A Pennsylvania county has to pony up $4 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought over failing to safeguard the personal information of firearm license applicants.
Monroe County has entered into a settlement with nearly 12,000 Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms applicants who had their confidential information potentially revealed between Sept. 2009 and March 2016.
During that period, the county mailed un-enveloped postcards to applicants that contained their names, address, and other personal information. The cards went not only to applicants but in some cases to personal references they had listed on their application and were sent out in the case of denials and revocations as well. Further, as the cards were routinely scanned by the U.S. Postal Service along with all general mail, the information will be in the USPS database forever.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2015 by four plaintiffs on behalf of the class, suing the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, claiming the agency's postcards violated the state’s Uniform Firearms Act, which details how LTCFs are processed, in addition to privacy concerns.
As explained by Joshua Prince of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group, the firm that represented the defendants, in addition to the settlement, the County has agreed to a permanent injunction prohibiting the use of un-enveloped postcards containing applicant information and will hold annual training on maintaining LTCF confidentiality.
"Provided no appeal is taken to the final approval, checks will start being sent out to all class members around November 12, 2020," noted Prince.