Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones is calling for an independent investigation into the sharing of a state list of concealed weapon permit holders with the federal government.
The head of the Missouri State Highway Patrol confirmed Thursday morning that his agency provided a list of 178,000 Missouri residents with concealed gun permits to federal authorities. But he says federal investigators never used the information.
Patrol Superintendent Col. Ron Replogle testified Thursday before a Senate committee that has raised concerns about a database on driver’s license applicants kept by the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Replogle says the patrol twice got a list of concealed gun permit holders from the Revenue Department and shared it with a fraud investigator at the federal Social Security Administration. But Replogle says the federal investigator was unable to read the information stored on the discs and ultimately destroyed them.
Replogle told senators the patrol should not have released the whole list.
According to the Highway Patrol, the information was put on a disc without a written request.
Lawmakers say there are laws in place that should have prevented this information from being released by the Department of Revenue and they believe there should be consequences.
“It is a state agency who we give state public dollars to to carry out the purpose, so if they’re carrying out the purpose in violation of the law, I would say they are no longer entitled to those state dollars,” said Sen. Kurt Schaefer.
There may be legal ramifications because giving out the information is a misdemeanor. Some lawmakers are attempting to figure out who handed out the information, but others believe the Highway Patrol colonel and the deputy director of the Department of Public Safety were given enough chances to make corrections.
“With regard to purchasing the plane, now with regard to this, what I know is if I was governor, your resignation would have been on my desk yesterday,” said Sen. Ryan Silvey.
In a statement released to ABC 17 News from the Highway Patrol, Capt. Tim Hull said:
“The Patrol does not collect or share any information for purposes of complying with the federal REAL ID law.”
Jones held a news conference Thursday afternoon outside Attorney General Chris Koster’s office before delivering a letter asking Koster to appoint a commission to study the information sharing.
A Koster spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Jones also wants a special panel to look into new Revenue Department licensing procedures that make electronic copies of applicants’ personal documents.
Republican congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer wants federal officials to explain their agencies’ roles in the transfer from Missouri of personal information including names of people with concealed weapons permits.
Luetkemeyer, whose U.S. House district includes Jefferson City, wrote Thursday to the Social Security Administration and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
He wants answers to ten questions, including whether federal agencies requested a complete list of Missourians with concealed gun permits and whether they sought other information. Luetkemeyer also asked how information is to be used and whether data has been shared.