In early March, Dana Loesch first reported how a Missourian had uncovered some very troubling facts with regard to the way that information about concealed carry permit holders is handled in Missouri (MO). The citizen went to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to have his driver’s license updated with his concealed carry status. There he encountered a clerk who insisted that he provide identifying documents, such as a birth certificate, and allow them to be scanned. He understood that the scanned images would be transmitted to a third-party vendor as well as to the the U.S. Department of Homeland Security(DHS).
Concerned that the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR), which oversees the DMV, is compiling a “backdoor gun registry,” in cahoots with the DHS, the citizen filed a lawsuit, supported by MO Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who launched an investigation. Kinder pointed out that
state laws prohibit the department from retaining and collecting these types of documents and from complying with … the [federal] Real ID Act.
Subsequently, Loesch reported that if MO Governor Jay Nixon knew about this potentially illegal behavior, it could be cause for impeachment. However, it’s been difficult to uncover the truth:
“We’re trying to get answers from the Governor and he’s stonewalling us,” Kinder said, “Missourians have a right to know where this policy came from.”
… The Department of Revenue issued a statement saying its operations are “consistent with the protocols of state law.”
In their humble opinion, no doubt. “Consistent with the protocols.” Weasel words. Eventually, subpoenas were issued:
… Missouri state Senator Kurt Schaefer subpoenaed the … Missouri Department of Revenue to 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 driver’s license and ID information of Missouri citizens.
Senator Schaefer said … “This is one of the most appalling abuses of privacy rights I have encountered in state government. I can not and will not allow unelected bureaucrats to erode the rights of Missourians.”
The subpoenas were eventually honored:
The Missouri Department of Revenue has complied with a Senate subpoena and delivered thousands of documents relating to new driver’s license procedures.
The Republican-led Senate requested the documents over concerns that license applicants’ personal documents scanned into a state computer system are shared with the federal government or a private company.
Revenue Department officials have denied that they are sharing copies of personal documents, such as concealed weapons endorsements and birth certificates.
The documents were delivered Tuesday to Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia, roughly an hour before the 4 p.m. subpoena deadline.
Senate staff were not amused. Instead of sending a computer disk containing the information, they chose to send boxes and boxes of paper, making it that much harder for investigators to easily find the evidence that they seek.
Consider how much more time consuming and expensive (for taxpayers) this approach was. By using this method, they also made it harder to prove that a certain page was or was not included.
Dana Loesch learned later that the DOR and the DHS gather data on more than just concealed carry permit holders: [emphasis added to quotes]
According to Sen. Schaefer, not only is the Missouri Department of Revenue colluding with the Department of Homeland Security and other third parties to illegally share Missourians’ conceal carry information, the DOR is also gathering and storing biometric data on every Missourian who gets a license. Schaefer notes that the collection of biometric data was never discussed with Missouri lawmakers and that it was discovered quite by accidentwhen suspicious Missourians questioned why the DOR would want their marriage licenses and a multitude of other information simply to renew their conceal carry permits. When Schaefer confronted the DOR, they twice lied to the senator, claiming that the DHS grant money was for things like “hole punchers.” Schaefer later learned theDHS grant money was actually used towards items like facial recognition hardware and software. It’s not only backdoor gun registration, but a massive invasion of privacy as well.
Today we learn that the situation is getting exponentially worse:
The Missouri Highway Patrol admitted on Thursday that it released the names of more than 163,000 Missourians who have concealed weapons permits to a federal agent twice in the past two years. …
“I’m very concerned that this may be a back-door attempt to create the Eric Holder gun registry,” said House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, referring to the U.S. attorney general. …
Missouri Highway Patrol Col. Ron Replogle told the SenateAppropriations Committee on Thursday that a Social Security Administration [SSA] agent based in St. Louis wanted the concealed-carry permit information for an investigation into disability fraud related to mental illness claims.
The list of permit holders was going to be compared with a list of Social Security recipients to see whether anyone who had met the mental health qualifications for a concealed carry permit had also sought benefits for a mental illness. …
[T]the harm is that, with reckless abandon, what is a private database in the state of Missouri with private information … was given out on discs with apparently not even a written request,” said Senate Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia. “That’s the issue.” …
Without the ongoing investigation into the licenses and the Department of Revenue’s handling of private information, it’s unlikely that lawmakers would have stumbled upon the details of the release of the concealed carry lists, he said. …
After hours of inquiry, with questions often repeated in varying ways, Schaefer latched onto the issue of whether concealed carry lists had ever been created and shared outside of the new system. After some vague answers, officials eventually admitted Wednesday night that the Department of Revenue had given concealed carry lists to the state Highway Patrol.
