The allegations that Missouri officials are sending private gun owner information off to the federal government has hit the airwaves this week -- with a $400,000 ad blitz directly targeting Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat.
This radio and television ad campaign, which launched yesterday, comes less than a week after a judge said that there was only "hearsay evidence" that the Missouri Department of Revenue was sending records to the feds.
But that's not stopping critics of the department, who are now directly going after Nixon.
"The people in Missouri deserve better," says Carl Bearden, executive director of United for Missouri, which launched the ad blitz. "We need some accountability."
United for Missouri, a political nonprofit run by Bearden, a former Republican lawmaker in state, has also launched wrongwayjay.com to pressure the Nixon administration to address this controversy around the Department of Revenue.
The debate was sparked by a lawsuit from a private citizen who alleged last month that a change in state policy around the issuing of licenses meant he had to let officials scan his personal information into a system when he was applying for a concealed-carry permit. He and his attorneys argue this is illegal and a violation of privacy.
While that suit is somewhat narrow, Republican officials across the state have since raised broad questions about whether the state is storing and sending personal records to places outside of Missouri. They've applied pressure with hearings, proposed legislation, subpoenas and more. The Department of Revenue has testified that it is not sending anything to the feds, but that has not quieted critics.
Now, Missouri residents will hear about this in the form of short television and radio ads. Here's one spot, which directly alleges that Nixon has failed to stop Missouri officials from sending gun owner information to the "Obama administration."
Continue for more of our interview with Carl Bearden and for Governor Nixon's response.