In what is clearly a "No, no," it was revealed that the Missouri State Highway Patrol turned over concealed carry data to federal authorities. The information was passed on as the feds investigated Social Security disability fraud. This happened on at least two occasions, the latest occurring in January. An investigation into the matter in now unfolding.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports,

Missouri State Highway Patrol Col. Ron Replogle was questioned for nearly an hour this morning by the Senate Appropriations Committee after he revealed to Chairman Kurt Schaefer yesterday that his agency had turned over the data.

The delivery of the information to federal authorities has become a huge issue for lawmakers since they began raising questions about new driver's licensing procedures. A lawsuit from Stoddard County challenged the procedures that require all supporting documents — including certificates granting concealed weapon privileges — to be scanned and retained.

In November 2011 and again in January, Replogle said, an agent of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General received discs with the data. Each time, the agent was unable to read the encryption format and destroyed the discs, Replogle said.

"They said no names were retrieved," Replogle told the committee this morning. "They do not have those names. They did not disseminate that information, and all that information has been destroyed. We have asked for that documentation of what has happened."

Replogle claims that he didn't know this had taken place until four weeks ago and that the data was turned over due to the fact that the Office of Inspector General, the agency that claimed the alleged investigation, is a law enforcement agency. The claim was made that this was simply cross checking names on the CCP list with the feds' list of individuals with disabilities attributed to mental illness in order to find fraud.

The revelation has outraged citizens and frustrated lawmakers. However, Andrea Spillars, deputy director of the Department of Public Safety, explained that she though the highway patrol's disclosure was not only legal, but could but also said it could happen again!

"Under state statutes the legislature passed, it is a lawful, permissible disclosure," she said. However, Missouri State Law mandates that concealed weapons permit data is confidential. Missouri also has law in place that bars the Department of Revenue from implementing the federal Real ID Act. However, the only place where owners' identities are stored is in driver license records. Unfortunately licenses bear a special mark that designates that person is also a concealed weapons permit holder.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon denies that the information was turned over to a "magical database" for federal agents.

Republican State Sen. Kurt Schaefer said, "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. What I am told is there is no written request for that information."

Schaefer is in the midst of the controversy and warned about Real ID saying, "There is nothing magical about the name Real ID. It is the things that go along with it, the giving up of personal data, the subjecting yourself to identity theft without any due process of law before that information is given up."

He also said the department has denied they were implementing Real ID or turning over concealed weapons permit holder's information for weeks.

"What we now know is we were lied to about the process, how it is implemented, how it is funded, and we were lied to about the fact that the Department of Motor Vehicles or the state of Missouri did or did not give out a list of concealed carry holders to the federal government," Schaefer said.

Schaefer wants to know how the list request was granted and where it eventually ended up when it was turned over to the feds. I can think of a couple of places it would have ended up, probably ATF or the Justice Department.

"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?," he asked. "How did they know where to send it? How did they know what it was being used for?"

It's quite telling that what was allegedly an investigation into Social Security fraud, became a search for people with mental health issues that also had concealed weapons permits. I'd say it's not a coincidence, especially in light of the rhetoric coming from Washington and the recent overreach of the New York State Police. The officers who turned the list over need to be found out and relieved of their duties. No doubt, they have broken the public's trust.

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