In a letter to residents of his community, a Missouri sheriff announced that he is refusing to release gun owner information to the FBI, even if the federal agency threatens to arrest him.
Scotland County Sheriff Bryan Whitney, a Republican, wrote to residents of his community on Monday regarding the FBI’s plan to audit the state’s gun owner records.
“As the sheriff of Scotland County, I want all my citizens to know that I will not allow, cooperate or release any [conceal carry weapon] information to the FBI, ‘even at the threat of a federal arrest,’” the sheriff said.
“Point Blank, ‘I will go down with the ship if need be,’” Whitney added, according to Fox News.
The sheriff reported that the FBI plans to audit 24 counties in Missouri, but it is currently unclear which counties will be affected.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) also sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray criticizing the decision and calling out the agency, which he asserts has lost its credibility, for attempting to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of his state.
“The FBI has absolutely no business poking around in the private information of those who have obtained a concealed carry permit in Missouri,” the Republican AG wrote.
“The Second Amendment rights of Missourians will absolutely not be infringed on my watch,” Schmitt added. “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.”
The Missouri attorney general went on to point out that many residents of his state do not trust the FBI due to recent scandals and stories of “incompetence and corruption” involving the federal agency.
“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 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,” he added, citing the “witch hunt” against former President Donald Trump as one of the many reasons why the FBI cannot be trusted.
In a statement to Fox News, the FBI claimed that the audit was routine and that no personal information would be put at risk.