Missouri state senators on on Monday voted to eliminate all funding for the Department of Revenue’s driver’s license bureau because they were angry about the way the agency was keeping concealed carry gun records.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R) said that he had created that draconian cuts to send a message to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration.
“They will not be able to issue any driver’s licenses,” Schaefer admitted on Monday.
In addition to $3.5 million of funding for the driver’s license offices, Schaefer is also targeting the Department of Public Safety and computer operations at the state Office of Administration because they had a role in sharing concealed carry records.
Republican lawmakers in Missouri became alarmed at a recent hearing at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing when Revenue Department Director Brian Long refused to agree to stop scanning and retaining concealed carry data. Long said that the records helped to prevent fraud.
Long resigned from his post as director earlier this month.
The 2005 federal Real ID Act requires states to retain a database of scanned documents for verifying identity. Missouri appeared to be the only state where the license bureau was charged with printing concealed carry permits, either on driver’s licenses or as a separate document. Lawmakers gave the licensing bureau control over concealed carry permits in 2003 to help law enforcement identify people who were weapons.
But lawmakers have recently become increasingly concerned that gun records would be shared with federal officials to create a gun registry that could lead to confiscations.
Melissa Wilson, wife of state Rep. Kenneth Wilson (R), told the committee earlier this month that she was certain that gun records had been shared with the federal government as a part of a United Nations initiative called Agenda 21, which some conservatives believe is a conspiracy to “transform America from the land of the free, to the land of the collective” through “a mind-control” tactic called the Delphi technique.
A 2009 Missouri law prohibits state officials from implementing the federal Real ID Act, and a state House panel this week approved legislation that made it illegal to share information about concealed carry permits.