Appeals Court hands journalists big Freedom of Information Act win for gun data access

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals says federal authorities must hand over database records just as if they were paper records in a file cabinet, in a case launched by five media outlets, Harvard Law’s Cyberlaw Clinic, and 16 data journalists, including Eye on Ohio.

Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote in a ruling released Thursday: “Government transparency is critical to ensure the people have the information needed to check public corruption, hold government leaders accountable, and elect leaders who will carry out their preferred policies.”

Reveal, the Center for Investigative Reporting, originally sued for records in November 2017. The Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms never responded. ATF’s gun tracing database lists 6.8 million firearms linked to criminal activity. Reveal sought records for any gun traced back to law enforcement ownership. Read more.