For the last week or so, rumors have been floating around implicating the Missouri Department of Revenue, through its subsidiary Department of Motor Vehicles, in a systematic program of illegally copying Missouri concealed carry license information and, worse, illegally sharing it with other parties, including the federal Department of Homeland Security.
Probably first on the case was the Missouri Family Network, citing confidential informants, breaking not only that news last week, but also warning of the possibility that one’s license (in Missouri, concealed carry licensees have the option of either incorporating their carry license into their driver’s license, or being issued a separate card) would broadcast this ostensibly private information,via an RFID chip in the license card.
Since then, the story has gained traction, after Missouri resident Eric Griffin filed suit against the Department of Revenue when he was denied a concealed carry license because he refused to allow the scanning of this information (the issuing authority is the Sheriff’s Department, to whom Griffin had already provided the required information–so the DMV had no legitimate need for the information). The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday:
The Revenue Department recently rolled out new drivers’ licenses with enhanced security features that are supposed to curb the risk of identity theft and fraud. Because of the new security features, the licenses are mailed to recipients.
A Stoddard County man filed a lawsuit this week claiming that the new state system for issuing those violates privacy rights because it allows personal and private information to be collected and then disseminated to a private party and the federal government.
Stoddard County prosecuting attorney Russell Oliver clearly takes these allegations seriously.From Missourinet:
Stoddard County Prosecutor Russell Oliver say his county’s license office is requiring concealed carry permit applicants to turn over documents with their applications, to be scanned. He says that’s a violation of state law.
“State statute … prevents the collection of any personal information by the Department or Revenue or their fee office agents.”
Oliver filed the suit not as Prosecutor [but] as an attorney representing a private citizen, Eric Griffin, who tried to get his concealed carry permit yesterday morning.
Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder is also fully on board, as reported by Dana Loesch(see sidebar video for Loesch’s interview with Kinder):
Department of Revenue is working with the Department of Homeland Security to install new hard and software to obtain data on Missouri citizens and transfer this information to DHS and unnamed third parties, says Kinder. Kinder and the Stoddard County Prosecutor today took legal action and held a press conference outlining the infringement on civil liberties as posted by the DoR and DHS. The move by the departments is related to the Real ID.
Loesch reports that this legal action has already yielded a temporary restraining order blocking further information plundering by the Department of Revenue.
Additionally, Missouri state Representative Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) has introduced HB 787, to “Prohibit the Department of Revenue from retaining copies of source documents used to obtain driver’s licenses and nondriver’s licenses. In the Senate, Senator Will Kraus’s SB 252 would do much the same thing.
While these bills seem well intentioned, their value appears to be undermined by the simple fact that what they outlaw is already illegal, as Representative Casey Guernsey (R-Bethany) told Missourinet:
Guernsey says a 2009 law passed by the General Assembly expressly made such collections and dissemination of information illegal.
“I think it is plenty clear, and it is abundantly obvious the intent of the legislation, not to mention the language that we put in statute to prevent this sort of thing from happening.”
This legislation would ban conduct that is already a crime–a crime for which the perpetrators have some historical justification for believing they will never face any consequences.
Luckily, there is a simple solution. If defensive firearm carry licensees’ privacy is threatened by the state’s unwillingness to enforce the protections of that privacy, the obvious solution is to stop requiring any license for the exercise of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.
It is, after all, a right that shall not be infringed, and any right that cannot be exercised without a government permission slip is not only infringed, but reduced to a mere privilege, to be granted or denied at the state’s whim.
Missouri bureaucrats have proven themselves unworthy of being entrusted with this information–information for which the government has no legitimate claim, anyway. So . . . eliminate the veryexistence of that information–problem solved.