Putnam: No mores lapse in background checks

Clay Curtis
June 10, 2018

Florida gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam oversaw an office that failed to run required background checks on people applying for a concealed weapons permit for over a year because the worker in charge was unable to log in to the system, according to a new report from the Tampa Bay Times.

An inspector general's report says the state Division of Licensing failed to consult the National Instant Background Check System between between February 26, 2016, and late March 2017, when an official noticed the agency hadn't heard recently from anyone whose application for a carry permit was denied.

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.

In a statement Friday night, Putnam, who is running for governor, said "a criminal background investigation was completed on every single application".

Fernandez said that he was surprised that hours after the Tampa Bay Times ran the story Friday, Putnam admitted that 291 of 365 concealed carry permits under Wilde's review had to be revoked.

Adam Putnam, Florida's Agriculture commissioner who headed the department, has bragged about the increased number of concealed carry permits, reports the Times.

Some pointed out that the negligence of one employee in Florida might have endangered lives in other states, as a concealed carry permit issued in Florida is also valid in 36 other states.

In a statement, the department said, "The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again".

"The employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system", the Times' report noted based on the IG report.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida revoked concealed weapons permits for almost 300 people who got them after the state failed to do national background checks for more than a year.

When the department completed the full background checks with information from the NICS system on the 365 applications she failed to review, 291 licenses were ultimately revoked.

During that time, 349,923 people applied for concealed weapons permits, Putnam said. He said a total of 365 applications were reviewed after the problem was discovered.

A Putnam spokesman said Friday that the employee responsible for the problem had been fired. The NICS database, administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, putatively ensures that applicants who want to carry a gun in public are not ineligible due to their criminal history in other states.

In March of 2017, another employee wondered why the department had not recently received any notices of denials, "which was unusual".

Watch: Adam Putnam answers reporters' questions about the investigation and reports.

A subordinate, Robin James, who "acted as Wilde's back-up", had similar problems, but Wilde "never asked James to check the NICS after the login issue", the report says Wilde told investigators under oath. "I should have been doing it and I didn't".

The NICS flags people who shouldn't have access to firearms for reasons including criminal convictions, drug use, mental illness and domestic violence.

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