Highway Patrol Gave Concealed-Carry List to Social Security

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JEFFERSON CITY - The superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol told a senate committee Thursday the patrol gave a list of all of the concealed-carry permit holders in the state to the Social Security Administration.

Col. Ron Replogle said an investigator at the Social Security Administration asked for a list of all 163,000 concealed-carry permit holders in the state as part of a fraud investigation. Replogle said the initial request came in November 2011 after which the investigator went on medical leave. The investigator made the same request in January of 2013, whereupon Replogle said the Patrol gave him a disc containing all of the holders. He said the investigator had the disc destroyed after the investigator was unable to open the files due to heavy encryption.

Department of Public Safety Assistant Director Andrea Spillars told the Senate Appropriations Committee it is the department's position that it can release such information to outside entities if it is for a law enforcement purpose.

Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, told Replogle and Spillars he was frustrated by the Patrol's release of the data as well as the unauthorized purchase of an airplane earlier this year.

"If I was the governor, (Replogle's) resignation and (Spillars') resignation would have been on my desk yesterday," Silvey said.

Thursday's hearing is the latest development in the controversy over how the state treats Missourians' private data. The trouble began when Stoddard County resident Eric Griffin sued after being told to produce several documents when he tried to add a concealed-carry endorsement to his drivers' license. Then on March 13, Department of Revenue officials told the Senate Appropriations Committee the department was implementing new measures to collect drivers' license data. Senate Republicans filed a subpoena demanding all documents related to the department's new drivers' license policies. Those documents were delivered on April 2. On Wednesday, Department of Revenue officials testified their agency was scanning documents including birth certificates and ID card information fields into a central database, though they insisted it was not to comply with the federal REAL ID Act. State law prohibits the Department of Revenue from complying with the act.The Department of Revenue has said it is using the new procedures to prevent fraud.

At a press conference Thursday morning, Schaefer told reporters the Department of Motor Vehicle Licensing, which is the arm of the Department of Revenue that issues IDs, is the only agency that could have given the Highway Patrol the list of concealed-carry permit holders. He said he plans to hold public hearings throughout the state to assess the impact of the department's actions on ordinary Missourians.

Also Thursday, House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, called on Attorney General Chris Koster to form a special investigative committee to look into the controversy. Jones told KOMU 8 News this move is not without precedent, citing a similar committee then-Attorney General Jay Nixon formed to investigate the destruction of emails during then-Gov. Matt Blunt's administration. Koster's office did not return calls seeking comment.