Republicans are calling for investigations, firings and even criminal charges to be filed against Missouri state officials after the Missouri State Highway Patrol admitted on Thursday that it provided a list of 163,000 Missouri residents with concealed gun permits to a federal investigator on two occasions.
During testimony given to a Senate committee, Highway Patrol Col. Ron Replogle said that the list was handed over to an investigator who was looking into fraud violations involving Social Security benefits for the disabled.
The Democratic administration of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has said that there was nothing unseemly about the information sharing, but Republicans are concerned that the privacy rights of Missouri residents are being violated, Fox News reported.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer wrote numerous letters demanding answers from federal officials, and he is not alone in his dissatisfaction with the situation. "This is a big breach of public trust and confidence," said Senate Appropriations Committee member Sen. Dan Brown.
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According to Republicans, the information sharing violated a Missouri law making it a misdemeanor to disclose information about concealed gun permit holders.
In March, Missouri lawmakers became concerned about privacy issues after learning that the Department of Revenue had started copying driver's license applicants' personal documents, such as concealed carry permits and birth certificates. Those documents were then stored in a state database.
Last week, Governor Nixon dismissed concerns that the state is gathering residents' license information needlessly. “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,” he said. “It's not happening."