This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 21, 2022:
When Scotland County, Missouri, Sheriff Bryan Whitney learned that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was going to be conducting an audit in 24 counties in the state next month, he launched a preemptive strike:
As the sheriff of Scotland County, I want all my citizens to know that I will not allow, cooperate or release any CCW [Concealed Carry Weapons] information to the FBI, even at the threat of a federal arrest.
Point Blank, I will go down with the ship if need be.
His defiance of a potential demand from the FBI that sheriffs release information on Missourians with concealed-carry permits was not the only one. Sheriffs in Howard, Gasconade, Camden, Macon, Osage, and Randolph counties also agreed to keep such information away from the FBI.
To back up his letter, Whitney told Fox News, he is preparing to move all that CCW information to a secure location in case the FBI threatens him with a search warrant for it.
Why all of a sudden is this a concern?
Last month there was a massive data breach in California that released the detailed personal information of CCW permit holders that included names, dates of birth, gender, race, driver’s license numbers, and residence addresses, along with any criminal history that might have been included.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta — who is endorsed by the anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety while carrying a 0% rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA) — was “deeply disturbed and angered” over the breach and said he would be launching an “investigation” into how it happened.
The breach was far-reaching, and just happened to occur days after the Supreme Court ruled against New York’s gun-control law. It allowed sensitive information about concealed-carry permit holders in the state to be accessed and downloaded.
Additionally, data from other sites was open to public display and access: the state’s Assault Weapons Registry, its registry of Handguns Certified for Sale, its Dealer Records of Sale, its listings of those receiving a Firearm Safety Certificate, and anyone subject to a Gun Violence Restraining Order.
Bonta was terribly sorry but didn’t apologize, and provided no assurance that the promised investigation would actually take place, nor any assurance that such a breach would never happen again.
In addition, Missourians still remember the demand the FBI made of sheriffs’ offices under the Obama administration, wanting to know which Missourians had firearms, supposedly to establish who was “entitled to federal benefits.”
This “plausible” reason was seen for what it was, and the state legislature passed a law making it illegal to share such confidential information with any agency of the federal government.
The FBI, of course, denied that there was anything to worry about. It released a statement that under the planned Missouri audit, “a small sampling of system transactions is to be inspected for compliance and to ensure there is no misuse of the [FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division] systems.” It added, of course, that it was just a “routine auditing program” — nothing to see here, we’re just doing our job.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt exposed the danger and added to Whitney’s defiance. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray last week, Schmitt wrote:
The FBI has absolutely no business poking around in the private information of those who have obtained a concealed carry permit in Missouri.
The Second Amendment rights of Missourians will absolutely not be infringed on my watch. I will use the full power of my Office to stop the FBI, which has become relentlessly politicized and has virtually no credibility, from illegally prying around in the personal information of Missouri gun owners.
You may wonder why there is such strong suspicion of federal agents here in the “Show Me State.” Simply put, Missourians are hard-working, law-abiding citizens who don’t need a national nanny-state keeping tabs on us.
But more than that, over the last couple of years, we’ve seen story after story of incompetence and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI.