The FBI is demanding that the sheriff of a Missouri county and the state’s attorney general submit to audits, despite their protests.
According to reports, state leaders have been told that the FBI will audit around 24 Missouri counties on concealed carry weapons (CCW) information next month. The sheriff Bryan Whitney and AG Eric Schmitt, who are both Republicans, say that will not happen if they can help it.
“I am writing to all of my constituents to let them know that I will not provide, cooperate, or release any concealed carry information to the FBI, ‘even if they threaten me of a federal arrest,’ as Sheriff of Scotland County,” Whitney wrote in a letter on Monday, according to Fox News Digital.
“Point Blank, ‘I will go down with the ship if necessary,’” concluded the sheriff.
Last week, Schmitt sent a letter to the FBI Director Christopher Wray that demanded the agency “cease trying to illegally obtain data from local sheriffs on Missouri citizens who have received concealed carry permits.”
“The FBI has no business rummaging through personal information of people who have received a concealed carry permit in Missouri,” Schmitt blasted. “On my watch, the Second Amendment rights of Missouri citizens will not be infringed. I will employ all available resources to stop the FBI, which has become increasingly politicized and lacks credibility, from illegally snooping into the private data of Missouri gun owners.”
“Let me be perfectly transparent,” Schmitt wrote to Wray in the letter. “Allowing federal agents from the FBI access to records of Missourians who have a concealed-weapons license violates state law and infringes on our Second Amendment rights.”
The attorney general’s office released a statement that cited the statute. RSMo Section 571.101.9: “The information kept in the concealed carry permit system shall not be shared with any federal, state, or private organizations…”
Also, the Attorney General “pledges to employ all of his offices powers to stop the FBI’s attempts to get information on Missouri citizens who have concealed carry weapons permits,” according to a press release.
If the FBI issues a federal search warrant for his records, Whitney said he’ll shift all CCW paperwork to a secure location.
According to the FBI, its audits will not “involve access to lists like state-approved concealed carry holders.”
“Auditors would never ask for lists such as state-approved concealed carry permit holders, nor would the CJIS Division keep data beyond what is required to address a certain compliance issue,” according to the FBI. The agency has “gone through this process multiple times, most recently in 2018.”
Last month, California gun owners with concealed-carry permits had their information exposed after AG Rob Bonta (D) launched a 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal. The breach included the names, addresses, and races of gun owners being published on the internet.
The California Dept. of Justice is looking into an alleged data leak from the DOJ Firearms Dashboard. “Any unauthorized disclosure of personal information is not acceptable,” said the department.
After the breach, California Rifle and Pistol Association president Chuck Michel unloaded. “Vindictive sore loser bureaucrats have put people’s lives in danger and invited conflict by releasing private information illegally,” he said.