The investigation by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Inspector General found an employee at the department stopped using a national FBI database - because she couldn't log in to it.
We responded to the email from Putnam's office, asking why the commissioner didn't immediately publicly address the investigation after it was finished previous year.
- 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.
The employee acknowledged to investigators that she hadn't accessed the NICS background check system during that time period because of a login error.
The report from 2017 quotes the employee saying, "I dropped the ball".
The department employee failed to make follow-up inquiries into 365 applicants who were flagged for noncriminal reasons during three background checks over the year-long period.
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. "There are now 1.8 million concealed weapon permit holders in Florida".
"To be clear, a criminal background investigation was completed on every single application".
Now running for Florida governor as a Republican, Putnam's campaign touts his expansion of concealed carry permits as one of his top accomplishments. 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.
Data on the state's websiteshows the Division of Licensing handled nearly 275,000 new concealed weapon applications and nearly 175,000 renewals in the 12 months from July 1, 2016, until June 30, 2017. "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 should have uploaded those 365 [questionable applications] into the internal computer system to stop the processing of those applications", Hammer says.
The followup investigation led the department to revoke 291 permits, Putnam said. Concealed weapons licenses "may have been issued to potentially ineligible individuals". In Florida, these background checks are used as indicators of eligibility for concealed weapon licenses.
Hammer closes with something of a reaffirmation of her support: "The facts don't fit narrative being pushed by the anti-gun political opponents of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, who is a candidate for Governor".
The report concluded Wilde as negligent in failing to send over these background checks.
Although those applicants did indeed receive licenses to carry firearms, Hammer makes an important distinction: "They still would not have been allowed to purchase a firearm from a firearms dealer because the same NICS background check would have been performed by a dealer and would have stopped them from purchasing a firearm".
The agency later identified 365 applications the employee oversaw as "problematic".
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