Putnam reacts to criticism over failed gun background checks

Florida didn't conduct gun background checks for an entire year because an official couldn't log in

An Office of Inspector General report from June 2017 -- obtained by the Times in a public records request -- said that between February 2016 and March 2017, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services didn't access an Federal Bureau of Investigation crime database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System because an employee was unable to log into the system.

He says a department employee failed to make follow-up inquiries into 365 applicants who were flagged for noncriminal reasons during three background checks from February 2016 to March 2017.

Florida authorities approved concealed-carry pistol permits for more than a year without conducting complete background checks - because two state workers couldn't log in to an FBI database, according to results of an internal investigation made public on Friday.

Florida authorities have revoked hundreds of concealed carry permits after it was discovered the permittees were legally ineligible to receive their permit, but slipped through the cracks due to one state employee's negligence. "How many? One. So, you know, if [Putnam] wants to equivocate on numbers like that, that's not looking so good for him I think", said Holly Hill, a Winter Haven resident.

- Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture, and a candidate for Florida governor, Adam Putnam spoke to reporters Saturday about a recent report his office did not follow proper procedures when issuing concealed carry permits for about 13 months.

Democrats have called for Putnam's resignation.

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




It was the responsibility of this employee to review the 365 applications that did not pass the NICS system and the Inspector General's investigation determined she failed to do her job.

But, the Department claimed that it had properly handled their employee's malfeasance upon learning of his failure. She reached out to FDLE in April for help, but nothing got fixed and she never followed up after that. She had worked for the licensing division for several years without a problem, he said. His campaign issued a statement saying some background checks were completed later, after officials found out about the lapse.

Adam Putnam touts his efforts to expand concealed carry gun permits in Florida in a Facebook ad. [Facebook] But new details about his agency's lax oversight come after his campaign has weathered criticism of Putnam's full embrace of gun rights.

Spectrum Bay News 9 asked why nothing was done to correct the login issue in the first place, as the investigation revealed that the employee had emailed IT about it in 2016.

Employees in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stopped using the database for more than a year, an investigation found.

Putnam asserted that "no one's safety was at risk" because those 291 people would not have been able to purchase a firearm.

"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it", she told the Tampa Bay Times. Florida also uses it to check for out-of-state offenses that would disqualify a person from getting a concealed weapons permit, the Times reported.

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