Adam Putnam sheds light on report of missed background checks

A screengrab from Adam Putnam's appearance on Fox News | YouTube

A screengrab from Adam Putnam's appearance on Fox News | YouTube

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

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.

Putnam said headlines implying background checks were not run by the state are categorically false.

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.

In March 2017 - over a year later - an employee with the Bureau of Licensing realized the NICS records were not being reviewed.

As noted by newspaper, NICS "will flag applicants who have served time in prison for more than a year, are convicted of drug use in the past year, are undocumented immigrants or were involuntarily committed or deemed to have a "mental defect" by a court or dishonorably discharged from the military".

Putnam, who has portrayed a massive increase in concealed weapon license holders as his major achievement, has come under fire following the revelation, with anti-gun violence activists and Democrats calling on him to drop out of the race over a "gross dereliction of duty". Anyone seeking to purchase a gun must undergo a background check performed by FDLE at the time of purchase. The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again.

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For more than a year, Florida failed to do national background checks that could have disqualified people from gaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon, according to a June 2017 Inspector General report. That would be Republican Adam Putnam, the state's current Agriculture Commissioner who is also now running for governor.

The state failed to check applications against a national database set up by federal authorities.

McKinley Lewis, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Rick Scott, said the governor's office was never provided a copy of the inspector general's report. She has since been fired and a review of her applications was initiated, resulting in at least 291 revocations. In 2012 Putnam held a much-criticized press conference to herald Florida's one-millionth concealed weapon permit.

During that time, which coincided with the June 12, 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub that left 50 dead, the state saw an unprecedented spike in applications for concealed weapons permits.

"I know I did that", she said. Yet, they were still issued concealed carry permits.

Putnam blamed the problem on the negligence of a department employee. Aaron Keller said every application that had been potentially impacted had been reviewed.

The Tampa Bay Times first reported on the inspector general's report.

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