Later in the evening, they returned to say that Highway Patrolhanded the information over to a federal agent. …
The information was handed over without a warrant or even a written request for the data. The information was not specific to an individual under investigation or even suspicion. The federal agent asked for, and received, the entire list of MO concealed carry permit holders.
If they’re to be believed, Social Security planned to compare the list against a list of people who applied for or collected disability based upon mental illness. If they’re to be believed, they weren’t able to read the list because the data was encrypted. So we’re supposed to believe that the SSA and the DHS never got the names, although it wasn’t for lack of trying. Do you believe them? I don’t.
One wonders if this process is in response to Obama’s executive orders, which resulted from his vow to do whatever he could as president to circumvent Congress on gun control.
So they’re simply data mining. Trolling through lists compiled illegally from state databases, using the information for what purpose? To try to further infringe upon someone’s Second Amendment rights? To make a list of “illegal” guns to be confiscated?
Glenn Beck said on radio this week that anyone who’s ever taken a drug prescribed for psychiatric or psychological purposes will be at risk of losing his or her right to keep and bear arms. Is this far fetched? I think not. As Beck noted, a vast majority of Americans, unfortunately, take or have taken mind- or mood-altering drugs. Consider the number of children who are prescribed drugs for ADHD or ODD. Or autism, which is in the news with regard to Adam Lanza, the alleged Newtown/Sandy Hook shooter. Who will decide what constitutes mental illness? Who will decide what diagnoses preclude citizens from owning guns? What is our federal government up to? Who will rein them in?
This is a scattershot approach to backdoor gun control. Use every means at your disposal, by any means necessary. Keep them rocked back on their heels. Come at them from all sides. If you can dupe lower level state employees into complying, then take the data and hope that state officials don’t find out. If they do find out, then stonewall, prevaricate, spin, and cover up with unbelievable scenarios. They may not get a list of ALL gun owners, but they can compile one that has alarming accuracy, considering all the potential sources of information.
Let’s not forget that Social Security agents carry weapons, too, and that this news comes on the heels of reports that the Internal Revenue Service claims the right to read all of our email, text messages, and other electronic communications, such as posts on social media, without a warrant, in order to catch potential tax scofflaws. (They’d do well to start looking in the Barack Obama administration.)
So Obama’s government, which now shares information across departments, but especially with DHS, uses the excuse of investigating benefit fraud or possible criminal activity to get around state privacy laws. In so doing, they can also compile that backdoor “Eric Holder Gun Registry”.
Somehow, the feds have managed to inveigle state agencies into going along with their schemes. State employees in MO blithely handed over biometric and identifying documentation out of state databases that were compiled for state reasons and against MO law. Has this happened in other states, too, unbeknownst to their officials?
When Obamacare computerized medical records are realized, imagine how much more information Big Brother will have available for his data miners to troll,
ALL TO KEEP AN EYE ON AND CONTROL YOU.
Update 04/14/13: After testimony from the MO Highway Patrol to the MO Senate that computer disks sent to the SSA were encrypted and never read by the feds, comes now an SSA spokesperson who says the disk received in January WAS readable. Now were led to believe that the “project” was dropped and that the computer disk was destroyed by the SSA and not sent anywhere else:
[T]he agent who received the list was unable to read the data when he first received it on a disc in [November] 2011, but the copy received in January  was readable.
“After discussing the matter with his superiors, a decision was made not to pursue the project. The data was then destroyed without further review or dissemination,” Jonathan L. Lasher, Assistant Inspector General for External Relations, wrote.
… Lasher explains that the federal agency doesn’t see the list release as controversial as the Inspector General Act grants the authority “to request such information or assistance as may be necessary for carrying out the duties and responsibilities …from any federal, state or local governmental agency or unit thereof.”
“Had we decided to pursue the project, more formal communication with the state would have followed, with the preparation of appropriate agreements,” Lasher explains.…”
Federal investigators intended to compare the list of permit holders with a list of Social Security recipients to see whether anyone who had met the mental health qualifications for a concealed carry permit had also sought benefits for a mental disability.
That’s what their stated intention was, but it seems more likely that the project was the opposite: to compare the names of those receiving SSA disability benefits for mental illness to concealed carry lists, in order to use SSA benefits as an excuse to pressure states to cancel the permits or to compile statistics or examples to help further the Obama administration’s gun control agenda. But that’s just my opinion, of course.
While the SSA may believe that their Inspector General has the authority to ASK for information from any state agency, there are specific LAWS in MO forbidding the release of this information.
