A Southeast Missouri man has sued after being told by a license office that it would make digital copies of documents needed for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The Missouri Department of Revenue has allegedly been compiling data on Missouri residents seeking concealed carry permits and then forwarding it to a third party with ties to the federal government.
Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder held a press conference on Monday and revealed the lawsuit had been filed to fight the action and prevent any violation of Americans’ privacy.
The lawsuit was filed Monday by Stoddard County prosecuting attorney Russ Oliver on behalf of Missouri resident Eric Griffin. Oliver filed the lawsuit as a private attorney.
“I fully support Mr. Oliver in this important legal action in Stoddard County Circuit Court,” Kinder said in a press release. “The case has issues of statewide importance implicating serious privacy concerns for law-abiding citizens. These folks have followed the letter of the law and have been approved for concealed carry by the proper authorities. They must not be required to share that information with any third parties or the federal government.”
The issue was brought to light after Griffin, the Missourian on whose behalf Oliver filed the lawsuit, went to his local Department of Motor Vehicles fee office after passing the application process for a concealed carry gun permit. Oliver says Griffin refused to let DMV employees scan and store some of his documentation — so he was denied his permit.
The Missouri Department of Revenue reportedly installed new computer equipment that records certain information as a part of the federal Real ID Act of 2005, according to Oliver. State laws prohibit the department from retaining and forwarding certain information. The information that was compiled by the DOR was reportedly being forwarded to Morpho Trust, U.S.A., a Georgia company that “specializes in partnering with state and federal governmental agencies,” according to the press release put out by Kinder’s office.
“There are important privacy concerns for concealed carry holders who justly fear their information is being sent to a third party or the federal government,” Oliver said. “Missouri law makes it clear that what is going on here is illegal, and serves no legitimate purpose since the county sheriff is solely charged with the duty of determining applicants’ eligibility for endorsement.”
A trial judge issued a temporary restraining order over the practice Monday — the same day the lawsuit was filed — and scheduled a hearing March 12. Oliver said the order is limited to the Stoddard County license office.
“That was quick,” Kinder tweeted via his official Twitter account after learning of the judge’s decision.
A Revenue Department spokesman said the agency follows the law.
Dana Loesch, who first reported the story, also interviewed Kinder on the radio Monday:
The Associated Press contributed to this report