Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Adam Putnam sheds light on report of missed background checks

Adam Putnam sheds light on report of missed background checks

The State of Florida issued concealed weapons permits without performing background checks for over a year because no one was able to log into a national database meant to track people with disqualifying histories, according to Florida's own Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "Putnam's gross mismanagement of the concealed carry system likely put guns into the hands of the wrong people and put the lives of thousands of Floridians at risk", said FDP chair Terrie Rizzo in a statement.

The report concluded Wilde as negligent in failing to send over these background checks.

You might've seen headlines about this, claiming the state didn't background check applicants for more than a year.

A year-long investigation by Florida's inspector general revealed that said agency stopped using its National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) beginning in February 2016.

But he acknowledged that an employee in his office failed to review the results of those background checks, which led to 291 people receiving permits who were not supposed to have them.

Upon discovery of this former employee's negligence in March of 2017, the department immediately launched an audit of the 365 applications she failed to review. She has since been fired and a review of her applications was initiated, resulting in at least 291 revocations. He expedited over 75,000 Florida concealed weapon license applications for active military members and veterans. Anyone seeking to purchase a gun must undergo a background check performed by FDLE at the time of purchase.

Department employees interviewed in the investigation called the NICS checks "extremely important", the report said, and if it came out they weren't accessed, "this could cause an embarrassment to the agency". Putnam, who has called himself a "proud NRA sellout" in the past, has listed his expansion of concealed carry permits in Florida as an accomplishment during his run for governor.

The Times reports, "From July 2016 through June 2017, which covers most of the period when the system wasn't accessed, 268,000 applications were approved and 6,470 were denied for reasons like an incomplete application or the state discovered they were ineligible, according to the state Agriculture Department's annual concealed weapons permit report".

Putnam blamed the lapse on a negligent and "deceitful" employee. Putnam is a Republican candidate for governor. There are now 1.8 million concealed weapon permit holders in Florida. But in March 2017 an investigation was triggered after a state employee noted that the state was not getting any correspondence from people whose applications had been rejected because of information gleaned from the national database.

Asked why he did not inform the public when he learned about this a year ago, Putnam reiterated he acted quickly to revoke licenses and change the department's practices so it wouldn't happen again. "I should have been doing it and I didn't", she said.

The department called her a former employee, but would not confirm whether she was sacked. Keller, however, did not say how many permits were revoked.

While the investigation dates back to past year, the report was only made public on Friday through a records request by The Tampa Bay Times.

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