Note that the SSA claims that a written request would have followed had they decided to pursue the project. Forgive me for suspecting that the reason there was no written request was so that there would be no paper trail. This potentially illegal transfer of data was discovered only by accident. As one commenter at that link said:
Sounds more like all they really wanted WAS the CCW database, and the “project” was just a convenient lie to get their hands on it!
Who sends a written request after already receiving the data? What other states have had the feds request their concealed carry list and how many others have complied? In another development:
State Sen. Kurt Schaefer wants the federal agent who received a list of more than 163,000 Missourians who have concealed weapons permits to testify in a legislative hearing.
Schaefer, R-Columbia, said he’s prepared to “use every means available to us to make sure” that Social Security fraud investigator Keith Schilb appears at the Capitol to detail his reasons for requesting the information and what he did with it.
“We need to know, was this a criminal investigation or not?” Schaefer said. …
Highway Patrol Col. Ron Replogle testified in a Senate hearing Thursday that Schilb told him he was never able to open the information because of a technology issue. …
Replogle told lawmakers that the request for the list never came up through the chain of command at Highway Patrol, so he has implemented a new policy to require more scrutiny for future requests. …
Schaefer said the comments from the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration spokesman raise more questions, including why Schilb apparently didn’t have the backing of his superiors in the effort.
“How do we know what he was planning to use the list forif Highway Patrol never even received a written request for the information?” Schaefer said.
Update 04/15/13: Now comes word that
[C]onfiscations of Pistol Owner ID Cards, as well as firearms and accessories has commenced in NY under the provisions of the horribly flawed, draconian and blatantly unconstitutional NY SAFE Act. Those folks having their weapons and FID cards confiscated have been discovered to have been prescribed multiple different types of psychotropic drugs,such as those for Depression or Anxiety. These are known as SSRI ( Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) class drugs and have the potential to cause serious and adverse side effects …
[A]n upstanding professional with no outstanding criminal convictions and no history of violent action received a letter from the Pistol Permit Department informing him that his license was immediately revoked upon information that he was seeing a therapist for anxiety and had been prescribed an anxiety drug. He was never suicidal, never violent, and has no criminal history. The New York State Department of Health is apparently conducting a search of medical records to determine who is being treated for anxiety drugs and using this as a basis for handgun license revocation. …
[A]s yet unknown sources have seen fit to take it upon themselves to share confidential medical records with NY State Officials without authorization, a massive HIPAA violation.
[Says the citizen’s lawyer,] “It seems these supposedly confidential records are then compared against a list of known NY pistol license holders and letters are sent out demanding their Pistol Owner ID Cards be surrendered, as well as any firearms and accessories.
Sound familiar? As in MO, NY authorities are trying to weasel out by obfuscating:
The claim by the Erie County Clerk that New York State Police had simply provided “bad information” resulting in permit revocation and the confiscation of Amherst resident David Lewis’ guns is not true, [radio host Tom] Bauerle insists. “I’ve had it confirmed; the New York State Police are lying about him not being the guy they wanted.”
Police weren’t expecting Lewis to get a lawyer, Bauerle says, especially one who knows the Second Amendment.
“They had the guy they wanted,” Bauerle maintains, calling the official excuse “nonsense” and charging Gov. Cuomo “is a monomaniac on the subject of guns.” What happened, he explains, is that the state has a special HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) unit to search private medical records without warrants, and that Lewis was simply the first person to be caught up in that net. …
According to Bauerle, his sources tell him this is being coordinated with officials in the Department of Homeland Security, and there was a meeting in Albany with the New York State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice Services “at the impetus of DHS.”
Bauerle alleges there is “a clandestine squad” violating the Fourth Amendment and circumventing HIPAA privacy protections in order to revoke pistol permits from those who have been prescribed anti-depressants or who have undergone mental health treatment, calling that “tyranny, plainly and simply.”
Now this sounds curiously like what’s going on in MO. Data mining, using whatever databases state agencies and the DHS and other federal agencies can access (legally or illegally), with the INTENTION of finding excuses to infringe upon the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.
In NY, it’s alleged that medical records are being trolled to find excuses to take away someone’s right to own weapons.
In MO, although the excuse given was to fight disability fraud, it’s more likely that the SSA agent wanted that concealed carry list to identify citizens on it who also receive disability benefits for a mental condition, so that DHS could then pressure the state to revoke their concealed carry permits.
