Adam Putnam: No mores lapse in background checks

Inside the annual

Image An employee has been sacked and 291 permits revoked

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's office didn't conduct national background checks on concealed weapons permit applications between February 2016 and March 2017.

A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees the Division of Licensing, said that that NICS was only consulted for "non-criminal disqualifying offenses" and that the department conducted criminal background checks using two other databases maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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.

"I know I did that", Wilde said.

But in a press conference Mr Putnam criticised the Tampa Bay Times article on the report, which stated tens of thousands of applications to carry concealed weapons were not checked as "wrong and misleading".

Several state leaders have called for his resignation.

This coming a year after the Department of Agriculture's Inspector General finished their investigation in June 2017.

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. Now, he said, there are more "eyeballs" making sure the work is complete and a "more seamless technology transfer" of the NICS background check results. But the investigation said she didn't follow up after she continued to experience problems and never accessed the system again. "As soon as we learned that one employee failed to review applicants' non-criminal disqualifying information, we immediately terminated the employee, thoroughly reviewed every application potentially impacted, and implemented safeguards to prevent this from happening again".

He laid the blame exclusively on the employee who forgot the password had signaled the problem to another official but then failed to pursue the matter. All five Democratic gubernatorial candidates - Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Palm Beach developer Jeff Greene, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine - said Putnam should consider dropping out of the governor's race. The employee is quoted in the report as saying that she "dropped the ball".

The full statement from his office, as well as a full statement from Putnam, can be seen below.

In the recent legislative session, Putnam proposed legislation that would require permits to be approved in cases when an application is in limbo because background checks are inconclusive. "I initiated the inspector general and the review of processes and procedures upon learning of this breakdown".

The NCIS is used to screen for "non-criminal disqualifying offenses".

Emails included in the report said the employee tried to get online-access help from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in April 2016 and told someone she was having login problems. In Florida, the Department of Agriculture is responsible for carrying out background checks for gun licenses.

"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it", she told the Tampa Bay Times.

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