Some of my constituents have inquired about a lawsuit that was filed this week in Stoddard County in Southeast Missouri that addresses the alleged over-stepping of the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) regarding concealed carry documentation. It is believed that since the first of the year, the DOR has been collecting and scanning documents of individuals who were seeking to renew their concealed carry permits.
State statutes are very clear to say the DOR is not to retain or collect documents on Missouri citizens. These state statutes prohibit the state from complying with the federal Real ID Act — an act passed by Congress in 2005 in the aftermath of 9/11 that says states are to collect and store documents that can be used by federal agencies. The act was to pave the way for a national ID card. Documents required for the card are a birth certificate, social security number, and proof of residence.
Many believe that the Missouri Department of Revenue may have received a federal grant of between $3 and $5 million to begin putting such an ID system in place. The lawsuit alleges that the information collected may have been sent to a company in Georgia —Morpho Trust USA. According to this company's website, they specialize in the partnership of different government agencies to collect and provide individual identification information. Some are questioning if it is possible that the DOR is trying to implement the federal Real ID Act, though Missouri law strictly forbids it. This has raised concerns about individual privacy, especially for concealed carry holders who do not want their identity or their address known. I need to reaffirm that these are allegations made in a lawsuit. Hopefully, the complete story will come out in court hearings. There has been no comment on this issue from the Missouri Department of Revenue.
The allegations are raising interesting questions for some, though. Is there a central source or one state agency in Missouri that keeps all information on our state's residents? To the best of my knowledge, as of today, there is not a centralized Missouri data bank or agency that collects or maintains this information. However, there are concerns that such a statewide — or even nationwide — information system could be put into place. With today's technology, it would be relatively easy to do so.
Recently, during House Appropriations Committee hearings, the Missouri Department of Revenue officials received questions concerning their new licensing procedures. Some of the inquiries revolved around protection of personal data of Missouri citizens. This prompted the filing of Senate Bill 252, that seeks to prohibit the DOR from retaining and storing any copies of personal documents used to obtain a driver's license or a concealed carry permit. This past week, House Bill 818 was filed. It seeks to protect the personal information of concealed carry holders and preserve their Second Amendment rights.
Page 2 of 2 - Concerning our personal information: It has been hinted at that under the Affordable Healthcare Act (ObamaCare), all medical records will be open to government agencies for their review in determining what type of healthcare one may or may not receive. In addition, it has also been suggested that under the Affordable Healthcare Act, the government will have the ability to see financial records of individuals when determining the amount of money the individual may have to pay for certain medical procedures.
A couple of reasons this national ID program has met with so much state resistance is the cost of enactment for U.S. taxpayers — estimated to be in the billions of dollars —and the fact that it could allow the federal government to routinely track American citizens.
It is almost mind-boggling how much personal information is accessible from one's social security number. Maybe we should be asking ourselves if it is worth it to have our personal information compromised in order to gain more government services? And how much of our freedoms are we willing to give up?
If I can be of help to you with this or any other state matter, please do not hesitate to contact me by one of the following means:
Mail: Bill Reiboldt, Office 235-BB, State Capitol, 201 W. Capitol, Jefferson City, MO 65101. Telephone: (573) 751-9781. Personal cell phone: 417-456-0441. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. My website is www.billreiboldt.com
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Bill Reiboldt represents the people of Southwest Missouri in the Missouri House of Representatives.