Update 04/16/13: (h/t Jonah) Brian Long, head of the MO Dept. of Revenue, in office since December 2012 (a month before the list was released for the second time and about the time the new system to scan documents began), hasresigned. This on the heels of reports that the MO Congress is working on a bill to allow them to remove department heads; currently, only the (Democrat) governor can do so. Now the SSA claims that, despite previous statements to the contrary, they were NOT able to read the second disk:
The Social Security Administration said Monday that its investigators were unable to read either the original encrypted disk or a subsequent electronic spreadsheet provided this January. In both cases, it said the disks were destroyed.
But even that acknowledgement came with confusion and controversy. Late last week, the inspector general of the Social Security Administration had told U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., that its investigators had been able to read the second disk. Luetkemeyer held a news conference Monday in Jefferson City recounting that conversation. Only after that did the Social Security Administration say it had mistakenly provided him incorrect information.
“Blaine is absolutely furious,” Luetkemeyer spokesman Paul Sloca said later Monday. “We are now definitely going to become more involved in light of these recent developments. This is supposed to be an investigatory body, and they should know better than to give out information unless it’s verified.”
Update 3:30 p.m. 4/16/13: More developments. Yet another flip flop, and something even worse: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) was in on the request for the concealed carry list!
[O]fficials in last week’s public hearings failed to disclose that the ATF was the federal entity who made the request for the CCW [carrying a concealed weapon] list, alongside the Department of Social Security. The ATF has not explained why they wanted this information, which by Missouri law, is illegal to share. …
“We were never told that the ATF was part of this request. Why does the ATF need a list of Missouri gun owners except to have a list of Missouri gun owners?” said [MO State Senator Kurt] Schaefer. “This isn’t even a backdoor list, this is a front door list.There is a magical database and the taxpayers paid for it.” …
It was discovered that the full list was sent to the Department and Social Security and ATF twice, at least, and Schaefer says it appears there was a third exchange. What’s more, one of those exchanges consisted of a Missouri Department head dropping an unencrypted disc containing the state’s full CCW list into an envelope, with a sheet of paper bearing the password, into an envelope and sending it through the USPS.
“Those discs were not encrypted. It was an Excel list on the disc. The password was on a piece of paper in the envelope with the disc,” said Schaefer.
So many fibs. So much obfuscation. Does anybody believe at this point that the SSA destroyed the data? SSA spokesperson Lasher’s testimony made clear that the list was not disseminated to anyone outside the SSA. Now we learn that the ATF was involved in the request. So are we now to believe that not even the ATF got this list, too?
The ATF’s involvement was gleaned from one of the papers among the many in those numerous boxes of documents that were sent to the Senate offices under subpoena. Nobody mentioned the ATF while being questioned in hearings. Senator Schaefer said that it took two hours of careful questioning to learn that the concealed carry list was sent to the SSA. (One, two, and now three times!)
No wonder the DOR wanted to make it as difficult as possible for the Senator’s staff to search for the evidence that the senator suspected would be found.
Today on Dana Loesch’s radio program, Schaefer stated that he will subpoena and question not only the SSA agent but also the ATF people involved.
If not for the subpoena, the MO DOR and the federal agencies (SSA and ATF) might have managed to weasel out of this situation.
It becomes clear that this was a “by any means necessary” enterprise. Using the authority of the Inspector General and the cover story of a search for disability fraud, the ATF (of Fast and Furious fame, led by Obama and Eric Holder) managed to “request” and then to receive this data from lower level state government officials, without the permission or oversight of the state Congress AND against MO Law!
The cover up is always worse than the crime, or so they say. MO citizens have had their privacy destroyed by this illegal and unethical behavior. How will anyone put the genie back into the bottle? How will the privacy of Missourians, which has been grossly violated by the federal government under Obama and by people working in the Governor Jay Nixon administration, ever be restored?
The U.S. Congress should immediately call for hearings to discover what other states, if any, have similarly been infiltrated and suborned and to find out who knew what and when. Who ordered this “project” to take place? Where is the data now?
FOR WHAT PURPOSE DID THE ATF REQUEST THIS INFORMATION?
Brian Long, who resigned as head of the MO DOR yesterday, refused to rescind the scanning of documents while the MO Congress investigated. Today, Governor Nixon, after public outrage, stated that license offices will no longer scan and retain documents provided by concealed carry permit holders. Thislink goes to a thread on our blog where we discussed this issue earlier and where we did a lot of research into the third-party vendor that is involved in making these new driver’s licenses. The vendor has interesting connections and it’s business is global in nature.
Update 04/18/13: A link to the documents that prove that the ATF was involved and at least part of the reason they asked for the list was to identify those “ineligible to possess a firearm.”