure as hell do it to protect the identity of CONCEALED permit holders. They are concealed for a reason. The newspapers should publish home addresses and phone numbers for all their employees if they want such records. Permit holders should sue for that.

    • In WA state you now have to waive HIPPA protections to purchase a firearm so it’s going in the opposite direction as your idea.

      • That is illegal, they can not ask you to wave a federal right. I would challenge this in Federal Court, you will win! Your health information is private, by the government of the United States, not your state.

      • “In WA state you now have to waive HIPPA protections to purchase a firearm…”

        Has anyone yet contested the constitutionality of that?

        • I know the whole initiative is being questioned. Until then it’s unnerving cause you have to check a box saying you understand that you’re waiving your HIPPA rights to purchase a firearm. My wife works in healthcare and was deeply troubled at the fact that I just assumed it was for the extended background check on the purchase. Another fun fact, having a CPL does sweet fuck all for getting to walk out with your piece on purchase. 10 arbitrary business days until one may take possession. It is as the French would say, le bullshit.

        • Not sure if this is related in any way but HHS promulgated a new rule several years ago allowing for certain HIPAA exceptions for reporting to NICS. I do not live in WA but it is possible state law prohibited health care providers from this type of disclosure. The waiver, or possibly authorization, would be used to bypass the state law. HIPAA is actually preempted by state law when state laws are stricter than HIPAA. Also a fun fact (though not really) is that your health records are actually the property of the health care entity.

      • I was shocked when I bought a .22 (camouflaged as as an AR) over Christmas. I thought maybe it was just an “ugly gun rule” but they got me again when I bought a BFR which is definitely not “ugly”. I am stuck in this State until I retire, but I am going to buy my guns online and apologize to my local gun shop.

  3. Sheriff’s 99% of them are on the side of the U.S. Constitution,,, their the best defense the gun owner’s have against the rest of the cop type organization’s that do whatever the politicians want them to do. P C cops are the worst… but that’s all they can get now because of the political environment that infects the east & west coast of America… blame the educators, they are mostly libs. Look it up, ratio of libs in education is 12 libs to 1 conservative, no wonder our young folks are so screwed up.

  4. Simple solution: If you find you permit info was revealed, any of it, then file a class action suit for five times the value of the SF Chronicle alleging… damages. Make it vague enough but believable enough that it won’t be immediately dismissed so you actually scare the company. Make the damages whatever you want.

    Then publicly offer to drop the suit in exchange for a bunch of information on SF Chronicle employees and readership.

    The company might not see what you did but their readership and employees sure as fuck will.

  5. The Sheriff is well intentioned but he is in violation of California law. The CCW application clearly states on Page 3 that “I understand that all information provided by me in this application may be subject to public disclosure”. Every CCW holder signed that contract and knows CCW granting agencies are required to comply with requests for information.

  6. No member of the chronicle employees should have any privacy whatsoever. Doxx them all. If you don’t understand we’re at War for our civil rights then you are totally clueless. As to what the enemy is really capable of.


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