Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Guns: After Firearm Privacy Lawsuit, Missouri Senate Wants Proof There's No State Conspiracy

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 11:00 AM


Is the Missouri Department of Revenue purposely tracking information about gun owners and sending documents off to the federal government or a private company? That's a question that Republican lawmakers in the state still seem to be asking this week after a resident hoping to get a concealed carry permit filed a lawsuit earlier this month alleging that the state was violating his privacy in the application process.

The latest GOP action in response, and perhaps the most aggressive, comes in the form of a subpoena from the Missouri Senate asking the state Department of Revenue to hand over all records regarding policy changes in driver's licenses and other identification documents. This demand, on view below, doesn't explicitly mention firearms, though is directed at the questions raised by the lawsuit.

What do the concerned lawmakers think they might find?

The allegations in the lawsuit -- which is aimed only at officials in Stoddard County (but has raised wide-ranging concerns about state policy) -- are that a "fee office agent" told resident Eric Griffin that on behalf of the revenue department, he was required to have his entire permit application scanned into the office's system. That includes his birth certificate, residency documents, utility bills, etc.

From there, lawmakers began questioning whether there was some sort of policy change through which the state was sending personal information outside of Missouri -- to a private company, perhaps, or to the federal government.

With all the heated talk of gun control in Missouri and beyond, some Republicans said they were concerned about any potential unfair targeting of law-abiding gun owners. In response, House Republicans drafted a bill that would officially ban the department from tracking personal information and would require that they destroy any such documents if they have already collected them.

Example of concealed-carry endorsement in Missouri. - VIA
  • via
  • Example of concealed-carry endorsement in Missouri.

State officials have testified that they are not sending personal records anywhere.

Not satisfied with this testimony, senators, via this subpoena, are demanding a broad range of documents from the department that could shed some light on any potential conspiracy here.

Daily RFT got a copy of the subpoena yesterday, which has an April 2 deadline for the department to respond. It says officials must produce:

All documents between the Department of Revenue and any federal agency, including but not limited to, the Department of Homeland Security or FEMA, regarding changes in procedures for the issuance of Missouri driver's licenses or non-driver identification cards....

All documents between the Department of Revenue and any Missouri or other state agency regarding changes in procedures for the issuance of Missouri driver's licenses or non-driver identification cards....

And on and on.

A spokesman for the department did not respond to requests for comment yesterday from Daily RFT.

Here's the full subpoena.


Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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