Local legislators weigh in on highway patrol's document sharing

Friday, April 12, 2013
Wayne Wallingford

Several Southeast Missouri legislators on Thursday had strong words about the revenue department's collection and the highway patrol's admission of sharing information about concealed carry weapons permit holders.

The patrol admitted Thursday that it has twice shared a list of Missouri's concealed carry permit holders with federal investigators.

State Rep. Kathy Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, said she agrees with House Speaker Tim Jones' call on Attorney General Chris Koster to form a panel to investigate information sharing between state and federal officials.

"No. 1, why were they collecting information?" Swan said. "No. 2, why were they sending it to the government, and No. 3, what were they planning on doing with this information? I am certain those who are supporters of our Second Amendment are extremely concerned about what is the next step and what is the plan for the government to do with this information, and why was our state participating in turning over this information?"

"This is an invasion of Missourians' rights, and I will fight to ensure those responsible for this harmful decision are held accountable," said state Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, in a statement accusing Gov. Jay Nixon's administration of violating public trust.

Kathy Swan

State Rep. Steve Hodges, D-East Prairie, and House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith, R-Salem, who are running for the 8th Congressional District seat, were absent for Thursday's House vote on a bill to end the Department of Revenue's collection of concealed-carry documents, according to a roll call list provided by the House communications office.

The legislation, filed by Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, would prevent the revenue department from making electronic copies of concealed-carry permit documents and would require the destruction of documents already collected. Smith and Swan are among the bill's sponsors.

Swan and representatives Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson; Shelley Keeney, R-Marble Hill; Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston; Dennis Fowler, R-Advance; and Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, all voted in favor of the legislation.

Hodges told members of a Chaffee, Mo., political group, who support the Second Amendment, during a campaign event Wednesday night that he believes the formation of a national registry for gun owners is wrong.

Smith also has expressed his opposition to the sharing of gun owner information.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

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