The FBI is snooping around Missouri gun owners’ records for some reason, and U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley demands to know why.
He said he plans to question FBI Director Christopher Wray about it in a hearing Thursday.
“They appear to be auditing our concealed carry records, which is contrary to Missouri law, by the way, and I have no idea why they’re doing it,” Hawley told The Heartlander in an interview Wednesday. “But I’ll tell you this: The FBI director is in front of me tomorrow, and I intend to ask him because this is, to me, very, very dangerous.
“It is exactly the kind of thing that Missouri gun owners should not have to go through. Just because you have a concealed carry permit or a license of any kind doesn’t mean that you ought to open yourself up to the federal government coming in and snooping around and creating records on you and trying to track what you’re doing or what weapons you own, or what you’re doing in your own time on your own land.”
Hawley said Missouri residents have the right to know that, by merely getting a government permit for something, they’re not “turning over all of their personal data and private information to the federal government – and not just to any agency, but to federal law enforcement, to the FBI.”
In Missouri, county sheriffs issue and keep records on concealed carry permits. The FBI reportedly notified several Missouri sheriffs of onsite audits of those records coming this month.
State attorney general and U.S. Senate candidate Eric Schmitt sent a letter to Wray July 13 bluntly telling the FBI director, “This is not going to happen.”
“Let me be perfectly clear,” Schmitt tells Wray in the letter. “Allowing federal agents from the FBI to have access to records from Missourians who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon violates Missouri law and infringes on our Second Amendment rights.”
Later in the letter, Schmitt proceeds to tell Wray just what he and many other Missourians think of the FBI these days.
“Missourians have concluded that the FBI leadership in Washington, D.C., has been weaponized for political gain. You have lost our trust and you seem to be completely indifferent toward trying to rebuild it. …
“This is not going to happen. I will fight you tooth and nail with all of the resources that the people of Missouri have given me as their attorney general.”
Hawley said Missouri sheriffs alerted him to the FBI’s attempted snooping of concealed carry permit holders in the state, and that he’s also been hearing from numerous gun owners.
“They’re angry about it. They’re worried about it,” Hawley told The Heartlander. “They wonder what else the FBI is snooping into. ‘Does it include bank records? Does it include transactions? What is it the FBI is doing?’ All legitimate questions. I want to know why this is happening, what the rationale for it is – frankly, what the legal authority is for it.”
Kevin L. Jamison, president of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance, said the gun-owning community is indeed livid about what he agrees seems to be an FBI fishing expedition. He’s comforted by the fact that “the sheriffs have said not only no, but hell no” to the FBI.
Publication of gun owners’ personal information, which has happened elsewhere in the country, makes them vulnerable to burglaries, Jamison says, not to mention venom coming from anti-gun zealots. And what use would federal agencies make of such confidential information, particularly since so many of the agencies today appear to have been turned into political weapons?
“It’s an invasion of privacy,” Jamison told The Heartlander. “It’s none of the FBI’s business who has a license to carry in the various counties. It’s information that the government has no business gathering.”
Law-abiding Missouri gun owners might be even angrier, given that no such scrutiny is being brought to those crossing into the country illegally across our southern border.
“As we learned a couple of weeks ago, the same government is allowing illegal immigrants to get on airplanes without any kind of ID, other than an arrest warrant,” Hawley noted. “They could produce their own arrest warrants and get on airplanes and fly that way.
“Meanwhile, everybody else has to wait in line. If you forgot your driver’s license, you’re out of luck. But if you’re here illegally and you have an arrest warrant, go right on ahead. Get right on the plane. I mean, this is actual policy from this administration.”