Will Missouri GOP's Gun Owner Privacy Efforts Make State Vulnerable to Terrorism, Fraud?

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Governor Jay Nixon.
The debate around the privacy of gun owners has dominated the legislature this session, with Republican lawmakers' persistent outcry regarding record-keeping in the state. The worry is that the Missouri license bureau, under the direction of Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, could be collecting and storing documents for some sort of gun registry -- and collaborating with the feds in the process.

A bit lost in the discussion, however, are concerns from critics of this Republican agenda who argue that efforts to ensure the privacy of gun owners could have serious public safety consequences. That is, that these reforms could make Missouri more vulnerable to fraud, terrorism and other security risks.

"What they're attempting to do here is protect, at all costs, concealed-carry," Democratic Representative Stacey Newman tells Daily RFT. And some national security experts say these privacy initiatives of the Missouri GOP could create obstacles for law enforcement.

In response, Republicans say they cannot compromise on privacy rights and that Missouri is clearly violating state law with its current practices.

As a quick background on this debate, Missouri lawmakers for months now have been slamming the license bureau -- a branch of the department of revenue -- for collecting and retaining a variety of documents of concealed-carry applicants. The controversy erupted when a Stoddard County resident made accusations of privacy violations in a lawsuit after he tried to get his concealed-carry endorsement.

Lawmakers have since threatened substantial cuts to the department of revenue and have proposed a string of measures that would ban the state from collecting any of these documents going forward -- and require them to destroy those on file. Some are also pushing to make concealed-carry applications easier by eliminating the license bureau from the process altogether and leaving these endorsements to sheriff's offices. Yesterday, in what is now the final week of the legislative session, the House overwhelmingly approved the bill to bar the scanning of documents -- with amendments specific to gun-owner protections.

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Republican ad campaign pressuring Nixon on this issue.

If Republicans are successful in their efforts, some say it could become easier for people to get away with identity fraud in Missouri and it could hinder a range of public-safety efforts, including law enforcement tools like biometrics and facial recognition.

Brian Zimmer, president of Coalition for a Secure Driver's License, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., outlines some of these concerns. His group focuses on crime prevention efforts through secure driver's license and ID processes.

"Laws restricting the state's ability to retain records regarding concealed carry gun licenses are potentially dangerous to public safety," Zimmer tells Daily RFT in an e-mail. "That's because they undermine the ability to confirm the integrity of the permit process, by removing the availability of auditable records. In essence, there's no way for state officials to confirm guns are not going to criminals or those on terrorist watch lists."

He says that retaining records can be very important. "The most obvious reason is to confirm that no dangerous person, such as a certifiably crazy person (i.e., people like the Sandy Hook shooter or the Virginia Tech shooter) has access to direct purchase of firearms. Federal counter terror laws also bear on these requirements, as illustrated recently by the investigation following the Boston Marathon terrorist incident."

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Example of the concealed-carry license endorsement in question.

Many states, Zimmer points out, have adopted so-called "biometric solutions" to crime-prevention efforts, with more than 40 utilizing facial-recognition technology to prevent identity fraud at license agencies. Officials have detected thousands of imposter fraud cases through this method, he adds.

Continue for response from GOP critics of the revenue department.

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4 comments
ThatsMyTattooo
ThatsMyTattooo

Crazy is as crazy does. The federal government already has tons of info collected on everyone, but you don't hear these guys crying foul over that. "Just leave our guns alone so we can keep having these 'accidents'!". It's one thing to be forced to suffer a fool, but we shouldn't be forced to suffer these particular fools. This is a CCW household, we have NO PROBLEM if the federal government wants a list of license holders, or an account of EVERY gun we own. IT'S CALLED BEING A RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNER. If people can't understand this, it likely means they're NOT a responsible gun owner and SHOULD have them taken away. If you're scared of being "up front", it means you have something to hide.

ReverendLee
ReverendLee

So... In right-wing crazy person land (also known as the G.O.P.) it's okay for women to have to schedule two appointments, wait 72 hours after a consultation, have a medically unnecessary ultrasound performed and be subjected to audio bombardment, then must be lectured to (with lies and distortions throughout) before she can have a legally protected medical procedure. This, to the right-wing crazy person (Republican), is NOT, however, a violation of basic privacy as spelled out in the Constitution.

The compilation of information concerning the type, number, and cost of every vehicle purchased or sold in Missouri, every house bought or sold, every birth or wedding or divorce or adoption or death is happening hourly with no adverse effects. Collecting data that contains information about who has a CCW is somehow crossing a line?

Red light cameras, traffic cameras, ATM cameras, office building lobby cameras, cameras on the top of every retail strip mall and over every checkout counter, cameras under the awnings of gas stations, inside the casinos and Wal*Marts and Targets and K-Marts and Schnuck's, and at the ballpark and the hallways of the hotels and airports across the state are taking your picture every day. If you live in a major metro area, it is possible that the only place you cannot be seen is on your toilet, but the state checking a box on a spreadsheet that says you have a CCW is invasive. Privacy invasion in the name of the appearance of security is everything to the right-wing crazy people (Republicans), unless it involves the procurement of guns.

No personal space is inviolate when it comes to terrorism or abortion or union organizing or registering voters, but mess with guns? "Man, you MUST be out yo mind!" Welcome to the land of right-wing crazy people with power.

Djulio
Djulio

The measures put forth by the state GOP are not without impetus as it was shown earlier this year that the Missouri DOR already violated the privacy of CCW permit holders by compiling and sending this data to the federal government  This is, after all, the same federal government that just this week was shown to have singled out one group of law abiding citizens, conservative activists, for undue, unjust scrutiny by the IRS. While I am sure that it pains you, the left leaning authors of the RFT, to pass on a chance to bash the often quixotic efforts of the MO state GOP, they happen to be in the right in this particular instance.  

ThatsMyTattooo
ThatsMyTattooo

You couldn't be MORE right! These people are unbelievably obtuse!! Missouri thinks they're ABOVE federal law?! Talk about being frighteningly arrogant while practicing willful ignorance! An embarrassment to Missouri & a shame they call themselves "patriots" (disgust).

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