by Sam Levin
As we reported earlier this week, Republican legislators have increased pressure on the Department of Revenue to prove that it is not collecting personal information of law-abiding gun owners and sending documents off to the federal government.
But a judge has since issued an order in the lawsuit that sparked this whole debate that says, notably: "The Plaintiff has failed to provide any evidence, other than hearsay evidence, that the Defendants have disseminated such information to the Federal Government."
What does this mean for the continued fight for gun-owner privacy?
"We are still pressing on," attorney Russell Oliver tells Daily RFT.
As a quick recap, this whole debate began when Stoddard County resident Eric Griffin, with Oliver as his attorney, brought a lawsuit against a local Department of Revenue office, alleging that an employee was requiring him to scan in a whole range of personal documents into a state database when he was trying to get his concealed-carry permit.
That sparked a wide-range of backlash from Missouri Republicans, with high-profile GOP officials in the state accusing the Department of Revenue of potentially collecting gun owner information and sending it off to a third party of the federal government.
There has since been proposed legislation to specifically block this, a lot of angry press releases and testimony -- and most recently a direct subpoena from the Missouri Senate asking the state to hand over all documents regarding any policy change on this matter.
Revenue department officials have testified that they are not sending any information to the federal government -- and for now, it seems, a circuit judge agrees.
A Department of Revenue official yesterday sent Daily RFT the order, on full view below, from Circuit Judge Robert Mayer, which denies Griffin's request for a preliminary injunction and removes a temporary restraining order on the "fee office agent" who had apparently sought to scan these personal documents.
Oliver, however, argues that it's still very early in the litigation process and that he is confident in his client's case moving forward.
Continue for more of our interview with Russell Oliver and for the full order.
"I feel like the Department of Revenue has already made quite a few admissions concerning the collection of this information and how it's being stored," Oliver says.
He emphasizes that -- despite all the talk at the legislature -- his lawsuit remains focused on the collection and storage of personal information and not the potential sharing with the federal government or outside parties.
"I'm somewhat at a loss as to why that was included in the order," Oliver says, referencing the part about "hearsay evidence" regarding dissemination to the federal government.
He adds, "You'd have to ask the judge."
Here's the full order.