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

The privacy of law-abiding gun owners in many states is already protected through laws that restrict access to their information and records except when there is a specific criminal charge or investigation, Zimmer notes.

One opponent of the GOP bills sends Daily RFT stories from New York and New Jersey of successful anti-fraud initiatives that utilized facial recognition technology in crime-fighting efforts. (In New York, officials recently announced that they've investigated 13,000 identity-fraud cases through this process.)

Kurt Schaefer, a Republican State Senator who has been one of the leading critics of the revenue department, tells us that citizens of Missouri deserve basic privacy assurances.

"Could you do procedures that provide more security? The question is where's the line on that?" he says. "We don't throw the Fourth Amendment to the wind...so that anyone can come into my house without a warrant."

If the government could just violate everyone's privacy with warrantless searches, for example, he says, "Would that result in us finding more crime? Absolutely. Would anyone think that is acceptable? No."

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via Facebook
Kurt Schaefer.

He continues, "How much personal privacy do you give up in the name of security?"

And regarding the use of biometrics, there have to be limits, he adds. "Is it really acceptable to take all of that technology and use it in an absolutely unfettered way?"

In Missouri, it's time to end all scanning of documents in the state, he says. It's wrong for any list like this to exist in the state, he says.

Of the Nixon administration, he adds, "They've been incredibly secretive about this issue and they don't want to have a public discussion."

Carl Bearden, executive director of United for Missouri, a conservative group which has launched an ad campaign pressuring Nixon on this issue, says, "There is no legal authority for them to do what they are doing now."

(He and other critics of Nixon have argued that the governor is violating a law passed in 2009 specifying that Missouri would opt out of the federal Real ID Act, an anti-terrorism initiative.)

Bearden says that facial recognition is not necessary and that a wide array of residents, not just Republicans, want to ensure their privacy is protected. "They totally underestimate that this is a real issue with Missourians."

Spokespeople for the governor and the revenue department did not respond to a request for comment last week.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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