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. The Tampa Bay Times reports that since February 2016, the Florida Department of Agriculture stopped using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
All applications for concealed carry permits go through three background checks conducted by the Florida law enforcement: state and federal fingerprint-based searches of criminal records, and a name-based search through the NICS to search for non-criminal records, Putnam said at the news conference. "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.
That bloodbath spurred a historic spike in applications for carry permits, according to the Tampa Bay Times, which obtained a copy of the June 2017 inspector general's report through an open-records request.
But the Florida Democratic party is accusing Putnam of "gross mismanagement" that likely "put the lives of thousands of Floridians at risk", quotes the Orlando Weekly.
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. 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. She never mitigated this issue.
A Putnam spokesman said Friday that the employee responsible for the problem had been fired. They were a willful neglect of her very important duty to run background checks to ensure public safety.
'The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again, ' Putnam said in a statement on Friday.More news: KFC to Test New Vegetarian 'Fried Chicken' With Original Herbs, Spices
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U.S. congressman Ron DeSantis, also a Republican candidate for governor, criticized Putnam on Saturday for the background checks problem, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
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.
The report from 2017 quotes the employee saying, "I dropped the ball". The Division of Licensing is housed under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service.
"I will continue to hold all of my people accountable across the entire department for all of the responsibilities we have, including licensing, but not limited to licensing", Putnam said.
Wilde was chastised as negligent in the inspector general's report.
"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it", she told the Tampa Bay Times.
In Florida, it is also used to background check an applicant for a concealed weapons permit for any out-of-state offenses.