The NRA has long held the belief that universal background checks and the retaining of even more information could lead to a national registry of gun owners. Now, the Missouri Highway Patrol may have proven the firearm advocacy group’s fears to be well-founded.
On Thursday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol admitted that it has provided a list of Missouri concealed gun permit holders to a federal investigator – an acknowledgement demonstrating the dangers of even more invasive gun laws.
The list was provided on computer disks to a federal investigator looking into Social Security fraud. The investigator was unable to read the disks and ended up destroying them.
Although the federal government never used the information, the fact that gun owner data was given to authorities not specifically investigating a gun crime shows that the NRA’s fears are not unfounded. Any time the federal government asks, they can get a list of who owns guns – a move gun rights advocates see as a mere shuffle-step from confiscation.
Highway Patrolman Ron Replogle testified to a State Senate committee that the investigator requested a list of Missouri’s concealed firearm permit holders to determine if there were any on the list claiming to be mentally ill. The link would allow the federal government to establish that the permit holder was illegally in possession of such a permit or not actually disabled.
Several in the Missouri State Senate have expressed outrage. Sen. Dan Brown (R – Rolla) exclaimed that the debacle was “a big breach of public trust.” Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R – Columbia) believes that the sharing of the entire database “crosses the line between law enforcement activity to profiling through intelligence gathering.”
This most recent admission of feeding private citizens’ information to the federal government comes after Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (Dem) found himself defending the disclosure of Missourian’s Driver’s License information being given to the Department of Revenue. “This state of Missouri is not collecting a bunch of unuseful data to send to some sort of magical database someplace to mess with people. It’s not happening.”
Now the Missouri State Highway Patrol may be unraveling the beleaguered Democratic Governor’s statements and adding foundation to the fears of gun owners and rights advocates nationwide.