by Sam Levin
The outrage from Missouri Republicans around alleged violations of gun owner privacy has apparently had an impact on the state's top officials.
Yesterday, Department of Revenue Director Brian Long resigned amid accusations that his agency has maintained personal records of concealed-carry permit applicants. And today, Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has announced that the state will change its policy and "no longer scan or retain" concealed-carry weapon certificates.
Why? Nixon says that maintaining these documents is "not essential."
This latest news comes after months of outrage surrounding allegations that state officials are unfairly requiring concealed-carry applicants to give over personal identification documents that Missouri then keeps on file and is possibly shipping off to the federal government.
The context of this is the concern of conservatives across the nation that gun control politicians and government officials may be working to build some sort of "gun registry."
While Nixon has brushed the criticisms aside, saying that the state is not building some "magical database" to "mess with people," it appears that there was enough backlash that he was willing to enact a policy change:
His short press release says, in full:
Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that the Department of Revenue will no longer scan or retain certificates of qualification for Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) endorsements.
"It has been determined that the scanning and retention of concealed carry certificates are not essential to the integrity of the license issuance process," Gov. Nixon said. "We will continue to work with policymakers to ensure the security and privacy of our license issuance process."
Not all critics, though, are satisfied.
Carl Bearden, former Republican lawmaker who ran a $400,000 ad blitz pressuring Nixon on this very issue, fired off these tweets to us right after the announcement:
Bearden, executive director of political nonprofit United for Missouri, says he wants assurance that Missouri isn't broadly collecting and maintaining personal documents.
"It's not just CCW. That happens to be the issue that brought it all about," he says. "This doesn't mean anything."
He argues that just addressing the "certificate" is not enough.
Yesterday, just after the interim department of revenue director stepped up, Republican State Senator Tom Dempsey fired off a letter, urging the state to stop scanning and retaining personal documents of Missourians, including birth certificates, Social Security cards, marriage licenses and divorce records.
Here's that letter in full: