JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri State Highway Patrol has twice turned over the entire list of Missouri concealed weapon permit holders to federal authorities, most recently in January, Sen. Kurt Schaefer said Wednesday.
Questioning in the Senate Appropriations Committee revealed that on two occasions, in November 2011 and again in January, the patrol asked for and received the full list from the state Division of Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing. Schaefer later met in his office with Col. Ron Replogle, superintendent of the patrol.
After the meeting, he said Replogle had given him sketchy details about turning over the list, enough to raise many more questions. Testimony from Department of Revenue officials revealed that the list of 185,000 names had been put online in one instance and given to the patrol on a disc in January.
Schaefer has been investigating a new driver licensing system. He and the committee grilled the revenue officials for several hours in the morning and again at midday before they admitted the list had been copied. The investigation was triggered by fears that concealed weapons data was being shared with federal authorities.
Under Missouri law, the names of concealed weapon permit holders are confidential. The only place in Missouri where the names of all concealed carry permit holders is stored is among driver license records. Permit holders have a special mark on their licenses indicating they have been granted the privilege of carrying a gun.
The list was given to the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, Schaefer said he was told.
“Apparently from what I understand, they wanted to match up anyone who had a mental diagnosis or disability with also having a concealed carry license,” Schaefer said. “What I am told is there is no written request for that information.”
He said he intends to ask Replogle for full details at an appropriations committee hearing on the patrol’s budget on Thursday morning.
The patrol responded by confirming that it had shared the list of concealed weapons holders with federal authorities.
“The information was provided to law enforcement for law enforcement investigative purposes,” Capt. Tim Hull wrote in an email response to questions from the Tribune.
The only way to obtain the full list is through a special request. Only law enforcement is supposed to have access to concealed carry information and then only on an individual basis. When a law enforcement officer looks up an individual’s driving record, it shows whether they have a concealed carry endorsement.
The information raises numerous questions, Schaefer said.
“When they turn over the entire list of concealed carry holders in the state of Missouri to the federal government, where is it going?” he said. “I want to know who all was involved in this transaction because if this is just some phone call saying give me the list of all concealed carry holders, how did the person at the patrol who fulfilled that request know who was at the other end of the phone? How did they know where to send it? How did they know what it was being used for?”
The fact that the list had been copied two times was revealed when Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, followed up on testimony that it was possible, through a batch request, to extract the list. Revenue Deputy Director John Mollenkamp said it had been done twice, for the highway patrol.
Mollenkamp said he wasn’t sure what the patrol did with it while it was in that agency’s possession.
Schaaf immediately suspected what Schaefer learned from Replogle later in the day. “Now we know two things,” he said. “We know that somebody out there, probably in the federal government, wants the list of all the concealed carry holders in Missouri. We know that now.
“We know one other piece of information – we know the department is actively and purposefully concealing that information from us,” Schaaf said.
This is a copy of the full article provided by the Columbia Daily Tribune