Eric Griffin, a Stoddard County resident, applied to get a concealed-carry permit in Missouri because he didn't want to miss the opportunity.
"His initial motivation...was fear that he wouldn't be able to get one in the future," his attorney Russell Oliver tells Daily RFT. "He's not a big gun nut.... It was out of concern for protecting this right."
But what he uncovered, Oliver alleges in a new lawsuit, is that Stoddard officials, in with the Missouri Department of Revenue, are violating the privacy rights of gun owners by requesting and collecting personal information during this process. How?
The lawsuit, full version on view below, says that Griffin fulfilled all legal requirements and approvals to obtain his official "concealed carry endorsement" before he went to the Stoddard County License Bureau to finish the process by updating his driver's license. There, the lawsuit says, a "fee office agent" told him that on behalf of the Missouri Department of Revenue, it was required that the entire permit application -- his birth certificate and residency documents, such as utility bills -- be scanned into the department's system.
He would not be allowed to receive his concealed carry endorsement unless he let officials scan those personal documents, the suit says.
"Number one -- this is a violation of privacy," says Oliver. "But you are also adding an additional hurdle for something this person has a statutory right to.... My client has done everything he was supposed to to get this permit."
The argument is that under Missouri law, the revenue department is specifically prohibited from "collecting or retaining" any personal information in these processes.
Since the suit was filed on Monday, it has gotten some attention from outside of the state, with some news outlets saying the Department of Revenue may be compiling data on concealed carry holders and forwarding it to a company with ties to the government. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has spoken out in favor of the lawsuit, too -- and staged a press conference this week to express his support. He said in a statement:
This case has issues of statewide importance implicating serious privacy concerns for law-abiding citizens. These folks have followed the letter of the law and been approved for concealed carry by the proper authorities. They must not be required to share that information with any third parties or the federal government.
Continue for more from Russell Oliver and for the full lawsuit.
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